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Black Mitchell, M. (2017). Art and terrorism: Transformations of trauma – Introduction to papers by Billie Pivnick, PhD, Ian Miller, PhD, and Donna Bassin, PhD. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 26(4):233-235.

(2017). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 26(4):233-235

Art and terrorism: Transformations of trauma – Introduction to papers by Billie Pivnick, PhD, Ian Miller, PhD, and Donna Bassin, PhD

Margaret Black Mitchell

The participants in this XIXth International forum have undertaken a difficult journey. We have met the family of the Boston bombers, reconsidered aspects of the unending strife in the Middle East, and revisited the massacres in Norway and Mumbai and the traumas inflicted by sexism and child abuse. We have tried to empathically enter the mind of the terrorist as well as the experience of the victims of terror, we have listened to theoretical constructions and personal analysis that might help us better understand the violence in our world, and we heard about clinical approaches designed to address the trauma inflicted by this violence. Many of the presentations have been riveting. We have left some sessions inspired. At times we have felt deeply saddened – at times overwhelmed. We have all carried a great deal. This particular plenary session will offer us a somewhat different experience – a bit of a clearing in a dense and often tangled thicket. We come together, now, to reconnect with our deeply held, shared professional identity: we are a community of healers.

Artistic representation of human experience, whether captured in verse, painted on cave walls, or evocatively expressed in Beethoven's haunting symphonies, feels like it has been an essential, ever-present part of our world. These three papers will consider how man's unique capacity for symbolic expression and the creation of narrative gives us tools with which we can represent, contain, and work through experience that is otherwise unprocessable, psychically unmanageable.

[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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