In the course of nearly thirty years of work with patients in psychiatric hospitals and private practice, Francoise Davoine and Jean-Max Gaudilliere have uncovered the ways in which transference and countertransference are affected by the experience of social catastrophe. Handed down from one generation to the next, the unspoken horrors of war, betrayal, dissociation, and disaster in the families of patient and analyst alike are not only revived in the therapeutic relationship but, when understood, actually provide the keys to the healing process. The authors present vivid examples of clinical work with severely traumatized patients, reaching inward to their own intimate family histories as shaped by the Second World War and outward toward an exceptionally broad range of cultural references to literature, philosophy, political theory, and anthropology.
Francoise and Jean-Max’s involvement in the project will be issued from their research on “madness and the social link”, pursued during 30 years in the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, The Center for the Study of Social Movements, and in clinical practice both in public mental hospitals and in private practice, for instance with descendants of holocaust survivors and survivors of totalitarian systems. They consider: 1.– that the transmission of “the tear in the social link “ through generations after cataclysmic events, if approached through the perspective of its possible healing and mending, as a symptom does not obey a causality and determinist model, but provides a dynamic process of investigation where the psychotic symptoms are targeting an exploration of areas out of reach of usual logical and cognitive means. Also they are convinced by their experience and other analysts’ in supervision:2.– that this investigation bears positive outcomes only when the analyst, as a co-researcher, is involved in the process by being activated through analogous zones from the common lot of cataclysmic histories which happened on his side along the historical line. 3– that the scientific model imposed by transference in their clinical practice asks therefore the question of the implication of the observer in the current research.