From Trauma to the Passage à l’acte

Special topic: “Body and Trauma”
Is the Body the Only Witness?
By Raphaëlle Bigex

People spontaneously accord trauma a privileged role in the genesis of the passage à l’acte, especially in criminal cases. Our clinical experience in prisons led us to rethink this determinism, and to explore its metapsychological foundations. Here, we consider the passage à l’acte as a differed and unprecedented reaction to trauma, with the hypothesis that the body assumes the role of the main vector of this enigmatic displacement. We call into question the notion of the drive, by distinguishing it from excitation, then offer a conception of the passage à l’acte as a formation that stands “prior to the drive”.


  • trauma
  • body
  • drive
  • excitation
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