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(1991). Editorial. Free Associations, 2(2):155.

(1991). Free Associations, 2(2):155


This issue is concerned with the darker areas of psychoanalytic work: with holocaust survivors, murder, suicide, perversions, and their representation in the arts. Judith Kestenberg, in her interview with Kristina Stanton, describes her work in the Jerome Riker Project to study the effects of persecution on children, and relates this generally to her innovations in child psychoanalysis.

Similarly, David James Fisher relates the achievements of Bruno Bettelheim's work to his experience in concentration camps. Bettelheim, as many doubtless know, committed suicide last year, amid considerable controversy. We publish his essay, ‘The urban experience’, in tribute to him.

On the subject of suicide, Nini Herman offers her personal and clinical reactions to Ann France's Consuming Psychotherapy; she describes here her retrospective revision of her initial reading of the book after France's suicide.

On the literary level, Gail Grayson explores more aggressive primal dynamics and presents a psychoanalytic account of Shakespeare's tragedy, Macbeth, which focuses on the importance of projective identification in forming the character of Lady Macbeth.

On the clinical level, Margot Waddell and Gianna Williams speculate about how an individual's perverse states of mind may be exported — with dire consequences — into the public sphere.

Apart from our main theme, yet in some ways complementary to it, we conclude with a research section. Here Gordon Lawrence surveys the psychoanalytic prejudice for individual dream worlds against more collective models. In response, he proposes a new notion of ‘social dreaming’. Social dreaming pays special attention to group function in dream symbolism, and highlights the role of the ‘matrix’, or ‘group container’, which both furthers awareness of group pathologies and enables their possible treatment.

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