The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin: Resonance of a national tragedy in psychotherapy

Eli Somer, Meir Saadon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This single-site study looked at reactions of Israeli patients in psychotherapy to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Data were collected during the first psychotherapy session following the fatal shooting of the Prime Minister. Thirty-one vignettes were provided for investigation by eight clinicians. The patients' reactions were subjected to qualitative data analysis that yielded high intercoder agreement with regard to 20 codes clustered in four content categories: (1) object of reference; (2) perceived threat; (3) personal association; (4) affect. No apparent relationships between DSM diagnoses and any response patterns were identified, indicating that our subjects might have responded with grief reactions that transcended diagnostic nosologies. Our findings indicate, however, that subjects with a history of paternal child abuse were significantly more likely to respond in a unique way: they often identified with members of the surviving family or with the assassin rather than with the slain leader, explored anxieties about the looming dangers emanating from the Israeli extreme right, and displayed feelings of revenge, disgust, or satisfaction with this figurative patricide. These findings are discussed from a psychodynamic perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-43
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin: Resonance of a national tragedy in psychotherapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this