Spring 2015 Vol 42 Issue #4

Spring 2015

Incoherence in the Iraq War Narrative and the Concept of Collective Attachment, Antigonos Sochos

ABSTRACT: As a major function of ideological and institutional frameworks is to provide security to the social group, by constructing ideologies and socio-political institutions, social groups also construct their objects of collective attachment. When social debates are conducted openly and freely, they are informed by secure collective attachment representations leading to effective and group-protecting action. When they are conducted in the context of social domination they are informed by insecure collective attachment representations, leading to ineffective and group-compromising action. The decision to invade Iraq in 2003 seems to have been informed by insecure collective attachment representations defining an incoherent social narrative and an ineffective protective strategy.

Privatization and Psychoanalysis: The Impact of Neo-liberalism on Freud’s Tool of Social Justice, Scott Graybow, MPhil, LCSW, Jennifer Eighmey, LMSW, CASAC and Sharon Fader, LCSW

ABSTRACT: The paper outlines the historical links between psychoanalysis, social progressivism and the political Left. It then details the process by which those links were undone such that today psychoanalysis and mental health services in general are alienated from their radical roots. The paper posits this process of alienation is continued today via the neo-liberal phenomenon of privatization, which has profound implications for clients seeking mental health treatment especially those of minority status or who are economically oppressed. Today, access to effective mental health treatment is linked to one’s economic status, and people of all class backgrounds seem less likely to receive mental health interventions that promote awareness of the oppressive political and economic forces they face. The paper includes two clinical vignettes illustrating the inequalities that are inherent to the privatized mental healthcare system. The paper calls for a return to the ideals and practices of the progressive psychoanalysis that defined the inter-war era of the last century.

Forerunner of the Science of Psychoanalysis? An Essay on the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition, Norman Simms

Then still keeping her eyelids closed, as though she were speaking from the darkness and silence of her brain…[1]

ABSTRACT: The inquisitions in Spain and Portugual were state organs, rather than church-run enterprises; their purpose to modernize disparate jurisdictions during the final stages of Reconquista (return of Moorish areas to Christian administration) to ensure security and loyalty. So many Jews converted (under duress or willingly for strategic reasons) and inter-married with middle-class and aristocratic families, that their sincerity and loyalty was suspected, This meant going beyond traditional monitoring of ritual acts and social behaviour; there was a need to look below the surface, to interpret ambiguity, and to break codes of duplicity. Inquisitors developed techniques of a form of psychoanalysis before the discoveries of Freud: methods of questioning to bring out repressed beliefs and motivations, unriddling equivocational performance and speech-acts, and integrating fragments of information from family members, business associates and neighbours collected over many years. Torture, more threatened than actual, and lengthy incarceration punctuated by periods of exile and re-arrest after years quiet, provoked desperate confessions and specious denunciations, all of which had to be subject to intense scrutiny and analysis. The assumption was modern: a person’s self was no longer equivalent to their words and actions; instead, a deep dark and traumatized inner self to be revealed.

[1] Emile Zola, Nana (1880) in The Best Known Works of Emile Zola (New York: Blue Ribbon Books for The Book league of America, 1941 p. 258.

A Psychological Profile of Osama bin Laden, COLIN A. ROSS

ABSTRACT: Understanding Osama bin Laden’s personal history illuminates his motivation, inner conflicts, decisions and behaviors. His relationships with his mother, father, country and religion set the stage for his conflicted choices as an adolescent and then as an adult. Although only a cursory psychological profile is possible based on public domain information, the profile constructed here could be useful in setting future foreign policy. Perhaps the crucial mistake in U.S. foreign policy was abandoning bin Laden as an asset when Russian forces were expelled from Afghanistan in 1989: this act by the U.S. set the stage for the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001.

 Nuclear War as an Anti-Sexual Group Fantasy, Lloyd deMause

What follows is a recently found unpublished paper by Lloyd deMause. It was originally written in 1987 or 1988 and updated in 2002. The paper covers a lot of ground and touches on ideas and methods that deMause has written about elsewhere but there is some new material as well. It touches on many of the original concepts that that deMause has introduced over the last 45 years.

ABSTRACT:Psychoanalytic writing on nuclear war has, to date, mainly concentrated on the variety of defenses people have against the realization that a nuclear holocaust will mean the real death of hundreds of millions of people and the end of most of civilization, as we know it.

Lifton’s work on “numbing,” for instance, has eloquently described the numerous denials, evasions, idealizations, displacements and other defenses so often used by those in power and by the average person when thinking about the nuclear holocaust (Lifton and Falk, 1982). Mack (1981), Brenman-Gibson (1986) and other psychoanalysts have made telling cases for the proposition that most people have severe emotional resistances against acknowledging the ghastly realities of nuclear war.

In each of these works, however, the assumption has been made that the reason people so badly distort their perceptions of reality in the case of nuclear weapons is that the reality of nuclear war is so horrifying. Yet I know of no other clinical psychoanalytic studies that trace the source of psychic defenses to fear of reality. Defenses are usually thought to be constructed against wishes, against the unacceptable Id wishes, not against unpleasant reality. If a patient denies the destructiveness of his or her current actions, it is because he or she feels guilty about the wish to destroy someone.

 If this is equally true in thinking about nuclear war, then one must suspect that the defenses have in fact been constructed against a wish to have a nuclear holocaust.

WHERE IS FREUD?  Becoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst, Adam Phillips. New Haven, Yale University Press, 2014, 178 pp. $26. Hardcover.                                                  Review Essay by Ken fuchsman   

ABSTRACT: Sigmund Freud had one of the most fertile and original minds in modern times. Other creative geniuses of Freud’s time, Alfred Einstein and Pablo Picasso, made revolutionary breakthroughs in their mid-twenties. Freud was forty-one when his first major discoveries took place. At the time, he had a medical practice, a wife, and six children. How in mid-life Freud became an innovator is a remarkable story. Adam Phillips, a British psychoanalyst and editor of the Penguin translations of Freud, in Becoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst appears to be taking on that task, covering Freud’s life until age fifty. Phillips strays from what his title implies. Often, he seems more interested in side issues than he is in tracing what led to Freud developing psychoanalysis. At the age of 41, in August 1897, Freud wrote of his own “little hysteria.” Phillips does not mention this, nor does he give much detail on the turmoil Freud went through between his father’s death in October 1896 and his breakthroughs between September and November 1897. To understand any individual, knowing how their dilemmas and divisions impact on their life is central. In Phillips account, Sigmund Freud the actual person, is a remote presence in what purports to be a biography.