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Kogan, I. Vuco, A. (2004). Working with psychotic and non-psychotic patients in situations of terror and military dictatorships. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(5):1247-1249.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(5):1247-1249

Working with psychotic and non-psychotic patients in situations of terror and military dictatorships

Reported by:
Ilany Kogan

Moderator Aleksandar Vuco

The panel addressed issues of psychoanalysis in the shadow of terror.

In his opening remarks, Moises Lemlij referred to the terrorist attack in Madrid, which occurred the day before the panel took place. Lemlij stressed the fact that we should fight terror not only as individuals, but also as an organisation whose goal is to eradicate such phenomena.

The three presentations dealt with the impact of terrorism on the psychic life of patients in different countries around the world.

In her presentation ‘The second generation in the shadow of terror’, Ilany Kogan explored the special encounter with terrorism of sons and daughters of Holocaust survivors, the ‘secret bearers’ of their parents' traumatic past (Micheels, 1985). In order to assess the impact of the life-threatening current reality on the psychic reality of Holocaust survivors' offspring, she first examined the impact of the parents' Holocaust past on the psychic reality of the offspring, and the various mechanisms by which trauma is transmitted from one generation to another.

In the two cases described in this presentation, the patients' psychic reality, in large part, was structured by unconscious fantasies and feelings related to their parents' traumatic past. Life-threatening external reality and terror reinforced their internal fears and made it more difficult for them to differentiate between external and internal reality, overwhelming them with feelings of helplessness and fear (the famous Hilflosigkeit described by Freud (1917).

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