Response to “Repress Yourself” By Lauren Slater

 “Repress Yourself” 

Slater seems not to deal with the technical and psychological definition of repression; she must be using repression instead of depression. Slater argues that perhaps revisiting traumas may not be helpful for some people who find it better to avoid dwelling on the past. These kinds of people find themselves activities to do since their recovery works via the activities they engage themselves in. The most important part of Slater’s argument is that probably repression is effective amongst “natural repressors” making her definition for repression incompatible with individuals who do not repress well (Slater 48-53). Her argument that contemporary mental treatment can infantilize women is really intriguing, I think the article was intended provoke people’s thoughts that sometimes treatment may not be successful.

“Repress Yourself” seem to have been driven by observations of the occurrences at the New York City after the 9/11 tragedy. Mostly psychotherapists asked the victims to revisit their experiences with an intention of improving their conditions; instead the situation was worsened as per the recent findings. Psychotherapists’ serious such for better treatment actually dispirited methods encouraging memory and expression and advocated for repression. Slater points out at a certain therapist who managed to heal her neurosis by playing tennis hence devoting her practice to assist clients receive the energy to become active (Slater 48-53).

However, application of the term “repression” has aroused many issues in the current efforts of finding the best remedy for trauma. For instance, Freud viewed repression as very useful but an unconscious approach since an ego would shield itself from an encounter between the intuitive id and the communally acclimatizing super ego. It eventual thing would therefore include the pushing the threatening material into unconsciousness to discharge the conflict. Freud therefore settled for willful conscious control and the satisfaction brought about by opposing conventional values. However, at one point, Feud argued that repression gently involves refocusing of attention away from hostile thoughts which is agreeable with Slater’s argument. Slater gathers strength from Freud’s thought while concluding her article that, “Freud once defined repression quite benignly as a refocusing of attention away from unpleasant ideas” 53.

Although the piece may be assumed to be positive because it was done by an expert, there were errors and problems. It would not be good to assume the depth of efforts put by experts to prepare their clients in an intensive program simply because there is need for stoicism in the face of fear. As much as a get over it attitude may work well asfar as coping with anxiety and trauma is concerned, fears and injuries will always be in our mind (Slater 48-53). We cannot just assume a major trauma that easily unless we talk about it first and get convinced that the third party shares our feelings. The assertion that repressing trauma can help us heal better may not always work because at one point, an individual will recount, this alone will instill fear in that particular individual. It is better to dress an issue than assuming it because to me repression is just assumption which is not based on reality (Slater 48-53).

When something happens to an individual and the opportunities to talk about the incident is repressed, there is likeliness that the victim will feel dissatisfied and “left alone.”  There is absolutely nothing like re-victimizing ourselves when we talk or revisit a traumatic occurrence. In fact the only way a traumatized person may feel that nothing is happening to the situation he undergoes and that there is no forward movement or healing is when an issue at hand is not addressed. Repression may mean ignoring and this may turn out to be toxic. Creating a facade may further frustrate the victim and even make the traumatized person distrust whoever is trying to cover or assume the situation. Actually there is a very thin line that can be drawn between repressions and ignoring because they may have similar effects (Slater 48-53).

Trauma normally worries people thus prompting possibilities for connection or perhaps support because it normally turns out to be a real life reality that cannot be avoided.  What remains important is the trust and professionalism of whoever provides the therapy. It is really hard to repress before acknowledging the truth which may at times demands revisiting the past and talking it out. Pretending that everything is perfect and fine after experiencing a trauma may mean denial and fakery (Slater 48-53).Although there is no such a thing as flawless, it is significant to stare at real issues with an honest heart without getting caught or immersed in them. It is only out of careful evaluation and revisiting of the past that an individual ma gain support to move forward which Slater terms as necessary. Repressing may mean that a trauma is faltered but not mended as it should be.

Works Cited

Slater, Lauren. ‘Repress Yourself.” The New York Times, 23 Feb. 2003: 48-53. Print.


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