Animal Killer: Transmission of War Trauma from One Generation to the Next

Overview

A psychoanalytic process from its beginning to its termination is described to illustrate crucial technical issues in the treatment of individuals with narcissistic personality organization and the countertransference manifestations such patients stimulate in the analyst. The subject of this book exhibited cruelty to confirm and stabilize his grandiosity. His internal world was a “reservoir” of the deposited image of his father figure, an individual most severely traumatized during World War II. The patient was ...

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Animal Killer: Transmission of War Trauma From One Generation to the Next

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Overview

A psychoanalytic process from its beginning to its termination is described to illustrate crucial technical issues in the treatment of individuals with narcissistic personality organization and the countertransference manifestations such patients stimulate in the analyst. The subject of this book exhibited cruelty to confirm and stabilize his grandiosity. His internal world was a “reservoir” of the deposited image of his father figure, an individual most severely traumatized during World War II. The patient was given the task to be a mass-“killer” of animals instead of being a hunted one.

This book most clearly illustrates how the transgenerational transmission of trauma takes place and how the impact of war continues in future generations. The book also provides an understanding of a special kind of psychological motivation that directs a person to use weapons for mass killing. In this era of pluralism in psychoanalysis, providing the story of a psychoanalytic case in its duration opens ways for comparison and discussion of technique and can be used as a teaching tool.

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Editorial Reviews

Ira Brenner
"A link between wanton slaying of animals and mass murder? Vamik Volkan explores this intriguing and very timely question in a most unique psychoanalytic study. From his vantage point as the supervisor on this case, the patient’s hard exterior and inner turmoil come alive in startlingly clear detail. From the still elusive phenomenon of intergenerational transmission of trauma to the challenges of working with severe narcissistic psychopathology, the reader becomes a witness to the profound changes that can only occur with a psychoanalytic process. Volkan’s almost telepathic attunement and clinical wisdom offer something for therapists and social scientists at all levels. This book is a rare treat and will take its place among the best clinical monographs in our field."
Peter A. Olsson
"Dr Vamik Volkan’s book takes on special meaning in the wake of the horrible murder of innocents in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012. Volkan describes his supervision of the difficult but effective psychoanalysis of Peter, a mass-murderer of animals and civilians during war, who provides a glimpse into the complex causality involved with a man consumed by the urge to kill. Peter’s successful treatment also makes vivid the important concept of transgenerational transmission of trauma. This book will stir important conversations among psychotherapists and all those concerned with the prevention of lethal violence."
Harriet L. Wolfe
"In Animal Killer: Transmission of War Trauma from One Generation to the Next, Vamik Volkan offers the reader a brilliant insight into the human soul – its frailties, its power, and its historical integrity – as seen through the disparate lenses of war and clinical psychoanalysis. He demonstrates in simple, lucid, compelling prose how wartime exposure to violence wreaks havoc with a person’s sense of self and of order in the world. He shows how the transgenerational effects of torture, isolation, terror, and loss of moral grounding can come forward and may be resolved through psychoanalysis. From a clinical point of view, the book is a master lesson in both doing and supervising psychoanalysis. The difficult work of treating a person with malignant narcissism is rendered understandable and deeply interesting. The basic principles and also the poignancy of supervising such an endeavor are gifts to the supervisor. In the context of recent acts of terror in places like Newtown, Boston, and Mogadishu, the experience of societal horror is portrayed in a way that will make this book accessible and helpful to the concerned bystander as well as every mental health professional."
From the Publisher
"A link between wanton slaying of animals and mass murder? Vamik Volkan explores this intriguing and very timely question in a most unique psychoanalytic study. From his vantage point as the supervisor on this case, the patient’s hard exterior and inner turmoil come alive in startlingly clear detail. From the still elusive phenomenon of intergenerational transmission of trauma to the challenges of working with severe narcissistic psychopathology, the reader becomes a witness to the profound changes that can only occur with a psychoanalytic process. Volkan’s almost telepathic attunement and clinical wisdom offer something for therapists and social scientists at all levels. This book is a rare treat and will take its place among the best clinical monographs in our field."

"Dr Vamik Volkan’s book takes on special meaning in the wake of the horrible murder of innocents in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012. Volkan describes his supervision of the difficult but effective psychoanalysis of Peter, a mass-murderer of animals and civilians during war, who provides a glimpse into the complex causality involved with a man consumed by the urge to kill. Peter’s successful treatment also makes vivid the important concept of transgenerational transmission of trauma. This book will stir important conversations among psychotherapists and all those concerned with the prevention of lethal violence."

"In Animal Killer: Transmission of War Trauma from One Generation to the Next, Vamik Volkan offers the reader a brilliant insight into the human soul – its frailties, its power, and its historical integrity – as seen through the disparate lenses of war and clinical psychoanalysis. He demonstrates in simple, lucid, compelling prose how wartime exposure to violence wreaks havoc with a person’s sense of self and of order in the world. He shows how the transgenerational effects of torture, isolation, terror, and loss of moral grounding can come forward and may be resolved through psychoanalysis. From a clinical point of view, the book is a master lesson in both doing and supervising psychoanalysis. The difficult work of treating a person with malignant narcissism is rendered understandable and deeply interesting. The basic principles and also the poignancy of supervising such an endeavor are gifts to the supervisor. In the context of recent acts of terror in places like Newtown, Boston, and Mogadishu, the experience of societal horror is portrayed in a way that will make this book accessible and helpful to the concerned bystander as well as every mental health professional."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781782200734
  • Publisher: Karnac Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2014
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 897,798
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Vamik D. Volkan is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, an Emeritus Training and Supervising Analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute and the Senior Erik Erikson Scholar at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He was the Medical Director of the University of Virginia's Blue Ridge Hospital and director of the University of Virginia's Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction. He was a past president of the International Society of Political Psychology, the Virginia Psychoanalytic Society, the Turkish-American Neuropsychiatric Association, and the American College of Psychoanalysts. He is also the author or co-author of forty books and the editor or co-editor of ten more. He has served on the editorial boards of sixteen professional journals including the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, and has published more than four hundred scientific papers or book chapters.

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