The Plenary lecturers of the Workshop are:
Rachel Elior, Prof
"Community of Memory (roots of the past) and Covenant of Dreams and Visions (wings for the future)"
The Jewish community has established in its ancient inception in the second millennium before the common era, the fundamental idea of a communal covenant based on SACRED MEMORY that bound all its members by an eternal commitment to a common past and a common future, regardless to any personal differences and conflicts of the present in any time and any place.
The lecture will discuss the social responsibility of the individual within the covenant-bound- community founded on the roots of the past, as well as the religious-social commitment of the community towards its different individuals, BASED ON COMMUNAL AND INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM OF READING, WRITING AND INTERPRETING, CREATING "NEW-OLD THINGS" IN ORDER TO ENSURE their future.
Catherine Mela , PhD
"The psychosocial factors of the psychological migration trauma and its psychotherapeutic treatment"
Cultural Epidemiology evaluates several parameters in migration like: age, gender, conditions at work related with acute and chronic stress, financial status, family and the need of a container, nutritional habits and the way of living, immune tolerance to changes, religion parameters, education, local diseases and vaccination, epidemiology in the new country, vaccination.
Especially in migration and refugees the psychological, migration trauma can be seen as social, psychological, transgenerational and organic trauma. PTSD is expressed as a psychological, physical and organic trauma and trauma-related situations characterized by flashbacks, sleep disorders and insomnia, panic attacks, anxiety, lack of trust, un-capability to form positive relationships, feelings of helplessness and despair. PTSD symptoms as a mirror phenomenon can be also seen in many NGO’s staff members and caregivers. Exclusion, racism, violence, bad living conditions are some of the social factors in the refugee’s life, thus causing distress, insomnia, syndrome of multiple losses, PTSD, cognitive disorders and depression.The Syndrome of multiple losses is evaluated according to the stages of mourning and grief and in parallel to PTSD and losses.
The psychological migration trauma asks for evolutionary refugee - focused therapies based on a transcultural and trans-religion spirit, to help victims to face not only one traumatic event but multiple traumas such as rape, war and torture.
Group Psychotherapy modifies brain and synaptic plasticity by treating “in the group” stressful social factors in an analogue that is similar with life’s emotional traumatic events and conflicts, thus altering memory function according to the restoration of the traumatic memories in the prefrontal lobe ,the cortex and deeper brain areas. The reduction of the cytokine’s levels by participation and education inside the psychotherapeutic group, can lead to a regulation of the levels of blood cortisol and to the regulation of the brain’s inflammation. (Catherine Mela,“Psychiatria Danubina" suppl3, vol 29,2017).The function of the psychotherapeutic environment as a “container” is strongly associated with stress relief and improvement of depressive and dementia-like symptoms . Acceptance, containing, holding, equal human rights, transcultural dialogue, corrective emotional experience are some of the therapeutic factors that help in this direction.
Sarah Yvonne Brandl, Prof. PhD
"Mind the Figuration.
Group Analytic observational discussion in social and educational settings"
Group analysis is not only an influential method in group psychotherapy, it is also widely used for working with groups in the fields of education, training and councelling. Using an example of a university teaching project in social work and special education the group analytic observational discussion will be presented. This method is seen as the group analytic equivalent to the known infant observation in child analysis. By reading and discussing text protocols the theoretical concepts of figuration (Elias) and Matrix (Foulkes) are systematically applied in order to promote professional reflexion.
Avi Berman, PhD.
"Take me under your Wing":
The Law of the Mother and its contribution to the Roots of Group
In addition to our professional work as Group Analysts we are exposed to the question of whether Group Analysis can contribute to reducing social induced suffering around us. During the last years we are witnesses to the increasing of aggressive nationalism which defines one group as superior to others. "Others" are practically defined as non-privileged and hostile. We are confronted again with racism, exclusion and humiliation of people who wish to live in peace with us. The attitude towards refugees is charged with this kind of sentiments. The Israeli "National Law" is one of the examples.
Group Analysis" is not only a form of helping profession. It is also founded as a contribution to universal humanistic movement. The group, according to group analytic ideas, is the common space in which the different are invited to belong, exchange between all participants is considered as curative and coping with tensions through communication is processed towards personal and group's development.
In the last decades feminist's attitudes seem to join and challenge our familiar points of view. These attitudes refer to inclusion and containing as basic feminine foundations that do not gain enough strength within the Phallocentric social environment. One of the examples for this is "the Law of the Mother" offered by Juliet Mitchell (An English psychoanalyst, familiar with group analysis). According to the Law of the Mother the woman-mother is the one who forbids hurting or exclusion of any of her children and by that establishes the horizontal axis and the social-humanistic dimension in our world. Violating the Law of the Mother is reason of wars around us.
The lecture will present these ideas and will deal in the willingness of men to listen and assimilate different sources of thinking.
Sharon Sagi Berg
'Broken wings and the shadow of the disconnected root' - transformation of dissociative self states in the analytic group.
"The trees balance the gap between the strong and the weak ... This balance is made underground by the roots, where vigorous exchanges are conducted. Those who enjoy abundance give part of it to others, and those who are miserable and suffering from a shortage receive a helping delivery."/ Peter Wohlleben, The hidden life of the trees.
In this lecture I shall focus on the transformation of dissociated self-states as a curative factor in an analytic group of 'difficult patients'. Holding in mind Foulkes's idea of 'curative hall of mirrors', I'll argue that the process of mirror reactions could make things difficult for the ‘difficult patient’ since the group mirrors to him not only his familiar image – one with 'broken wings'- but also forces him to cope with his dissociated 'not me' self-states.
Dissociation and 'not me' self-states, two concepts that play an important role in the field of Trauma. Two concepts that portray a world in which certain kinds of experience are continuously disallowed, intolerable, unacknowledged as part of the self and therefore remain in the shadow and cannot be articulated in awareness. As Laing (1969) wrote- the person is unaware there is anything of which he needed to be unaware.
While most of the time the group as-a-whole can deal with these inner gaps and be curative in helping acknowledge "not me" of different patients, there are times were the collision between the different "not me" has such an overwhelming effect that it can be seen only through an enactment. The enactment occurs since the unformulated psychic events of the members are not available for interpretation. We can see the enactment as an attempt of the group to tell an untold story, to revive roots that were cut off from the source of life many years ago.
I shall demonstrate, through a clinical vignette, how the group as a whole -through a delicate intersubjective process- insists on revealing, understanding and acknowledging the dissociated “not me” states of its members.
It is a first step in a journey. Journey in which transformation of dissociated self states will lead to develop an integrated self – Self supported by its roots and ready to take off with its wings.