Psychoanalyse und politik: Vom dritten Reich zum Israelisch- Palästinensischen konflikt

Translated title of the contribution: Psychoanalysis and politics. From the third Reich to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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The issues regarding the attitude of psychoanalysts to political reality are rooted in our conception of the place of "external" reality in psychoanalysis. My position is influenced by my acceptance of Winnicott's plea, to see inner reality and outer reality as complementary. The belief in neutrality was used to rationalize collaboration of analysts with dictatorial regimes, including Germany under Hitler, or South American countries oppressed by brutal dictatorships. Dilemmas about handling political issues face analysts especially in countries where political events shape the fate of many citizens, and therefore appear in many analytic treatments. I give an example in which a central theme in an analytic session was commonalities and differences between the analysand's family history and my own, when both of our families were deeply affected by the rise of Hitler to power, both moved from Europe to Israel, but these events had divergent psychic repercussions. Subsequently, I trace the tension between social involvement and withdrawal from it in the history of Israeli psychoanalysis, and describe various phases in the political involvement of Israeli analysts and therapists, mostly around the Israeli-Arab conflict between 1981-2003. I raise the implications of various views of the analyst's role - especially the contrasting positions of classical and relational models regarding anonymity and self disclosure - on these dilemmas, and suggest that a relational view inspired by Ferenczi and others offers a better solution to our conflicts. I also explore various possible forms of the public involvement of analysts in political life, attempting to find a middle ground between being reclusive and becoming mobilized by pre-formed political ideologies.

Translated title of the contributionPsychoanalysis and politics. From the third Reich to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)177-192
Number of pages16
JournalForum der Psychoanalyse
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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