The Struggle Against Mourning

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Overview

The main questions raised in this book are: How does the analyst help the patient to be in touch with pain and mourning? Is the relinquishment of defenses always desirable? And what is the analyst's role in the mourning process—should the analyst struggle to help patients relinquish defenses against pain and mourning, which they may experience as vital to their precarious psychic survival? Or should he or she accompany patients on their way to self-discovery, which may or may not result in the patients letting go of their defenses when faced with the pain and mourning inherent in trauma? the utilization of various defenses and the resulting unresolved mourning reflect the magnitude of the anxiety and pain that is found on the road to mourning. The ability to mourn and the capacity to bear some helplessness while still finding life meaningful are the objectives of the analytic work in this book.
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Editorial Reviews

Salman Akhtar
From the triple vantage points of individual grief, communal struggles with trauma, and societies existing under constant terror, Ilany Kogan offers a throbbing elucidation of mourning and defenses against it. A deft combination of experience-near voice, evocative story-telling, keen awareness of reality-based imperatives, and an unerring devotion to psychoanalytic theory and technique is Kogan's trademark. In a step-by-step fashion, she takes us on a sojourn where rupture and pain are, at times, responded to by loss of heart and psychic breakdown and, at other times, by resilience, imaginativeness, and creativity. Seamus Heaney's declaration that in writing poetry, the movement is 'from delight to wisdom,' has found its clinical counterpart in Kogan's impressive work!
Vamik D. Volkan
For decades Ilany Kogan has devoted her professional life to studying adaptation and mal-adaptation following loss, especially loss associated with massive traumas. In this passionately and lucidly written book she describes societal mourning and illustrates its lasting effects, such as the unresolved mourning in Israel and Romania. She explores individual mourning as well, using patients' cases to tell moving stories that range from the person who responded to internal deadness with eroticism to another who was a replacement child. She includes a study of the life of Solomon Perel, the hero of the movie Europa, Europa whom I interviewed years ago and whom I consider a living monument, recalling both the horror of Nazism and the human resilience for survival. This excellent book can teach us many new nuances in the psychology of mourning, remind us of current losses in the age of terror, and induce in us a wish for a more peaceful world. It should be read not only by clinicians, but by anyone interested in a detailed exposure to conditions in which persons or societies are robbed of their ability and right to mourn.
Dale Boesky
Ilany Kogan has enriched our understanding of mourning in her remarkable new book. Continuing her psychoanalytic investigation of the psychic pain of Holocaust survivors and their children in her 1995 book The Cry of Mute Children, she has earned the gratitude of psychoanalysts everywhere with her new penetrating study of the universal struggle against mourning, our adaptations to this struggle, and its healthy and pathological consequences. She examines with fresh insight the questions of exactly what mourning is, how we deny it, and how we accept it. She has had the courage not only to conduct her analytic work in the midst of indescribable dangers, but to candidly acknowledge her own therapeutic limitations with some of her patients so that psychoanalysts everywhere can respond with their own experiences and increase our clinical knowledge. She traces the impact of unresolved mourning in both individuals and groups. One of the great strengths of this book is the author's extensive use of richly detailed clinical examples. She succeeds brilliantly in making the reader 'present' in her consulting room. One of the many benefits of reading this book will be the opportunity to witness the extraordinary courage of a gifted analyst who has managed to achieve new psychoanalytic knowledge while living in the shadow of terror.
Henri Parens
With admirable acumen and insight, Ilany Kogan writes of the enormous challenge mourning poses not only to the patient who has experienced trauma, but also to the psychoanalyst working with such a patient. Kogan's candor and courage to look at her own work as analyst and human being are admirable. She also goes a step further to apply what she has learned in the clinical analytic situation to the societal settings of her native traumatized Romania and her long-embattled home, Israel. Trauma abounds; torment and pain are enormous; they transport themselves from burdened victims and perpetrators to their descendents who then struggle with their parents' unfinished, interminable work of mourning. Kogan shows that in our efforts to help, even though there is much we can do, we must accept our and our profession's inevitable limitations. There is much to learn from this deeply feeling human being, thinker, and clinician.
Vamik D. Volkan M.D.
For decades Ilany Kogan has devoted her professional life to studying adaptation and mal-adaptation following loss, especially loss associated with massive traumas. In this passionately and lucidly written book she describes societal mourning and illustrates its lasting effects, such as the unresolved mourning in Israel and Romania. She explores individual mourning as well, using patients' cases to tell moving stories that range from the person who responded to internal deadness with eroticism to another who was a replacement child. She includes a study of the life of Solomon Perel, the hero of the movie Europa, Europa whom I interviewed years ago and whom I consider a living monument, recalling both the horror of Nazism and the human resilience for survival. This excellent book can teach us many new nuances in the psychology of mourning, remind us of current losses in the age of terror, and induce in us a wish for a more peaceful world. It should be read not only by clinicians, but by anyone interested in a detailed exposure to conditions in which persons or societies are robbed of their ability and right to mourn.
International Journal Of Psychoanalysis
This is an ambitious book, large in scope and large in its subject matter, but well worth reading in its entirety. . . . If we read this book as a form of enormously creative personal and professional autobiography, we will be richly rewarded with the fruits of an extraordinary significant personal contribution to our field.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765705082
  • Publisher: Aronson, Jason Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/14/2007
  • Pages: 282
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ilany Kogan serves as training analyst of the Israel Psychoanalytic Society and chief supervisor of The Center of Psychotherapy for the Child and Adolescent in Bucharest, Romania. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Fritz Bauer Institute for Holocaust Studies in Frankfurt, Germany. Additionally, she is a teacher and supervisor of members and candidates of the MYnchner Arbeitsgemeinschaft fYr Psychoanalyse in Munich, as well as of the staff of Eppendorf University Hospital's Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Hamburg.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Revisiting defenses against pain and mourning Part 3 Obstacles to individual mourning Chapter 4 Forever young Chapter 5 Lust for love Part 6 Unresolved mourning and its bearing on society Chapter 7 Introduction Chapter 8 Romania and its unresolved mourning Chapter 9 From enactment to mental representation Chapter 10 Trauma, resilience and creative activity Chapter 11 On being a dead, beloved child Part 12 Obstacles to mourning in an age of terror Chapter 13 Who am I—Trauma and identity Chapter 14 The role of the analyst in the analytic cure during times of chronic stress Chapter 15 Working with Holocaust survivors' offspring in the shadow of terror Part 16 Epilogue
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