The awareness and coping of human suffering in the "PTSD era": Searching for an alternative paradigm of trauma recovery

'PTSD 시대'의 고통 인식과 대응: 외상 회복의 대안 패러다임 모색

  • 최현정 (트라우마치유센터 사람.마음)
  • Received : 2015.05.04
  • Accepted : 2015.06.09
  • Published : 2015.06.30


This study focused on the awareness and coping methods of psychological trauma and human suffering in the contemporary era after the development of posttraumatic stress disorder(PTSD) including the situations in the Korean society, and proposed principles for an alternative paradigm of trauma recovery. Trauma is defined as an 'external' stress causing chronic suffering mediated by memory, and the American Psychiatric Association approved PTSD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1980. The development of PTSD empowered moral legitimacy to the victims, opened a successful way to treatment, and accomplished explosive amount of research in the area of neurobiology and cognitive neuroscience. However, this also narrowed the understanding of human suffering, and the importance of an alternative coping method which overcomes the limitations of technical intervention became overlooked. Moreover, the Korean society has an underlying mechanism of replacing the matter of trauma to a problem of an individual. This is shown among the historical context of splitting and denial, and among medicalized bureaucracy. Trauma should be acknowledged as a social suffering, and searching for an alternative paradigm is in need. This study suggested the following principles; seeking for truth and justice, survivor as the agent of recovery emphasizing the responsibility of the community, ecological adaptations of recent bio-psychological achievements, and finally putting emphasis on continuous discussions about the definition of recovery.


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