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Please forward to Bessel van der Kolk:

As part of that effort, I'm also looking at the "individual" psychic immune system, and all I seem to be able to find is that individuals with positive affect have stronger physical immune systems, or that individuals with stronger family ties and support systems, have higher resistance to disease.

I'm less interested in physiological immunity than psychological immunity.

Your paper on repetition compulsion is excellent, but there we see individuals repeating traumatic experiences.

I'm looking for empirical evidence that individuals exposed to trauma tend to avoid those situations in the future, that is that they learn from traumatic exposures and their own mistakes and repeat these events less and less. The same way that you were once exposed to influenza, the second time around, your immune response is stronger and your infection weaker.

That a psychological immune response develops, or is conditioned, and that through learning and exposure, psychological defenses and immunities are conditioned and increase in strength.. . . that's what I'm looking for. We don't know the name of any of these psychological antibodies that develop. I'm eager to find them, identify them (or name them), and cite evidence for their existence.

Can you suggest any sources, articles, or directions I might follow?

Jerry Kroth, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Emeritus
Santa Clara University