Psychoanalysis and Trauma: September 11 Revisited

Diogenes 51 (3):3-14 (2004)
On November 9, 2002, a few hundred people, mostly mental health clinicians, gathered at the New York University Medical Center for two days of discussions on the theme, September 11th: Psychoanalytic Reflections in the Second Year. The conference was sponsored by the five New York Societies of the International Psychoanalytical Association. The presentations described various bits of learning that seemed to be emerging from the crisis clinical work with so many traumatized people since the attack on the World Trade Center. This paper discusses three of those presentations in the context of the author’s reflections based on his psychotherapeutic work with very troubled patients in a therapeutic community setting. He emphasizes the effect of trauma, not only on individuals, but on the holding environments and symbolic order on which human beings depend for their psychic survival
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