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Hogman, F. (1998). Some Concluding Thoughts. Psychoanal. Rev., 85(4):659-672.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Review, 85(4):659-672

Some Concluding Thoughts

Flora Hogman

Having in essence “lived” with these papers during the past few months I am left with an overwhelming awe at the richness of avenues described to deal with trauma, and with the sobering reminder of the never-ending struggles of survivors with their ordeals. The situations are different; they cannot be compared historically; some include a three-generation span, some are recent events; they vary in the degree of their threat to physical survival and safety, and in the amount of losses; each culture brings a unique form to the survival of its people. Themes that emerge from the papers, however, overlap: they reflect fundamental similarities in the experiences of survivors who have all sustained a total uprootedness, a threat to the integrity of sense of self, identity and place in the world, simply for belonging to a specific ethnic group.

Throughout the papers many terms are used to describe the survivors' journeys: coping, struggling, overcoming vulnerabilities, thus emphasizing the affective side of the struggle rather than a behavioral description of it—the observer's parameter, of “doing better than expected,” external to the individual's experience. The tools described to overcome trauma include individual coping mechanisms, factors in the family, in the group's culture and religion, in the society, the time frame, simply living life.

One gets a beginning sense of the complexities surrounding “survival.” Should one give this description of capacity for survival the overall heading of “resilience”? Several authors question the glib connotations in the use of the term.

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