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Boulanger, G. (2008). Witnesses to Reality: Working Psychodynamically with Survivors of Terror. Psychoanal. Dial., 18(5):638-657.

(2008). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 18(5):638-657

Witnesses to Reality: Working Psychodynamically with Survivors of Terror

Ghislaine Boulanger, Ph.D.

As generations of young men and women return from combat scarred not only physically but also psychologically by their experiences, as civil wars and genocide proliferate and refugees seek sanctuary in America from persecution in their native countries, even while others are held in violation of their international human rights by the United States government, this paper asks what role psychoanalysts can play in working with those who have survived violence and terror as adults. Offering a relational formulation of adult onset trauma, the author reviews some of the difficulties inherent in being called upon to bear witness to destructive social forces. The paper concludes with the case of a man who has been detained in Guantanamo Bay for the last 6 years.

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