Survivors of catastrophic trauma often find themselves at a loss for words, not because they have lost the capacity to use them, but because no words yet capture sufficiently the existential intensity and multiple levels of meaning of this particular experience with the abyss. Survivors say simply that it is unspeakable.

Unconscious experimenting with language to speak about the unspeakable is an essential part of the survivor's journey from traumatic state to recovery. The vehicle for this journey is metaphor. Metaphor captures trauma's biological sensorimo-tor impact, prepares the way for psychological metabolizing, and reconnects with the outside world. And in the close following of this word journey, the psychotherapist can best maintain a solid alliance with the trauma patient.

In this entry, the term metaphor is used ...

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