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Tate Angel, V. Gould, E. (2017). Violence, terror, and terrorism today: Psychoanalytic perspectives, Part II. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 26(4):199.

(2017). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 26(4):199


Violence, terror, and terrorism today: Psychoanalytic perspectives, Part II

Valerie Tate Angel and Edith Gould


The enthusiasm and scholarly presentations of the New York Forum of the International Federation of Psychoanalytic Societies, co-hosted by the Postgraduate Psychoanalytic Society and the William Alanson White Society, on May 12–15, 2016, are reflected in two plenary sessions presented in this issue. These two plenary sessions, “The lone terrorist” and “Art and terrorism: Transformations of trauma,” capture both the theoretical and transformative communication that is reparative in traumatic experience. We experience not only the unfolding of repetition and repair in the psychoanalytic process, but also rupture and repair.

In “The lone terrorist” plenary session, the papers by Klaus Hoffman, Siri Gullestad, and Manya Steinkoler, with Frank Lachmann's erudite reflections on the lone terrorist, whether from Germany, Norway, or the USA, provide us with a window into the soul of these violent individuals. Frank Lachmann reminds us to question whether a lone terrorist is a terrorist, or whether their behavior is terrifying to society. The concepts of reactive aggression as a violent reaction to hurt, and eruptive aggression as a violation of expectations, sensitizes the reader to the contempt, narcissistic rage, and lack of self -cohesion evident in these “case profiles.” As a person matures, hopefully one is able to face the world and experience growth towards maturity. Each of these papers reflects how the mental health system failed these “lone terrorists” in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, and contributed to their inability to tolerate being in society for one more moment.

[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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