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Patricia T. Clough

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This study is a critical engagement with the preemptive turn in post-biopolitical governance in psychotherapies to treat traumatic memory and its related clinical diagnosis, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in the wake of the mass disasters of the 21st century. Emerging in the post-911 era of increased anticipatory action in the governance of populations and also, increasingly ubiquitous and large scale threat such as global recession, climate change, and terrorism/war, traumatic memory of these events is framed increasingly as a population-level contagion to be addressed by anticipatory action. A study of trends in emerging and favored psychotherapies for trauma post-911 reveals that traumatic memory becomes understood and controlled as a population-level, contagious psycho-medical threat. New psychotherapies such as EMDR and virtual reality therapy, utilizing new simulation methods that engage the body's sensory memory, are being utilized with the aim of conditioning the body's responses before traumatic symptoms can form in the brain's "neuro networks." This study examines how these temporal logics are consistent with the logics of preemptive war, and enact and transmit, through the act of preparation and preemption, the very panic and trauma they claim to be preventing.

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