Vamık D. Volkan, M.D., DLFAPA, FACPsa.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
INDIVIDUAL AND LARGE-GROUP IDENTITIES:
DOES WORKING WITH BORDERLINE PATIENTS TEACH US
ANYTHING ABOUT INTERNATIONAL NEGOTIATIONS?
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vamık D. Volkan 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Many years ago, I had a peculiar experience with one of my patients who had a severe  borderline personality organization. During the third year of his analysis, Joseph began coming to his sessions 25 minutes late. Without offering an excuse for being late, or mentioning the subject at all, four times a week he simply came to my office, lay on the couch with a smile on his face, and began talking. I sensed that this unexpected behavior pattern reflected his developing “hot” split transference towards me. To avoid interfering prematurely with this development, I waited for several weeks before I told him that he was losing half of his sessions each time he came to see me. I inquired if he was curious about this development, for I certainly was. Joseph appeared very surprised—he seemed genuinely convinced that he was attending his full sessions.
 
I stayed calm and continued to encourage him to be curious about our discrepancy regarding what time he came to my office. Slowly I came to understand what was occurring and learned that Joseph was, in a way, telling the truth about coming to our sessions on time. He did in fact arrive at the scheduled time, but instead of entering my office, he would go into the bathroom next door where he spent 25 minutes holding an inner conversation with me during which he felt like an angry monster and likewise perceived me as a horrible person. He then would get off the toilet, come to my office, lay on the couch, and behave in an extremely friendly way and perceive me as friendly as well.
 
Through his “dual” sessions, Joseph directly and fully brought the splitting of his self- and object images into the transference relationship with me. Elsewhere I describe this case and how the patient split his hour with me into “bad” and “good” sessions (Volkan, 1976). Although this aspect of the case was interesting, a different aspect is also relevant to this chapter: the fact that I thought of him as the “Penguin Man.” This name, which I kept to myself, simply seemed to describe him, since he was stocky and waddled slightly when he walked.
 
Sometime later, I realized that I had given animal names to other long-term patients. Besides Penguin Man, there were Giraffe Lady, Cat person, and Dogman. I discovered that each of these patients lacked integrated identities; they had psychotic or severe borderline personality organizations—I never gave an animal name to a person with a neurotic personality organization. They were simply Mary or Jack—whatever name they were born with, or one I substituted for confidentiality when writing or talking about them.
 
My giving animal names to individuals with unintegrated personality organizations had a great deal to do with my countertransference towards them. I am a “replacement child” (Poznanski, 1972, Cain and Cain, 1964, Volkan and Ast, 1997): the idealized mental representation of an uncle who died unexpectedly before my birth and under mysterious circumstances was deposited into my self-representation by my mother and grandmother. I was named after him, and in turn he was named after my great-great grandfather who had been an important Ottoman administrator on the island of Cyprus. This grandfather lost his fame and fortune in one day when a British governor and his entourage arrived on the island after the Ottomans rented Cyprus to the British and turned over the island’s administration to them. I believe that as a child I assimilated the combined idealized images of my uncle and my elite Ottoman ancestor into my self-representation. Nevertheless, at times this assimilation was shaky and I felt forced to live up to these idealized images. This induced a tension between the idealized and not so idealized aspects within my internal world. In a prejudicial way I associated my patients who had unintegrated self-representations with animals. By doing so, I separated them from me so they would not remind me of the tension within my own self-representation due to my integration difficulty and the influence of the idealized images that had been deposited in me.
 
When we are involved in analytic work, the analyst partly regresses, as Stanley Olinick (1980) said, “In the service of the other.” We on one hand maintain an observing and working ego, while on the other we regress in order to understand our patients’ inner worlds at their own level. In the service of my patients with unintegrated self-representations, I was trying, unconsciously at first, to assist with their struggles to find out who they were. They had identity problems and I gave them animal identities. I also created “teddy bears,” living transitional objects (Winnicott, 1953) with which, in the shadows of the analytic process in my office, we would play in order to help the patients develop integrated self-representations.
 
Clinicians often use the term “identity” when describing patients who fragment or divide self- and object images into “good” (libidinally loaded) and “bad” (aggressively loaded) categories. The terms “good” and “bad” themselves have prejudicial connotations. However, these terms often appear in contemporary psychoanalytic literature when we refer to the concept of identity, something which is relatively new in psychoanalysis. Erik Erikson (1956), one psychoanalyst who focused on an individual’s identity and in a sense made it a psychoanalytic term, first used the term “ego identity,” and then dropped the word ego and used simply “identity.” He described a person’s identity as “both a persistent sameness within oneself ... [and] a persistent sharing of some kind of essential character with others” (p.57).  Since this chapter also focuses on large groups, “large-group identity” needs to be defined as well. Large-group identity refers to the subjective experience of thousands or millions of people who are linked by a persistent sense of sameness while sharing characteristics with others in foreign groups.
 
This volume primarily examines various aspects of individuals with severe identity disturbances. Most of these individuals possess split self- and object images and are considered to have borderline personality organizations.  In order to link this chapter with the main theme of this volume, I will explore whether individual psychoanalysis of patients with borderline personality organization teaches us anything about psychoanalytically informed international negotiations. I will compare working on the splitting mechanism in individual patients with attempting to narrow the psychological gap between fractured communities or enemy groups. Some political leaders have made references to the necessity of examining such psychological gaps. For example, when Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat spoke to the Israeli Knesset in 1977, he referred to the significance of a psychological wall (gap) between the two countries in the continuation of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
 
In today’s world, there are many “conflict resolution” practitioners who are involved in unofficial efforts to reduce tensions between opposing large groups, but they very seldom apply psychoanalytic understanding of individuals and large groups in their work. There are exceptions. In 1993, John Alderdice in a lecture entitled, Ulster on the Couch, proposed the creation of what he called, a“political consulting room” where both the surface elements as well as emotional and unconscious issues could be addressed in order to improve the chance of success in the Northern Ireland peace process. Mitch Elliott, a former president of the Irish Psycho-Analytical Association, and his colleagues describe how a psychoanalytically informed process paralleling Alderdice’s suggestions was designed and employed in the 1990s and what it accomplished (Elliot, 2005; Elliot, Bishop, and Stokes, 2004). Maurice Apprey (2005) compared the method described by Elliott and his colleagues with the psychoanalytically informed method developed at the University of Virginia’s Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction (CSMHI) (closed since 2005). Apprey stated that the first one stopped at a diagnostic level and Elliott and his colleagues hoped that policy makers would benefit from its findings. CSMHI went beyond making an assessment of conflict by adding a facilitating team that conducted years-long dialogues between the representatives of antagonistic large groups, transformed their grievances and narrowed the psychological gap between them.  
 
Because CSMHI’s method is discussed in full detail elsewhere (Volkan, 1999a., 2006a.), I only present a brief summary here. Nicknamed the “Tree Model” to reflect that the slow growth and branching of a tree are analogous to the way this method unfolds, it has three basic phases: assessment, dialogue, and institutionalization. During the first phase, which includes in-depth interviews with a wide range of members of the large groups involved, the interdisciplinary facilitating team of psychoanalysts, historians, political scientists, and others begins to understand the main aspects of the relationship between the two large groups and the surrounding situation to be addressed. Next, influential representatives of enemy large groups are brought together for a series of unofficial negotiations over several years under the guidance of psychoanalytically informed facilitators. This facilitating team borrows technical principles from psychoanalysis as it applies to individuals. The team does not provide advice. Resistances against changing opposing large groups’“pathological” ways of protecting their large-group identities are brought to the surface, articulated, and fantasized threats to large-group identity are interpreted so that realistic communication can take place. By increasing understanding of the conscious and unconscious dynamics at work on both sides, new ways of interacting become possible. In order for the gained insights to have an impact on social and political policy, as well as on the populace at large, the final phase requires the collaborative development of concrete actions, programs, and institutions. By developing programs and institutions that implement and encourage such new ways of interacting, what is experienced at first by a few during the psychopolitical dialogues can be spread and made available to many more. With appropriate modifications, this approach can be applied to a wide variety of situations to help alleviate tensions, prevent violent conflict, heal traumatized societies, and promote peaceful coexistence.
 
In cases like Joseph’s, the aim of analysis is to help the patient to mend his or her split self- and object images in order to establish an integrated self-representation and corresponding integrated object representations. This produces anxiety and other troublesome emotions, which I will name later and which can be tamed through analytic work. Does what clinicians learn in the clinical setting about mending an individual’s internal splitting provide information about difficulties in psychopolitical dialogues, such as those that occur during the second phase of the Tree Model? This chapter attempts to answer this question.
 
 
Individual identity:
Sigmund Freud seldom referred to “identity,” and when he did, it was in a colloquial or unsophisticated sense. One well-known reference to identity is found in a speech written by Freud (1926a.) for B’nai B’rith. In it, Freud connected his individual identity with his large-group identity and wondered why he was bound to Jewry since, as a non-believer, he had never been instilled with its ethnonational pride or religious faith. There is a consensus that the concept “identity” refers to a subjective experience. It can be differentiated from related concepts such as “character” and “personality.” The latter terms describe the impressions others perceive of the individual’s emotional expressions, modes of speech, typical actions, and habitual ways of thinking and behaving. Traditionally, character is a person’s ego-syntonic, habitual mode of reconciling intrapsychic conflicts. Some authors believe that personality is an umbrella term that covers both character and “temperament.” Temperament refers to constitutionally determined affectomotor and cognitive tendencies (Moore and Fine, 1990). If we observe someone to be habitually clean, orderly, greedy, and to use excessive intellectualization, show excessive ambivalence and controlled emotional expressions, we say that this person has an obsessional character.  If we observe someone who is overtly suspicious and cautious, and whose physical appearance suggests that she is constantly scanning the environment for possible danger, we say that this person has a paranoid personality.
 
Unlike character and personality, which are observed and perceived by others, identity refers to an individual’s inner working model—this person, not the outsider, senses and experiences it.  Some authors (Kernberg, 1976, 1984; Volkan 1976, 1995) use the term “personality organization” and differentiate it from the simple word “personality.” Personality organization refers to the analyst’s theoretical explanation of the inner construction and affective experience of a patient’s self-representation and the nature of this individual’s internalized object relations. Personality organization parallels the concept of identity, which is sensed by the individual himself.
 
In everyday life, adult individuals can typically refer to numerous aspects of their identity related to social or professional status—one may simultaneously perceive oneself as a mother or father, a physician or carpenter, or someone who enjoys specific sports or recreational activities. These facets superficially seem to fit Erikson’s (1956) definition but do not truly reflect a person’s internal sense of sustained sameness. If a person’s social or career identity is threatened, the individual may or may not experience anxiety. Anxiety is more likely to occur if the threat is connected, mostly unconsciously, to danger signals originally described by Freud (1926 b.): losing a loved one (a mothering person) or that person’s love, a body part (castration), or self-esteem. In some cases, the anxiety is severe enough for the individual to seek treatment, but it is otherwise unlikely that changing jobs or membership in a sports club, for example, would cause severe psychological problems that change the structure of a person’s internal world.
 
On the other hand, let us consider an adult who acutely decompensates and goes into psychosis. Such an individual’s unique identity is fragmenting and may have an inner sense of  terror and a star exploding into a million pieces (Pao, 1979, Glass, 1989, Volkan 1995). The experience of this person helps to define what I mean by “core identity”—one that individuals are terrified of losing—and differentiates it from other social or profession-related identities. Not to have a cohesive core identity is intolerable unless the individual utilizes primitive defenses to hide it, such as fragmenting, splitting, introjective-projective relatedness, dissociation and denial.  At times, when one cannot protect oneself and faces the loss of one’s core identity, it feels like a psychological death. When Erikson (1956) referred to the aspect of identity that involves a persistent sense of inner sameness he, I believe, was specifying core identity.
 
In “normal” development, when children become able to possess an integrated self-representation, they also begin to have a subjective experience of a persistent sameness within themselves. They have now formed the foundation of a core identity. During childhood the self-representation and the corresponding core identity will be enlarged and modified with various types of identifications. Some identifications connect the child’s core identity to the parents' cultural and group heritage. Think of a man—let us say he an Englishman—who is an amateur photographer. If he decides to stop practicing photography and take up carpentry, he may call himself a carpenter instead of a photographer, but he cannot stop being an Englishman and become French. His Englishness is part of his large-group identity, which is interconnected with his core individual identity, his subjective experience of his self-representation. Not all identifications are healthy, however. Clinical work has demonstrated maladaptive childhood identifications.
 
Identifications and identity are related but they are not interchangeable concepts. As Erikson (1956) stated, identity starts when a process of identification ends. I modify this by saying that a cohesive core identity starts when identifications are assimilated within a differentiated and integrated self-representation. Peter Blos (1979) described in detail how an individual's character crystallizes during the adolescent passage. During the adolescent passage there is a psychobiological regression and the youngster loosens up her investments in the images of important others of her childhood and modifies and even disregards her identifications with them. Furthermore, she adds additional identifications, this time from her peer group or far beyond her restricted family or neighborhood environment. Through these there is an overhauling of her persistent sense of inner sameness.  I suggest that the formation of core identity also finalizes during this period (Volkan, 1988).
 
Once a person's core identity crystallizes, it can be defined by looking at it from different angles. Salman Akhtar (1992, 1999) looked at the individual’s core identity from different angles. He stated that the sustained feeling of inner sameness is accompanied by a temporal continuity in the self-experience: the past, the present, and the future are integrated into a smooth continuum of remembered, felt, and expected existence for the individual. The individual core identity is connected with a realistic body image and a sense of inner solidarity and is associated with the capacity for solitude and clarity of one’s gender. Akhtar also connected the individual’s core identity with large-group identity, such as a national, ethnic or religious identity.
 
Akhtar’s last characteristic of an individual's identity refers to a link between one's personal core identity and large-group identity. His description of this characteristic implies that the link occurs at the oedipal level when a child's superego is crystallized. The child then identifies with his parents' prohibitions and ideals, and by extension, his large-group's prohibitions and ideals. To support this view, Akhtar refers to Chasseguet-Smirgel's (1984) remark that successful resolution of the Oedipus complex adds to the child's entrance into the father's universe. I contend that the foundation of the core large-group identity is created during the pre-oedipal period; oedipal influences, however important, are added later.
 
 
Large-group identity:
In the psychological literature the term “large group” sometimes refers to 30 to 150 members who meet in order to deal with a given psychological issue (Kernberg, 2003 a,b), but I am not referring to such gatherings. My focus is on ethnic, national, religious or political ideological groups composed of thousands or millions of people. In such large groups most of the individuals will never meet during their lifetimes. In fact, they will not even know of the existence of many others belonging to the same entity. Yet, they will share a sense of  belonging, usually a language, sentiments, nursery rhymes, songs, dances, and representations of history. They share what John Mack (1979) called, “cultural amplifiers,” which are concrete or abstract symbols and signs that are only associated with a particular large group and which are usually accepted as “superior” and as a source of pride.  The sharing of the large group’s national, ethnic or religious elements begins in childhood. This applies also to those who are members of a political ideological group whose parents and the people in the childhood environment are believers in the ideology.  To become a follower of a political ideology as an adult involves other psychological motivations.
 
Depending on the focus of a large group’s identity, the child’s investment is in ethnicity (I am an Arab), religion (I am a Catholic), nationality (I am a German), political ideology (I am a communist), or a combination of these. A psychoanalytic examination of how a large group’s identity evolves goes beyond the phenomenology of large-group identity concepts. A child born in Hyderabad, India, for example, would focus on religious/cultural issues as she develops a large-group identity, since adults there define their dominant large-group identities according to religious affiliation (Muslim or Hindu) (Kakar, 1996).  A child born in Cyprus would absorb a dominant large-group identity defined by ethnic/national/political sentiments, because what is currently critical in this part of the world is whether one is Greek, Turkish or politically simply “Cypriot” (there is no Cypriot nation), with less emphasis placed on whether one is Greek Orthodox Christian or Sunni Muslim (Volkan, 1979). Questions of investment in ethnicity versus religion, or nationality versus race, or one ideology versus another are not as essential to understanding large-group identity as are the psychodynamic processes of linking individual identity to large-group identity.
 
Belonging to a large group, after going through the adolescence passage, endures throughout a lifetime. Sometimes belongingness can be a shadow identity, as we sometimes see in persons after voluntary or forced migrations (Volkan, 1993a, Akhtar, 1999). Nevertheless, such belongingness never disappears. Only through some long-lasting drastic historical event may a group evolve a new large-group identity.  For example, certain southern Slavs became Bosniaks while under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, which lasted for centuries.
 
Through early identifications with mother, father, teacher and important persons in their environment small children begin to “learn” that they are members of a specific large group and what cultural amplifiers are theirs. Some children have parents who belong to two different ethnic or religious groups. If an international conflict erupts between these two large groups, these youngsters may, even as adults, have severe psychological problems. In South Ossetia, for example, after the initial wars between Georgians and South Ossetians following the collapse of the Soviet Union and before the 2008 summer tragedies there, I met persons with “mixed” lineage who had become confused and psychologically disturbed due to their situation (Volkan, 2006a).
 
There is another childhood process that more clearly creates the precursors of children’s notions of large-group enemies and allies and separates their large-group identity from the “others" large-group identity.  This process also illustrates how people, without being aware of it, need to have large-group enemies and allies, to one degree or another, throughout their lifetime.  Belonging to the same large-group identity allows thousands or millions of people to share the same large-group enemy and ally representations. This childhood experience can be understood with a concept that I call “suitable targets of externalization” (Volkan, 1988).
 
The object relations theory of psychoanalysis (Kernberg, 1975, 1976) and observations of children, tells us that when children become able to tolerate ambivalence they integrate their previously fragmented or split self- and object images. However, such integrations are not totally complete. Some self- and object images remain unintegrated and the child finds ways to deal with them in order to avoid facing and feeling object relations tension. One psychological method a child uses to deal with this problem is to externalize his or her unintegrated self- and object images onto other persons, or animate or inanimate objects. The child later may re-internalize such images. The people in the child’s environment also help the child to find permanent reservoirs in which to keep the externalized unintegrated “bad” and “good” self- and object images. Since externalizations into such reservoirs are approved by the individuals important to the child, what is externalized will not boomerang, will not be re-internalized by the child. Such reservoirs are the suitable targets of externalization that become the precursors of large-group enemy and ally representations (Volkan, 1988). A child is, to use Erikson’s (1966) term, a “generalist” as far as nationality, ethnicity, religion or political ideology are concerned. Once the child utilizes suitable targets of externalization, he or she ceases to be a generalist.
 
To illustrate this idea, let us consider Cyprus, where Greeks and Turks lived side by side for centuries until the island was de facto divided into two political entities in 1974. Greek farmers there often raise pigs. Turkish children, like Greek children, invariably are drawn to farm animals, but imagine a Turkish child wanting to touch and love a piglet. The mothers or other important individuals in the Turkish child’s environment would strongly discourage their children from playing with the piglet. For Moslem Turks, the pig is “dirty.” As a cultural amplifier for the Greeks, it does not belong to the Turks’ large group. Now the Turkish child has found a permanent reservoir for depositing unwanted, aggressively contaminated and unintegrated “bad” self- and object images. Since Moslem Turks do not eat pork, in a concrete sense what is externalized into the image of the pig will not be re-internalized. When the child unconsciously finds a suitable target for unintegrated “bad” self- and object images, the precursor of the “other” becomes established in the child’s mind at an experimental level. The Turkish child at this point does not know what Greekness means. Sophisticated thoughts, perceptions and emotions, and images of history about the “other” evolve much later without the individual’s awareness that the first symbol of the enemy was in the service of helping him or her avoid feeling object relations tension. Since almost all Turkish children in Cyprus will use the same target, they will share the same precursor of the “other” who may become the “enemy” if real world problems become complicated.
 
Children also are given suitable targets as reservoirs for their “good” unintegrated self- and object relations. For example, a Finnish child uses the sauna as such a reservoir. Only when Finnish children grow up will they have sophisticated thoughts and feelings about Finishness. Most shared reservoirs remain constant for a long time, while certain historical events may shift the group’s investment in them.  In Scotland, Highland dress dates from the 13th century, but it was an event in the 18th century that transformed the tartan kilt into a shared reservoir of Scottishness. When England defeated Bonnie Prince Charles at Culloden in 1746, the English banned the wearing of the kilt in Scotland under the Act of Proscription. The act was repealed thirty-six years later, and the kilt was adopted as Scottish military dress. When George IV made a state visit to Scotland in 1882, his visit strengthened Scottish investment in the kilt, which served to enhance Scottish unity in the face of a visit from the figurehead of powerful England. Many Scottish families even have their own tartan design, which they sometimes use in their personal clothing. Efforts to suppress the wearing of the kilt have been unsuccessful; the dress continues to serve as an ethnic reservoir signifying Scottishness.
 
It is interesting that when there is an international conflict or a war-like situation, members of a large group who feel victimized regress and create adult versions of suitable targets of externalization. In childhood, reservoirs are chosen because they have been culturally invested in by parents and other adults who direct the children to choose them.  Adults who regress under a shared trauma, however, choose reservoirs that symbolically relate to their threatening environment. For example, when Gaza fell under the Israeli occupation, Palestinians began to carry small stones painted with the Palestinian flag’s colors in their pockets. When facing humiliating external situations, they would reach into their pockets and touch the stones. Having the stones created a network of “we-ness” that supported the large-group identity of Palestinians living in Gaza at that time and separated their large-group identity from the Israelis’ large-group identity.
 
Below I will describe what clinicians learn when a patient with an unintegrated personality organization in analysis attempts to develop a cohesive identity. Then I will illustrate how such a clinical experience illuminates what happens when “neutral” facilitators guide the representatives of opposing large groups to shrink the psychological gap between them.
 
 
Mending splitting in individuals:
In 1963, Donald Winnicott played with diagrams, using a circle to represent a person.  He wrote, “Inside the circle is collected all the interplay of forces and objects that constitute the inner reality of the individual at this moment of time” (p.75).  In 1969, Winnicott added that an individual who is mature enough to be represented as a circle is one who is capable of containing conflicts that arise from within and without, and that it is necessary to divide this circle by putting a line down its center, because “there must always be war or potential war along the line in the centre, on either side of the line there become organized groupings of benign and persecutory elements” (pp.222-223).  He continued to state that only idealists “often speak as if there were such a thing as an individual with no line down the middle in the diagram of the person, where there is nothing but benign forces for use for good purposes” (p.223). According to Winnicott, “the individual” is a relatively modern concept. 
 
Until a few hundred years ago, he said, outside of a few exceptional “total individuals” (p.222) everyone was unintegrated. When he wrote his papers on this topic he thought that even then the world was mainly composed of individuals who could not achieve integration and be a total unit.
 
Winnicott’s references to unintegrated individuals reflect knowledge gained through examination of the internal worlds of patients with borderline personality organization that point to a split between libidinally invested self- and object representations and aggressively invested self- and object representations.  A closer look at how one’s self- and object representations evolve and become integrated and cohesive in childhood (Kernberg, 1970, 1975, 1976, Volkan, 1976, 1995), however, suggests a need to modify Winnicott’s diagram of the unintegrated individual.  It would be less confusing to consider a circle with a line through its center as representing a mature individual who has achieved tolerance for ambivalence to one degree or another.  Since opposite halves of the circle touch each other, metapsychologically speaking, such an individual has moved to a higher level (neurotic) personality organization from the previous level, that of a borderline personality organization.  Perhaps a diagram representing a truly unintegrated person (as I drew – Volkan, 1981a.) would have not a line, but a definable gap between the two halves of the circle.
 
The key issue during psychoanalysis of an individual with borderline personality organization is to help the person eventually reach a “crucial juncture” (Klein, 1946; Kernberg, 1976, 1984; Volkan, 1987, 1993; Volkan and Fowler, 2009).  The term “crucial juncture” was first used by Melanie Klein in 1946. She wrote: “The synthesis between the loved and hated aspects of the complete object gives rise to the feelings of mourning and guilt which imply vital advances in the infant’s emotional and intellectual life. This is also a crucial juncture for the choice of neurosis or psychosis” (p.100). It is the failure to reach natural “crucial junctures” in childhood that cause the adult to be stuck in a personality organization in which splitting predominates as the key defense; the developmental “normal” splitting thus, in such individuals, becomes a defensive, pathological splitting and such patients come to treatment with this pathology. Therefore, a natural developmental occurrence in childhood will be observed in adults with borderline personality organization when they reach crucial juncture experiences during analysis.
 
Such patients will need many crucial juncture experiences before the integration of their self- and object representations become crystallized. Then, the ability to have ambivalence replaces their relating to their self- and object images in a split fashion. Such a patient becomes a circle with a line through its center, replacing two separate components of a circle divided with a gap. The analyst absorbs, tames and deals with the patient’s intense emotions prior to and during the patient’s transformation from a split identity to an integrated one. These emotions usually include murderous rage that is originally directed to caretakers with disturbed mothering functions, envy due to a sense that one has developmental arrests while others moved on to higher levels of functioning, and remorse for badly treating objects contaminated with devaluation when “bad” images were externalized into them.
 
Furthermore, anxiety of losing “good” aspects when they are ready to be integrated with the “bad” ones and guilt and mourning over losing the former unintegrated self- and object images requires closer examination. When a patient with borderline personality organization arrives at crucial juncture experiences during psychoanalytic treatment, initially he or she fears that mixing “black” and “white” will not produce “grey” (Volkan, 1976, 1987, 1995).  The individual’s “bad” self- and object images are invested with exaggerated aggression and the patient becomes anxious due to an unconscious perception that during a crucial juncture experience his or her “good” parts will be absorbed with aggression too. Or, the patient senses that the mending will “kill” his or her “good” self- and object images. Once when my patient Joseph was ready to have a crucial juncture experience during a session, he suddenly got up from the couch and “attacked” me. I protected myself and in a few minutes he went back to lying on my couch. When he and I investigated this incident we understood that his physically touching me was necessary for him to be sure that he, representing his “good” self- and object images,   would not die when  (Volkan, 1976). He never touched me again. By being aware of the source of the patient’s anxiety, the analyst helps the patient through emphatic explanations, interpretations, and by indirectly offering himself or herself as a model who can take a chance on integration.
 
Otto Kernberg (1970) also discussed guilt and mourning during crucial juncture experiences in individuals. He states that “the deep admiration and love for the ideal mother” and “the hatred for the distorted dangerous mother” meet in the transference and the patient experiences guilt and depression “because he has mistreated the analyst and all the significant persons in his life, and he may feel that he has actually destroyed those whom he could have loved and who might have loved him” (p. 81). Kernberg also emphasized the possibility of suicidal ideation at such times. Although I am aware that the evolution of guilt feelings and depression is part of the progression in the treatment of individuals with unintegrated personality organization, mourning itself, without much guilt feeling, is a new experience for these patients, and its appearance signals a positive outcome (Searles, 1986).
 
For practical purposes, we can divide the intensive approaches to the individual psychoanalytic treatment of patients whose defensive responses are centered on splitting, into two styles (Volkan, 1987). The first approach maintains the already regressed patient at a level where he or she is able to function without further regression, with the idea that further regression may usher in a psychotic condition. The strategy behind this method is to focus on providing new ego experiences for the patient, with clarifications, confrontation and interpretations, kept within the therapeutic setting and calculated to promote integration of opposing self- and object images. I feel that while this approach may be therapeutic, it does not provide for major structural change in the core of the pathological psychic organization. Because of this, when such patients begin to have crucial juncture experiences, they may feel intense guilt, depression, or even have suicidal ideation and may even escape from treatment.
 
The second approach in the individual psychoanalytic treatment is based on the premise that severely regressed or undeveloped patients should experience further (therapeutic) regression, even though such patients would most likely exhibit temporary, but therapeutically controlled, transference psychosis. After such regressive experiences, these patients would begin to relax their defensive use of splitting, and replace it with developmental splitting. Bear in mind, that all children experience developmental splitting due to their lack of integrative function. Eventually, children are able to reach naturally expected crucial junctures as part of their psychic growth when, for example, they have enough identification with their mothers’ integrative functions and when they are capable of taming their aggression. When the child’s integrative function is taxed and disturbed due to constitutional, internal, or environmental factors, splitting becomes permanent and is utilized defensively, as I indicated earlier.
 
Once an adult patient with an unintegrated personality organization is back on the track of developmental splitting following a therapeutic regression, “upward-evolving transference” (Boyer 1983; Volkan, 1987, 1995) develops and takes the patient to a point where opposing self- and object representations, together with their accompanying affects, will meet. Patients with borderline personality organization are constantly  involved in internalization-externalization of self- and object images and introjection-projection of various affects and thoughts. In analysis, such relatedness to the analyst determines common transference and countertransference developments (Volkan, 1981a., 1987). Within the realm of patient-analyst interactions, the patient identifies with various functions of the analyst, including identification involving the integrative function, which supports the patient’s progressive development. The patient’s arrival at a crucial juncture is the result of collective accumulation within his psyche of all necessary identifications and his developing ability to tame his aggression. The patient who undergoes the second type of treatment is “prepared” during the initial years of his treatment, to reach and pass through the crucial juncture without much guilt and certainly without much depression or suicidal thoughts. Once the patient comes to the crucial juncture, he is ready to experience mourning over surrendering his old unintegrated self-representation and corresponding unintegrated object images (Volkan 1976, 1981b., 1987, 1993; Volkan and Fowler, 2009).
 
Joseph came to analysis as an adult with primitive defenses against shame and humiliation, murderous rage, and a need to be understood and accepted as a human being—and not as a Penguin Man—by fellow human beings.  Joseph’s Christian mother from a small conservative town in the USA was encouraged by her family to marry a much older uneducated Jewish man who, as a new immigrant to the United States, first traveled from one state to another collecting scrap metal to sell. He became very rich in this business and married a young and beautiful woman who was not in love with him. Joseph’s parents had come from two different cultures and religions and there was no emotional bond to bring them together. She had dreamed of becoming a great pianist, but had to give up this ambition when she married. Joseph’s childhood environment, in a sense, was split into opposing elements and he, as a child, did not have help developing his “normal” integrative ego functions. His mother constantly gave him enemas throughout his childhood to make him “clean” and did not “teach” him how to integrate “good” and “bad” self- and object images.  As an adult he had a borderline personality organization.
 
In analysis, a person like Joseph begins to give up his primitive defenses against and primitive adaptation to his internal conflicts. The analyst becomes a “hot” transference figure, and the patient experiences the analyst as important figures from his childhood, a person on whom the patient depended and for whom he feels rage. Such developments are part of analytic treatment, and if it is to work properly, a “therapeutic space” has to be formed and maintained in the analyst’s office. Let us visualize such a space with an imagined effigy representing the analyst sitting in the middle of it. The patient sends verbal missiles to mutilate and kill the effigy and the analyst tolerates this. The next day, the analyst-effigy is placed in the therapeutic space again, showing the patient that his childhood rage did not commit a murder. A mental game is played in this space until the patient learns how to “kill” a symbol and not a real person, how to relinquish devastating guilt feelings, how to tame other intense emotions, and how to separate fantasy from reality. The patient also learns to establish a firm continuity of time, but with an ability to restore feelings, thinking, and perceptions to their proper places: the past, the present, or the future. In other words, the burdens of the past can be left behind, and a hope for a better future can be maintained. There should be no damaging intrusions into this space. For example, the patient does not really hit the analyst. (Joseph’s “attacking” me and touching me was an unusual event and it occurred only once during his entire analysis.) The patient attacks only the analyst's effigy. The analyst does not have real sex with the patient who wishes to be loved, but the analyst, by protecting the therapeutic space, shows the patient that he or she is “loved.”
 
 
Shrinking the gap between enemies:
In peaceful times people usually turn their attention toward themselves, their families, relatives, clans, neighbors, professional and social organizations, schools, sports clubs and local or national politics. But when a large group is humiliated or threatened by “others” who identify with another large group, the attacked population abandons its routine preoccupations and becomes obsessed with repairing, protecting and maintaining their large-group identity. It is analogous to individuals who are not constantly aware of their breathing, but if they find themselves in a smoke-filled room or develop pneumonia, they notice every breath they take. Similarly, when a large group is under stress and the large-group identity is injured or threatened, the people who belong to it, such as those who come to negotiation tables and face enemy representatives, become keenly aware of their “we-ness” and quickly and definitively separate their large-group identity from the identity of the “other,” the “enemy” large group.
 
During the last 30 years I have been present when influential representatives of Arabs and Israelis, Americans and Soviets, Russians and Estonians, Serbians and Croats, Georgians and South Ossetians, Turks and Greeks, and Turks and Armenians came together for unofficial dialogues that were carried out over a number of years in an attempt to achieve understanding and hopefully find “entry points” for strategies and actions for peaceful co-existence  I also visited many refugee camps and met political leaders of many countries or large groups such as Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, Rauf Denktaş, Arnolf Rüütel, Yasser Arafat, Olesegun Obasanjo, and Abdullah Gül.
 
Last year I have begun a new project with Lord John Alderdice, the former leader of  Northern Ireland’s cross-community Alliance Party and former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly who is also a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. We are bringing representatives from Arab Emirates, Austria, India, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Russia, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States together to try to understand the post-September 11, 2001, world, in particular the Islamic-Western world split. In this, as in other projects I have been involved with (Volkan, 1988, 1997,  2004, 2006a.), participants, as spokespersons for their large-group identities, become preoccupied with large-group identity issues. In places where refugees or internally displaced persons are living, these victims also constantly refer to their large-group identities. This is also true, I have noticed, of political leaders at the time of an international conflict. By listening to dialogues involving enemy representatives, dislocated persons, and political leaders I have learned much about large-group identity, large-group psychology in general and what occurs when attempts are made to shrink the psychological gap between the enemy representatives.
 
Returning to Winnicott (1963, 1969), he conceptualized the sociological world as millions of people superimposed upon each other. His belief that most individuals are unintegrated led him to examine political divisions.  He suggested that much of what we call civilization may become impossible at the boundaries between large groups.  He compared Berlin, which was still divided at that time, to his diagram of a circle with a line through its center that represents the unintegrated individual.
 
Winnicott noted that some political divisions, such as the border between England and Wales, can be looked upon in terms of geography and mountains.  But, the Berlin Wall was man-made and ugly and could hold no association to the word “beauty” in light of our knowledge that, in the 1960s there would have been war without the wall.  However, Winnicott acknowledged a positive aspect of the Berlin Wall.  He suggested that a dividing line between opposing forces, “at its worst postpones conflict and at its best holds opposing forces away from each other for long periods of time so that people may play and pursue the arts of peace.  The arts of peace belong to the temporary success of a dividing line between opposing forces; the lull between times when the wall has ceased to segregate good and bad” (Winnicott, 1969, p.224). When there is anxiety and regression within large groups in conflict, a simple line between them is not enough to protect the antagonists’ identities.  They must defend against any possibility of interpenetration.
 
Large-group psychology primarily deals with a shared need to repair, protect and maintain large-group identity. Thousands or millions of people, without being aware it, are assigned these tasks and respond to ethnic, religious, ideological and international relations accordingly. If a foreign large group deliberately shames, humiliates, and destroys the lives of a number of individuals in the name of their large-group identity in, let us say, the northern part of a country, others belonging to the same large-group identity in the south will also feel their pain and rage. Large-group identity connects people in emotional ways wherever they live. Influences and consequences of traumas that are caused by “others” belonging to another large-group identity do not remain regional (Volkan, 1988, 2006a). The “split” in Israel during the Second Lebanon War, when the North suffered while the rest of the country continued its daily routine in an environment in which the stock markets were doing fine, appears to contradict the idea that pain and rage are shared by all who belong to the same large-group identity. This “split” in Israel was possible because underneath it all, Israelis everywhere shared chronic threats to their large-group identity.
 
When a large group’s identity is humiliated or threatened, people belonging to that identity psychologically find it easy to humiliate, victimize and kill individuals belonging to the enemy group in the name of identity without blinking an eye. They use aggression in order to repair, protect and maintain their large-group identity. If people who belong to the victimized group feel helpless, they will in this case tolerate forced or voluntary shared masochism, again in order to hold on to their large-group identity.  This abstract concept, the “large-group” identity, becomes the central force that influences international relations.
 
In their daily lives, members of a large group mostly unconsciously follow two unalterable and intertwined principles (Volkan, 1988, 1997, 1999a., 2006a.), principles they may become aware of if the “other” humiliates and threatens them in the name of large-group identity. I call the first principle the “maintenance of non-sameness.” One large group must not be the same as, or even closely similar to, a neighboring large group that is perceived as an enemy. Although antagonistic large groups usually have major differences in religion, language and historical or mythological backgrounds, “minor differences” between antagonists can become major problems that lead to deadly consequences.  Much earlier Freud (1921, 1930) noted minor differences among small and large groups, but did not study their deadly consequences in international relations. When large groups regress, any signal of similarity is perceived, often unconsciously, as unacceptable; minor differences therefore become elevated to great importance to protect non-sameness. Cypriot Greek farmers used to dress like Cypriot Turkish farmers in black shirts and loose black trousers.  The Greek would put a blue or black sash around his waist and the Turk would wear a red one.  Under increased hostilities the difference in sash color became a matter of life or death (Volkan, 1979). Donald Horowitz (1985) reported that in 1958 Sinhalese mobs methodically victimized only men bearing earring holes in their ears and wearing shirts over their vertis. In the absence of differentiating skin color or other dissimilar characteristics, these features identified people as enemy Tamils. Thomas Butler (1993) wrote about how in the former Yugoslavia differences in the pronunciation of certain words by Croats and Serbs increased in significance when antagonism between the two groups increased.  When “minor differences” between antagonists become major problems that lead to deadly consequences, we recognize the existence of the “maintenance of non-sameness” principle.  
 
Another unalterable principle in large-group relationships, intertwined with the first one reflects the need to maintain a psychological border, gap, or tangible space between large groups in conflict. Although the demarcation and maintenance of physical borders has always, especially in modern times, been vital to international and large-group relationships, closer examination indicates that it is far more critical to have an effective psychological border than a simple physical one. In 1986, when tensions between Israelis and Jordanians were high, I visited the Allenby Bridge, over the Jordan River that separates the two countries.  Trucks that went over the bridge looked like the factory had forgotten to finish them:  doors and hoods were missing, and even the upholstery had been removed to allow fewer places to hide contraband items.  Israeli customs officers would spend hours taking vehicles apart and putting them back together to assure that nothing was smuggled in from Jordan.  In another precaution, the Israelis routinely swept a dirt road that ran parallel to the border in order to detect the footprints of people trying to cross it.  It should be noted that the border was amply supplied with sophisticated electronic surveillance devices, minefields and the natural barrier of the Jordan River.  Even if there was some justification for the extra precaution, it is most likely that the idea of a psychological border was intertwined with the physical border at this location, resulting in rituals that created a psychological gap between the two countries that went beyond realistic military activities. 
 
After September 11, 2001, every traveler who is paying attention to large-group psychology, must be aware of how legal or traditional physical borders also symbolize the large-group identity that provides a huge umbrella protecting the people belonging to it. In Europe immigrants from the Middle East, Africa and Eastern European countries inflame the affected large groups’ border psychology. When clear physical demarcations are perceived as ambiguous or indistinct, psychological borders are weakened as well, and shared anxiety can develop.
 
These two principles—maintaining non-sameness and psychological borders—influence international relationships, especially at negotiation tables. I have observed that one of the dangerous times during which diplomatic negotiations quickly may collapse is when the opposing parties, usually with the help of a third “neutral” party, come close to making a major agreement. This “coming close,” for both parties, unconsciously threatens the two principles mentioned above. Anxiety about injury to large-group identity increases and this may lead to the collapse of negotiations, paradoxically after hard work and after coming very close to making an agreement.
 
Psychoanalysts analyzing individuals like Joseph know about the appearance of anxiety and other troublesome feelings when a person with borderline organization comes to a crucial juncture experience. If psychoanalysts are  participants in a conflict resolution team dealing with large groups they, emotionally and intellectually, will be more prepared to respond to similar emotions when they surface at a time the opposing groups make efforts for a rapprochement. Knowing about the two principles described above will help the psychoanalytically informed “neutral” third party in negotiations to introduce strategies that will inform the opposing parties in the following way: “Making an agreement and signing a document does not mean that you will lose the border separating your large-group identity from the identity of your enemy’s large group or that you will face the possibility of becoming the same as your enemy. When a mutual formal agreement on a difficult issue is reached, both sides will still keep their own identities.”
 
Just as individuals with a borderline personality organization imagine losing “good” self- and object images, enemy negotiators that attempt to shrink the psychological gap between “good” and “bad” large-group identities when coming together for negotiations for a peaceful co-existence face a similar phenomenon.  Negotiators become anxious about contaminating their large-group identity with the one that is invested, in their mind and often in reality, with terrible aggression. The possibility that their “good” large-group identity will become “bad” if an agreement is reached is a psychologically threatening event. The facilitating team that includes psychoanalysts should be aware of this. Furthermore, anxiety over closing the gap between the enemy representatives due to “mixing” large-group identities is complicated due to the fact that even before negotiations take place, large groups in the conflict, outside of their awareness, become alike.
 
While it is very threatening for a large group to lose its psychological border and contaminate its own large-group identity with the one belonging to the enemy, in   situations where conflict between two large groups becomes hot, deadly or chronic, paradoxically, enemies become alike to a certain degree.This process, on a conscious level is denied vehemently.  At the foundation of this paradox lies the fact that large-group enemies are both real and fantasized (Stein, 1990). They are real if they are humiliating, shooting and killing people in the other large group in the name of identity. They are also fantasized because they are reservoirs of the first large group’s externalized unwanted parts, a result of a shared process that began in childhood when suitable reservoirs of externalization were established, and as a result of large-group regression in which adult members do the same thing children would do: create suitable targets of externalization.
 
In hot, deadly or chronic international conflicts, suitable reservoirs do not remain permanent, effective and distant reservoirs “out there.”  The externalizations and projections a large group puts in these reservoirs overflow and come back to contaminate itself. Thus, psychologically speaking, both large groups, to a certain degree, become the same. Al -Qaeda divided the world into two categories. After September 11, the United States did the same. “You are either on my side or else,” became a political doctrine. Ideas such as the “clash of civilizations” or in this case “clash of religions,” directly or indirectly was supported within both large groups. Dissenters exist, of course, but they do not change the essential shared sentiments within the large group unless they recruit a huge number of followers who become a political force.
 
When speaking of enemies becoming alike, I refer to shared psychological movements, not to the actual methods used by each group involved in wars or war-like situations. One may kill through terrorism and the other may kill in “legal” and so-called “civilized” ways. Many factors, such as historical circumstances, reactivation of past victimizations, the existing political system, military power, technology, economy, and most importantly, the degree of large-group regression and the personality organization of the political leader can make a large group dehumanize the “other” and exercise terrible cruelty in both “barbaric” and “civilized” ways.  
 
Elsewhere (Volkan, 2004, 2009) I describe how a political leader’s personality organization plays a crucial role in inflaming or taming the process of one large group becoming like the enemy group. If the leader is able to explain to the followers where the reality of the enemy ends and where the fantasy about the enemy begins, this tames the process of becoming like the enemy. If the leader does not provide good reality testing that includes an understanding of the enemy large group’s “psychic reality” and does not make some attempt to respond to it in humane non-destructive ways, dangers become magnified and regression is maintained.
 
Members of one group in conflict may attempt to define their large-group identity through externalizing unwanted parts of themselves onto the enemy, projecting their unwanted thoughts, affects, perceptions, and wishes just as patients with primitive personality organizations typically do. For example, it is not we who are troublemakers, but they. Often externalizations and projections into the opposing large group reflect a clear “us” and “them” dichotomy of rigid positions: we are “good,” they are “bad.” Such mechanisms can also involve a more complex relationship between representatives of the two opposing groups in a pattern similar to the mechanism of projective identification (Klein, 1946) that psychoanalysts see in individual patients, and typically in patients with borderline personality organization. While having a dialogue, representatives of one large group may externalize self- and object images and project onto the other their own wishes for how the opposing side should think, feel, or behave. The first team then identifies with the other that houses their externalizations and projections—this other is perceived as actually acting in accordance with the expectations of the former. In effect, one team becomes the “spokesperson” for the other team, and since this process takes place unconsciously, the first team actually believes their remarks about the enemy. However, the resulting “relationship” is not real since it is based on the processes of only one party. The psychoanalytically informed facilitating team interprets or interferes with the development of projective identification, since once it develops, the reality of perceptions is compromised.
 
During negotiations the facilitators should find non-controversial methods to examine openly the concept of a large group becoming like its enemy in order to conceptualize and realize opportunities for different responses, above and beyond destructive ones. The facilitators, instead of suggesting or “forcing” the enemy negotiators to ignore the threats to their large-group identities, should try to shrink the gap between the enemy groups, but not to remove it. After some empathic communication begins, the opposing teams often experience a rapprochement. But, this closeness is then followed by a sudden withdrawal from one another and then again by closeness. This pattern repeats numerous times. I liken this to the playing of an accordion—squeezing together and then pulling apart (Volkan, 1988, 2006a.). Initial distancing is a defensive maneuver to keep aggressive attitudes and feelings in check, since, if the opponents were to come together, they might harm one another—at least in fantasy—or in turn become targets of retaliation. When the negotiators of opposing large groups are confined together in one room sharing conscious efforts for peace, sometimes they must deny their aggressive feelings as they draw together in a kind of illusory union. When this becomes oppressive, it feels dangerous, and distancing occurs again. The most realistic discussions take place after the facilitating team has allowed the accordion to play for a while, until the squeezing and distancing become less extreme.
 
Practitioners of international “conflict resolution” may in fact do harm if they force the removal of identity differences between opposing large groups as swiftly as possible or focus on seeking“apologies” and encouraging “forgiveness” too hastily when dealing with coexistence. Concepts such as “apology” and “forgiveness” are only descriptive, and they should not, before adaptive solutions can be found, mask a need for shared psychological processes that respect the principles of large-group interactions and for resolutions of shared resistances (Volkan, 2006b.). Even after the unification of Germany, where the aim was not to develop a co-existence between East and West Germans, but to evolve an absorption between them, the political and social strategies built to accomplish this were only successful through step-by-step adaptation. Forgiveness and apology can take place after shared feelings of remorse, guilt, and depression evolve in a shared mourning process.
 
I will now examine how we can apply what a psychoanalyst learns from observing and handling the mending process of a borderline patient accompanied by guilt, depression or mourning to bringing together enemy large groups. Large groups are made of individuals; therefore, large-group processes reflect individual psychology. But a large group is not a living organism that has one brain.  Therefore, once members of a large group start utilizing the same mental mechanism, it establishes a life of its own and appears as a societal, and often a political, process. In this chapter I already referred a few times to “regression” of large groups.  I borrow the word “regression” from individual psychology since I have not yet found a good term that describes a large group’s “going back” to the earlier levels of its psychic development in defense of the shared anxiety caused by threats to large-group identity. First of all, it is difficult to imagine that large groups have their own psychic developments. The closest thing to the concept of a large group having a psychic development is the large group’s usually mythologized history and the story of how the large group was “born.”  In fact, when large groups regress, they reactivate certain, sometimes centuries-old, shared historical mental representations, which I named “chosen glories” and “chosen traumas” (Volkan, 1999a, 2004, 2006a.). They are linked to large-groups’ difficulty in mourning, shared guilt feelings and depression and they become activated when representatives of enemy large groups become involved in negotiations.
 
Large groups celebrate independence days or have ritualistic recollections of events and heroes whose mental representations include a shared feeling of success and triumph among large-group members. Such events and heroic persons attached to them are heavily mythologized over time. These mental representations become large-group amplifiers called chosen glories. Chosen glories are passed on to succeeding generations in parent/teacher-child interactions and through participation in ritualistic ceremonies recalling past successful events. Chosen glories link children of a large group with each other and with their large group, and the children experience increased self-esteem by being associated with such glories. It is not difficult to understand why parents and other important adults pass the mental representation of chosen glories to their children; this is a pleasurable activity. Past victories in battle and great accomplishments of a religious or political ideological nature frequently appear as chosen glories. In stressful situations political leaders reactivate the mental representation of chosen glories and heroes associated with them to bolster their large-group identity. A leader's reference to chosen glories excites followers simply by stimulating an already existing shared large-group amplifier. During the first Gulf War Saddam Hussein made many references to Sultan Saladin’s victories over the Crusaders even though Saladin was not an Arab, but a Kurd.
 
While no complicated psychological processes are involved when chosen glories increase collective self-esteem, the role of chosen traumas, in supporting large-group identity and its cohesiveness, is more complex. It is for this reason that a chosen trauma is a much stronger large-group amplifier than a chosen glory. A chosen trauma is the shared mental representation of an event in a large group’s history in which the group suffered catastrophic loss, humiliation, and helplessness at the hands of its enemies. When members of a victim group are unable to mourn such losses, tame their depressive feelings and reverse their humiliation and helplessness, they pass on to their offspring the images of their injured selves and the psychological tasks that need to be completed, such as reversing humiliation and helplessness and completing the work of mourning. This process is known as the “transgenerational transmission of trauma.” (For a review of the concept of transgenerational transmission and adults “depositing” their traumatized self- and object images into the developing self-representations of children, see: Volkan, Ast, and Greer, 2001.)  All such images and tasks contain references to the same historical event, and as decades pass, the mental representation of this event links all the individuals in the large group. Thus, the mental representation of the event emerges as a most significant large-group identity marker, a large-group amplifier.  Chosen traumas should be differentiated from shared traumas, like the Holocaust, which is still very “hot,” or acute traumas like those that are happening at the present time in Iraq and the Republic of Georgia for various large groups. The reactivation of chosen traumas can be used by the political leadership to promote new massive large-group movements, some of them deadly and malignant. In one prime example of this, I have documented the story of how Slobodan Milošević allowed and supported the reappearance of the Serbian chosen trauma—the mental representation of the June 28, 1389 Battle of Kosovo (Volkan, 1997).
 
The reactivation of chosen traumas fuels “entitlement ideologies.” Entitlement ideologies are also connected with the large group’s difficulty mourning losses, people, land, or prestige at the hands of an enemy in the name of large-group identity. Mourning is an obligatory human psychobiological response to a meaningful loss. When a loved one dies, the mourner has to go through predictable and definable phases. The individual mourning processes can be “infected” due to various causes (Volkan, 1981b, Volkan and Zintl, 1993) just as “infected” large-group mourning for losses caused by the actions of another large group will appear on societal/political levels. For example, a political ideology of “irredentism”—a shared sense of entitlement to recover what has been lost—may slowly emerge that reflects a complication in large-group mourning and an attempt both to deny losses and to recover them. What Greeks call the “Megali Idea” (“Great Idea”) is such a political ideology. Political ideologies of this kind may last for centuries and may disappear and reappear when historical circumstances change thereby influencing international relations. Diplomatic efforts then become very difficult to handle, because the reactivation of a chosen trauma with its accompanying entitlement ideology and associated affects, fantasies, wishes and defenses causes “time collapse.” This magnifies the image of the current enemies and current conflicts (Volkan and Itzkowitz, 1994). 
 
When enemy representatives come together for a series of dialogues the facilitators will notice that eventually chosen glories, chosen traumas with their associated feeling states, entitlement ideologies and time collapse will contaminate negotiations. The representatives will compete and try to illustrate whose chosen trauma—usually   associated with glories—is worse than the other’s.  The facilitator cannot order the negotiators to forget the past and focus on the present. Affects and ideas do not disappear because someone tells someone else to forget them. In a psychoanalytically informed negotiation process, the facilitators use strategies for absorbing feelings linked to reactivated chosen traumas and define how chosen traumas and glories are most significant markers of large-group identities. They become models for identification for emphatic understanding of the “other’s” difficulty in mourning. This leads to the appearance of “normal” mourning among the representatives of opposing groups for their losses—people, land, prestige—during the current conflict, the separation of past realistic and fantasized grievances from the current issues, and more realistic negotiations.
 
 
Diplomacy and psychoanalytic insights:
International relations primarily refer to interactions between political leaders such as presidents, ministers of foreign affairs or diplomats belonging to different nation states as they negotiate and decide upon, draft and sign, agreements between each other involving diplomatic, legal, economic, or even sports matters.  The negotiating parties will be perceived as allies or enemies according to existing “formal” agreements. Their relationships will also conform, if controversies do not develop, to “international rules and regulations” accepted by organizations such as the United Nations or the European Union. In today’s changing world, however, the term “international relations” includes much more. When there are wars or war-like situations or alliances between ethnic, religious or political ideological groups within one nation state or in different nation states, which are not accepted as legitimate entities, often legal international bodies are involved in their diplomatic negotiations. In today’s world there are world-wide terrorist groups whose activities, at least in the public mind, are categorized as an aspect of international relations.
 
The modern version of the concept of “globalization” has expanded what people in the street think about what international relations means. Globalization has become the buzzword in political as well as academic circles that, especially with the help of modern communication technologies, personifies a wish for prosperity and well-being of societies by standardizing economic and political elements and by bringing democratic freedom everywhere in the world.  The tragedy of September 11, 2001, and the Western World’s­­­—especially the United States’—response to it, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, war-like conditions in Africa and elsewhere and—as I write this chapter—the  September 2008 economic crisis in the Unites States that influenced the financial markets worldwide, make an idealized version of globalization an illusion. Globalization that includes prejudice, racism and an indifference to large-group differences (Kinnvall, 2004, Liu and Mills, 2006, Morton, 2005, Ratliff, 2004) never brings about the well-being of the affected societies.
 
We can also consider non-governmental organizations (NGOs), giant business corporations, the media and electronic communications as players in international relations. However one defines the concept of international relations and whatever one includes under this term, it always involves interactions between national, ethnic, religious or political ideological large groups composed of tens or hundreds of thousands or millions of persons. In the twenty-first century once more we are witnessing the amazing ability of the human mind to create incredible technological achievements, while the aggressive aspect of human nature remains the same and always complicates international relations.
 
When I think of official diplomacy, I remember W. Nathaniel Howell, the United States Ambassador in Kuwait when Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded that country, and the Resident-Diplomat at CSMHI. A tall man who played basketball in his youth, he compares good official diplomatic negotiation to playing basketball. The opposing teams rush from one side of the basketball court to the other using rules and regulations and try to score points. In the end, one team wins, but the other team also scores and achieves  some degree of self-esteem for being a good competitor. According to Ambassador Howell (2000), being involved in a well-managed and fair official diplomatic activity is as pleasurable as watching a well-played basketball game.
 
If an international conflict becomes “hot” or chronic, a large group’s psychological identity issues contaminate all the real-world problems such as the economy or legal  issues, as well as the official diplomatic efforts for resolving them. Expanding Ambassador Howell’s metaphor, let us imagine that someone spills a large amount of olive oil on the basketball court. Now the game becomes chaotic. The first thing required is to wipe off the oil spill and clean the floor. In an international relationship the oil spill that makes a routine play impossible primarily centers around large-group identity, its protection and maintenance. When large-group identity issues become inflamed and problematic, conducting international relations only through “typical” diplomatic efforts becomes very difficult and sometimes impossible. Utilizing psychoanalytically informed large-group psychology can be compared to cleaning up olive oil on a basketball court.
 
In order to understand this cleaning process, once more let us return to the concept of “therapeutic space” the maintenance of which, as described earlier, is required during the analysis of an individual. The Tree Model aims to create a therapeutic space in unofficial diplomacy. Diplomats attempt to create it in official diplomacy usually without the benefit of psychoanalytically informed large-group psychology. There is no definite technique for creating a therapeutic space in official diplomacy between warring enemy large groups where they can “play” a serious and deadly game while always killing the effigies rather than one another. It would be, of course, very difficult and perhaps impossible to establish such a place if enemy groups constantly invaded it with real bullets, missiles, torture, and live bombs—like suicide bombers. As Shapiro and Carr (2006) state, attempts to understand large groups are daunting. They may be “a defense against the experience of despair about the world, a grandiose effort to manage the unmanageable” (p.256). Furthermore, many obstacles have hindered collaboration between psychoanalysts and authorities dealing with international relations. Elsewhere I tried to examine in some detail these obstacles that come from both the diplomatic world and psychoanalysis itself (Volkan, 1999b., 2005).
 
In spite of the difficulties mentioned above I hope that psychoanalysts and psychoanalytically oriented clinicians will become involved in interdisciplinary initiatives, make efforts for large groups’ psychological well-being and provide information to the diplomats about large-group psychology. In this chapter I suggested that the insights learned from individual psychology and psychoanalytic techniques for helping individuals with borderline personality organization to mend their opposing self- and object images should not be blindly applied to large-group psychology, which must be studied in its own right.
 
 
Summary:
When the representatives of large-group enemies are brought together in unofficial or official diplomacy with a “neutral” facilitating team for finding peaceful co-existence, these representatives’ ability to hold on to their respective large-group identities may be threatened. This, in turn, may create severe large-group identity problems, complicate negotiations, and create stubborn resistances against making peace. The aim therefore, is not to mend, but only to narrow the psychological gap between the enemy large-group identities and to strengthen opposing representatives’ hold on their large-group identities so they can make more realistic agreements. Psychoanalysts and psychoanalytically oriented clinicians are best equipped to notice conscious and, more importantly, unconscious elements in large-group conflicts to which official diplomacy may not pay attention.  Such efforts include the development of a large-group psychology in its own right so that the meaning and influence of the abstract concept, large-group identity, can be better understood and so that we will have a theoretical foundation to suggest psychoanalytically informed strategies for finding peaceful answers for international conflicts.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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