1st Edition

Psychoanalytic and Spiritual Perspectives on Terrorism Desire for Destruction

By Nina E. Cerfolio Copyright 2024
    176 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    176 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Nina E. Cerfolio masterfully explores the deeper spiritual and psychoanalytic understanding of the origins of human aggressive and destructive instincts which underlie mass shootings and terrorism.

    The author survived two terrorist attacks: developing breast cancer from being a first responder at 9/11, and being poisoned by an FSB agent while providing humanitarian aid in the Second Chechen War. Through a personal, scholarly investigation into her psyche, the author describes the spiritual awakening that was catalyzed by these events and their traumatic impact, and examines how a world could create the firmament for the kinds of destructive aggression that are a daily occurrence. Featuring cutting-edge quantitative research and case material, which illustrates the prevalence of undiagnosed and untreated psychiatric illness among mass shooters and terrorists, this book encourages dialogue about the stigma of mental illness and challenges the perception of terrorists as monsters with no societal responsibility.

    Championing the forgotten collective humiliation of the marginalized—which in turn breeds terrorism—and documenting a new spiritual lens through which healing is possible, this book will be essential reading for mental health workers and anyone wishing to understand the traumatizing epoch in which we are living.

    Introduction  1. Sacred Service and Transcendent Interconnectedness: Being a First Responder at 9/11 and the Traumatic Aftermath  2. Dross into Gold: A Neat Alchemic Conversion from Base Biological Poisoning and Terrorism to Paradisiacal High  3. Healing Ocular Vision While Opening and Expanding My Noetic Eye  4. The Bicycle Shrink: Hope is the Thing with Joe  5. Spiritual Knowing, Not Knowing, and Being Known  6. A Paradigm for Care: Multimodal Psychoanalytic Aid with Children Traumatized by the Second Chechen War  7. Terrorism as a Perverted Negative Form of Attachment and Spirituality  8. Underlying Psychological Motives for Putin's Sponsoring of State Terrorism: Victim Morphs into Perpetrator  9. Terrorism and Mass Shootings Springing from Ideology: A Monolith that Denies the Existence of the Problem of Humanity


    Nina E. Cerfolio, is Assistant Clinical Professor of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and an internationally-recognized expert on trauma/terrorism and award-winning psychiatrist/psychoanalyst. Through writing, speaking, and original research, Nina offers a spiritual path of healing to transform the pain and trauma of terror into interconnectedness and harmony, and elucidates an expansive understanding of the marginalized.

    'Dr Nina Cerfolio's courageous, highly informative, and innovative book weaves together poignant memoir, original terrorism research, extensive scholarship, and profound spirituality. Inviting us into her remarkable journey, Dr Nina Cerfolio guides us spiritually and psychologically, teaching us to transform the pain and trauma of terror into interconnectedness and harmony. A must-read for clinicians, patients and anyone seeking transformation!'

    Leanne Domash, PhD, author of Imagination, Creativity and Spirituality in Psychotherapy and The Eel and the Blowfish: A Graphic Novel of Dreams, Trauma and Healing

    'This is an absolutely astonishing, inspiring and unique book that imbricates personal and historical trauma along with resilience. With searing honesty, it integrates deep scholarship with vivid, dramatic and heroic personal experience. It is required reading on all these levels. Clinically brilliant and moving, it is a book about the roots of individual and state terrorism and also the courage to transcend victimization and heal. Ultimately, Dr Nina Cerfolio's own words describe it best: "My writing this book is a willful act against tyranny. My defiance and determination allows me to not merely survive, but to flourish."'

    Robert Prince, PhD, ABPP, author of The Legacy of the Holocaust, Psychohistorical Themes in The Second Generation

    'A beautiful, personal, deeply attuned work on areas of major import to the human condition. This compelling and exquisite book bridges intersections of psychoanalysis, spirituality and human potential. Dr Nina Cerfolio takes us on a profound journey of psychoanalytic and spiritual perspectives and experiences concerning the underpinnings of terrorism, mass shootings and trauma. Timely and thought-provoking, highly recommended to expand and deepen one's vision.'

    Michael Eigen, PhD, author of The Sensitive Self, The Psychoanalytic Mystic, Contact With the Depths and The Challenge of Being Human

    'Dr Nina Cerfolio's personal journey through terror, from her childhood through the extraordinary medical-humanitarian missions that placed her in harm's way—and in which she was targeted, and harmed—and her physical and psychic healing and spiritual awakening, are the heart of this moving book. Her meditation on these experiences is grounded in psychiatric and psychoanalytic expertise and a wide swath of scholarship—including her own comprehensive research into the psychiatric and psychosocial backgrounds of mass shooters—and in her deep compassion.'

    Jay Frankel, PhD, clinical consultant, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

    'Dr Nina Cerfolio writes a book that is inspirational, informative and timely. It is a personal work of transcendence and transformation in the face of terror that is relevant to each of us both as individuals and as members of a global citizenry. This book is a must-read for all of us who live fragile human lives in a world of uncertainty and danger.'

    William Breibart, MD, chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York