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Grubrich-Simitis, I. (2020). Du concrétisme à la métaphore. Sur quelques aspects théoriques et techniques de travail psychanalytique avec des descendants de survivants à l'Holocauste. Rev. fr. psychanal., 84(2):451-466.

(2020). Revue française de psychanalyse, 84(2):451-466

Du concrétisme à la métaphore. Sur quelques aspects théoriques et techniques de travail psychanalytique avec des descendants de survivants à l'Holocauste

(From Concretism to Metaphor: On Some Theoretical and Technical Aspects of the Psychoanalytic Work with Descendants of Holocaust Survivors)

Ilse Grubrich-Simitis

At the beginning of the 1960's, analytic work began with the descendants of the survivors of the concentration camps. The author draws attention here to a characteristic of the ego-functioning of these patients whose parents were initially obliged to exist in the face of the permanent threat of death, before going on to deny their traumatic experiences. The alteration of the capacity for metaphorization in these extreme conditions is also found in the descendants of survivors. They consider what they have to say as concrete things and not as being remembered or fantasized. Consequently, their expression is factual. The therapeutic aim is therefore to overcome this concretism and to restore their metaphorical capacity. To do this, the analyst must overcome the pact of silence set up in the family and establish with his patient the reality of what happened. The “phase of shared acceptance of the Holocaust as reality” appears to be an indispensable stage on the path to restoring the metaphorical capacity of thought and language, a process that deeply involves both protagonists in a real work of mourning.

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