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Twemlow, S.W. (2014). A Theoretical Framework for Creating Safe, Altruistic Nonviolent Communities. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 13(4):314-326.

(2014). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 13(4):314-326

A Theoretical Framework for Creating Safe, Altruistic Nonviolent Communities

Stuart W. Twemlow

Theory formulates what we know, but also tells us what we want to know, that is, the questions to which an answer is needed.” Talcott Parsons

Although I have spent a great deal of my time working with schools, I am not going to spend much time on specific school issues in this article. (They are summarized in Twemlow, 2000; Fonagy et al., 2009, particularly the link to supportive materials that describes the theory behind the approach; Twemlow & Sacco, 2013; Twemlow, Fonagy, & Sacco, 2005.) This article presents a brief summary of our major ideas. I am primarily focusing here on communities as part of the family, with a community of schools, in a possible preventive role in violence, as I will discuss later. In other words, I am moving to a theoretical position where the individual is not seen as radically separated from his culture. György Gergely (Gergely & Watson, 1996), a Hungarian attachment researcher, considered that a child becomes a child only as the mother distinguishes the child from herself through what he calls “social biofeedback.” In the early days of a child’s life a good mother implies, “this is you and not me, this is me and not you” in all her communications. Little by little the self of the child develops from this feedback. To use another philosophical analogy, if the tree falls in the forest and you do not hear it, it does not fall. Interaction is the essence of this approach. Hegel (1776–1831) derived that position from a radical suggestion that one should consider the nature of the thinker as well as how he thinks and what he thinks about, what is now called “dialectics” and which he called “speculation” (Hegel, 1977). I am not one who thinks psychoanalysis is a natural science; instead, I think it is a hermeneutic discipline (Kirsner, 2000). Space precludes more detailed consideration of these notions.

What I will begin with is an approach I call a “Social Mind” perspective (Twemlow, 2013), what Gourgucheon (2013) calls “psychoanalysis of the community.”

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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