Understanding Why the Covid-19 Narrative is Psychologically Traumatizing

Ernesto Vasquez, MD
November 11, 2020

In my NCC seminar a couple of days ago, I offered an analysis of the covid-19 narrative as having imposed a severely stressful and psychologically traumatizing form of global captivity for humankind.

I am writing this post to provide some information I presented which was not in the slides of the handout.

# One of the tenets of Intersubjective-Systems Theory is that steady, emotionally attuned responsiveness within any intersubjective relational context is required for normal psychological functioning.

# The notion of psychological trauma refers to the experience of unbearable emotion.

# The intolerability of an emotion state cannot be explained solely, or even primarily, on the basis of the quantity or intensity of the painful feelings evoked by an injurious event.

# Traumatic affects states can be grasped only in terms of the relational systems in which they are felt.

# Trauma originates within a formative intersubjective context whose central feature is malattunement to painful affect—a breakdown of the relational interaffective system—leading to the person’s loss of his or her affect-integrating capacity and thereby to an unbearable, overwhelmed, disorganized state.

# Painful or frightening emotions—what we often refer to as ‘stress’ —becomes traumatic when the attunement that one needs to assist in its tolerance, containment, and integration is profoundly absent.

# This is why the Covid-19 narrative is psychologically traumatizing.