1st Edition

Psychoanalysis, COVID and Mass Trauma The Trauma of Reality

By Tihamér Bakó, Katalin Zana Copyright 2023
    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    In this book, constructed as a psychoanalytic diary, the authors reflect on clinical observations from their work with patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, tracking these singular experiences to arrive at a broader understanding of the psychological characteristics of collective trauma.

    Based on the theoretical framework of their previous book, which focuses on the transgenerational, psychological effects of large-scale social-historical traumas and introduced new concepts such as the "Transgenerational Atmosphere," the authors here explore the trauma itself, especially those deep traumas which affect a large group of people or even the whole of humanity, including pandemics, natural disasters, terrorism, and war. In this volume, the authors progress toward the potential immediate and long-term psychological effects of such trauma, including the possibility of the activation of unprocessed transgenerational traumatic experiences, but also the potential for growth.

    Rich in clinical material and methodological suggestions, this book will appeal to mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, psychoanalysts, and social workers, in addition to professors in other academic disciplines such as sociology, history, philosophy, and anthropology.

    Foreword by Vamık Volkan  Introduction  Part I: Psychoanalytic Diary of the COVID Crisis  Part II: The Reality of Trauma, the Trauma of Reality  1. The Reality of Trauma  2. The Atmosphere  The Trauma of Reality  Summary


    Tihamér Bakó is a psychologist, psychotherapist, training psychoanalyst of the Hungarian Psychoanalytical Society, and training therapist for the Hungarian Psychodrama Association. He works in private practice in Budapest. He is the author of many textbooks and articles dealing with trauma, transgenerational trauma, crisis, and suicide.

    Katalin Zana is a doctor, psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, and a member of the Hungarian Psychoanalytical Society. She is the author of many books and articles on trauma, transgenerational trauma, and creativity. She has a private practice in Budapest.

    Psychoanalysis, COVID and Mass Trauma, by Katalin Zana and Tihamér Bakó, is a brilliant and extremely thought-provoking book on the effects of massive trauma.

    In light of the recent COVID pandemic, which has produced a worldwide experimental field, among others, the authors re-discuss classic themes of psychoanalysis such as trauma, the relationship between material reality and psychic reality, and the role of intersubjectivity in psychoanalytic theory. On the one hand, they devote particular attention to the intergenerational transmission of psychic suffering; on the other hand, to the ways in which in the here-and-now of the therapeutic relationship it is possible to activate transformative processes starting from the quality of the therapeutic relationship, and this leads them to integrate in their toolbox new tools of contemporary psychoanalysis, such as those elaborated by the post-Bionian theory of the analytic field.

    However, the book is also enriched with original concepts, such as that of the "transgenerational atmosphere". One can safely say that it represents an extraordinarily significant contribution to a debate that no analyst can now afford to ignore. Suffice to say that everyone has been touched by the trauma of the pandemic both personally and in professional practice, having found themselves perhaps for the first time reflecting on what the extreme social isolation required by preventive hygiene measures means, as well as disrupting the usual parameters of the analytic setting and learning to work remotely.

    We are only at the beginning of radical new changes in the way we think about psychoanalytic treatment. Filled with compelling clinical material and an uncommon ability to delve into complex theoretical concepts, Psychoanalysis, COVID and Mass Trauma is essential reading for all psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, as well as for those more generally interested in the subject of psychic trauma.’

    Giuseppe Civitarese, SPI, APsaA, IPA member, is author of Sublime Subjects: Aesthetic Experience and Intersubjectivity in Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2017)

    ’This book is a psychoanalytic page turner, impossible to put down. One feels more human and able to be with patients' traumas and one's own trauma reactions. Bakó and Zana offer containment and symbolising with their concept of the "Atmosphere", a psychological space and intersubjective sphere where shock and trauma transform. They use the form of diaries and snapshots to bring forth the emotional encounters with patients during the chaotic upheavals of COVID. Evocative writing about their own deep experience of the pandemic enlightens felt hauntings of annihilation fears and the possibiities of creativity and human contact made available when witnessing is active. The reader is enriched as a therapist working in the trauma atmosphere of now and as a human being desiring connection with others.’

    Nancy R. Goodman, Ph.D., training and supervising analyst with the Contemporary Freudian Society, IPA member, editor, The Power of Witnessing: Reflections, Reverberations (2012)