Effects of the Gulf War: Identifying dangers to integrity of the psychoanalytic process

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This paper deals with aspects of psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapy taking place during a period of political and dangerous military events in the Gulf War. The situatiOn threatened the physical existence of the civilian population, including the therapist and the patient. Presented are number of potential dangers to the integrity of the therapeutic process. These military-oriented dangers produce in therapists an occasional inability to contain their own feelings. This may lead to therapists' unconscious use of patients for their own intrapsychic needs, and harm their patients. Another source of danger is the vagueness and ambiguity of the objective reality of the outside world. This may disrupt the ability to help the patient differentiate between inner and outer reality. Moreover, discussed are the ways in which therapy may facilitate personal growth in both the therapist and the patient. These external events may also serve to accelerate the course of therapy, as patients identify with their therapist' coping ability. Similarly, therapists may also gain and benefit by perceiving their patients' healthy growth and development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-221
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Contemporary Psychotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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