A Psychoanalytic and Socio-Cultural Exploration of a Continent: Europe on the Couch, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

A Psychoanalytic and Socio-Cultural Exploration of a Continent

Europe on the Couch, 1st Edition

Edited by Anna Zajenkowska, Uri Levin


216 pages

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Paperback: 9780367182779
pub: 2019-10-18
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Hardback: 9780367182748
pub: 2019-10-18
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This important book gathers a set of influential international contributors with psychoanalytic and group analytic knowledge to provide a wide-ranging critical analysis of the present state of Europe.

Europe is facing huge challenges: waves of immigrants are reshaping its identity and testing its tolerance; Brexit is a destabilizing factor and its outcomes are not yet clear; economic crises continue to threaten; the resurgence of nationalism is threatening an open-borders one-continent ideology. This book tackles some of these challenges. Divided into two parts, the first analyses the current social, political, cultural and economic trends in Europe using psychoanalytic and group analytic concepts, while the second concentrates on existing applications of psychoanalytic and group analytic concepts to help manage national and international change in individual countries as well as on the continent as a whole, including groups for German, Ukrainian and Russian participants; groups organised in Serbia in order to overcome the recent, traumatic past; and the "Sandwich model", developed to enhance communication in situations of conflict, trauma and blocked communication. When we feel threatened, we cling to our in-group and its members. We want to think the same and be the same as our neighbors, but this group illusion of homogeneity conceals the fact that we are different. While homogeneity offers stability, it is diversity that offers freedom.

This book will be of great interest to researchers on the present state of Europe from across a range of different disciplines, from psychoanalysis to politics, sociology, economics and international relations.


"Europe on the Couch provides a deep understanding of what is now happening in Europe, including growing national-fascist movements, the influence of modern globalization, current refugee problems and the impact of past historical events. This timely book clearly illustrates the intertwining of external and internal worlds of individuals and shows us how shared psychological elements give directions to societal and political movements." --Vamik D. Volkan, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Virginia, Author, Enemies on the Couch: A Psychopolitical Journey Through War and Peace

"Drawing on the work of several schools of thought, the authors of these deeply felt contributions have been inspired by their experiences both on the couch and in the circle. This imaginative and provocative use of hypotheses from psychoanalysis and group analysis helps us to understand more deeply and confront more fully the central political project of the Western world today: the continuing civilisation of Europe in response to the regressive attacks upon it. Our leaders would benefit from the insights into the unconscious dynamics of persons and their groupings that are so well elaborated in this European book." --Earl Hopper, PhD. Psychoanalyst, Group Analyst and Organisational Consultant in private practice in London. Editor, New International Library of Group Analysis

"This rich and thoughtful book will reward its readers well, be they clinicians, historians, commentators, or, can we hope, our political leaders. Europe on the Couch, provides incisive understanding of the conscious and unconscious group psychological forces that inflame much of the psychological, sociocultural, and political upheaval the world is experiencing today." --Molyn Leszcz, MD, FRCPC, CGP, DFAGPA, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, President-Elect, the American Group Psychotherapy Association

Table of Contents

Forward by Morris Nitsun

Acknowledgement by Ania Zajenkowska and Uri Levin

Introduction to the idea of the book by Ania Zajenkowska and Uri Levin

Part One: General reflections

  1. Aleida Assmann - Learning from history? The crisis and future of the European Project
  3. Marianna Fotaki - Relationality in the age of neoliberal dispossession: protecting the ‘other’
  4. Robi Friedman, Uri Levin & Anna Zajenkowska - My Europe: a continent between rejection and re-inclusion
  5. Part Two: Particular understanding

  6. Haim Weinberg - The Image of Europe in the Social Unconscious of Israeli Jews
  7. Bogdan de Barbaro & Ziad Abou Saleh - Poland and the Other: The Other and Poland
  8. Regine Schultz - The German "Welcoming Culture" - Some Thoughts about its Psychodynamics
  10. Halina Brunning & Olya Khaleelee - FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD: Pre to Post Brexit Britain 
  11. Shmuel Bernstein - Will Brexit brake the EU?
  12. Part Three: Practical interventions

  13. Gerard Fromm - National Nightmare: Thoughts on the Genesis and Legacy of Perpetrator Trauma
  14. Kasia Prot-Klinger & Krzysztof Szwajca - Social Memory of the Holocaust in Poland
  15. Stephan Alder & Marie-Luise Alder - Negotiation between three ambivalently connected nations: Finding common ground through metaphors in multinational large group sessions.
  16. Marina Mojovich - The Balkans on the Reflective-Citizens Couch Unraveling Social-Psychic-Retreats
  17. Gila Ofer - Europe on the Couch in Social Dreaming Matrices

About the Editors

Anna Zajenkowska, PhD, is an Adjunct Professor and manages the Department of Social Psychology of the Maria Grzegorzewska Pedagogical University in Warsaw. She is a trained group analyst and board member of the IGAR (Institute of Group Analysis RASZTÓW). She has previously studied and worked in businesses in Austria, Korea and Poland.

Uri Levin is a clinical psychologist, group analyst and organizational consultant. He is a board member of the EFPP (European Federation of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy). He teaches at the Tel Aviv University and supervises both in individual and group settings. He works mainly at his private practice in Tel Aviv with adults and adolescents.

About the Series

The EFPP Monograph Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health