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Davoine, F. Gaudillière, J. Stein, R. Peoples, K. (2006). Conversations with Clinicians: The Geography of Trauma. Fort Da, 12(1):62-81.

(2006). Fort Da, 12(1):62-81

Conversations with Clinicians: The Geography of Trauma

Françoise Davoine, Ph.D., Jean-Max Gaudillière, Ph.D., Ruth Stein, Ph.D. and In Conversation with Karen Peoples, Ph.D.

“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one cannot stay silent.”

Davoine and Gaudillière, History Beyond Trauma

Over three decades ago, the French philosopher-scientist Charles Muses addressed the paradoxical nature of the gulf between consciousness and language. On the one hand, he noted the impossibility of “articulating the ineffable.” On the other, he felt that human consciousness is always striving — indeed, seems to have a need — to create word-clothing for its most imperceptible and ephemeral insights. From Bion's point of view, this is akin to a “drive” or need for truth (Grotstein, 2004), but for Bion this need is propelled not only by new or deeper inklings of reality but also by the extremities of human experience that exceed one's capacity for thought and utterance.

Our invited guests for the September 2005 Introductory Event have worked in the trenches of extremity. Psychoanalysts Ruth Stein, originally from Israel, and Françoise Davoine and Jean-Max Gaudillière from France share in common more than their love of psychoanalysis. One might say they were each driven, in their own way, by the particularities of the national and international historical conditions in which they developed as analysts. Their work highlights by contrast the strange feeling of insularity — the illusion of living in a peaceable kingdom — that often imbues the sense of living in the U.S. The Viet Nam War notwithstanding, second- and third-generation Americans seem oddly muffled in a rather ahistorical haze.

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