Simulated War: Remediating Trauma Narratives in Military Psychotherapy
How have the politics of therapy been reconfigured during the so-called Global War on Terror? What role have the new virtual reality therapies that so resemble other forms of military simulation played in this reconfiguration? In this article, I draw upon feminist science and technologyâ€™s (STS) theorization of human-machine interaction into order to interrogate how contemporary therapies for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reconfigure agency in the practice of healing. Â Analyzing trauma therapy as a site of reconfiguration, I show how new exposure-based therapies for PTSDâ€”both with and without virtual realityâ€”configure aspects of human subjectivity, such as memory, affect, and behavior, as objects for technological intervention. Through comparative analysis of different modalities of PTSD treatment, I show that the politics of therapy is especially enacted through the therapeutic remediation of trauma narratives: the mediational practices through which a traumatic memory is made available for therapeutic reworking. Therapeutic remediation practices configure therapists, patients, and nonhuman actants as subjects and objects with different forms of agency.
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