The black hole in the social unconscious: A collective defence against shared fears of annihilation

Yael Doron

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter discusses the concept of the social unconscious in group analysis. It focuses on the "black hole" as a collective or social defence against extremely painful shared anxieties. The chapter illustrates the use of the collective black hole with data from a group analytic group. The concept of the black hole has been used to refer to the consequences of denial and/or disavowal as a defence against the fear of annihilation as a consequence of various kinds of traumatic experience, including strain and cumulative and catastrophic trauma. For various reasons, social trauma is of particular importance in the formation of the social unconscious of societies and other social systems such as organisations. It is important to consider collective defences against shared anxieties that have been caused by social trauma, such as secrecy and normative taciturnity. The new member, Barak, was severely wounded six years before during his military service, in a "friendly fire" incident.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGroup Analysis in the Land of Milk and Honey
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780429900129
ISBN (Print)9780429475351
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 to Robi Friedman and Yael Doron for the edited collection and to the individual authors for their contributions..

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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