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Kijak, M. Funtowicz, S. (1982). The Syndrome of the Survivor of Extreme Situations—Definitions, Difficulties, Hypotheses. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 9:25-33.

(1982). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 9:25-33

The Syndrome of the Survivor of Extreme Situations—Definitions, Difficulties, Hypotheses

Moises Kijak and Silvio Funtowicz


The author defines the extreme situation, whose characteristics make it different from any other traumatic situation. The former is responsible for the immediate and delayed psychic alterations seen in the survivors of extermination camps.

The psychogenesis of this picture is described, laying the stress on the deep regression that takes place, its consequences and the special kind of psychic restructuralization after the prisoner has been released. The difficulties encountered in the treatment of these cases is also discussed.

This study stresses the need to differentiate, within the survivor syndrome, that corresponding to extreme situations. Besides, a new classification should be made in order to distinguish the latter from the other traumatic neuroses.

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