Large-group psychology and political conflicts: An introduction to the psychosocial work of vamik volkan

Authors: Volkan, V. and Richards, B.

Journal: Journal of Psychosocial Studies

Volume: 14

Issue: 1

Pages: 63-71

eISSN: 1478-6737

DOI: 10.1332/147867321X16098251892811


Professor Volkan responds to questions about the emergence and development of his work as a psychoanalytic consultant and mediator in inter-and intra-national conflict situations. He outlines the circumstances of its beginnings at the University of Virginia and its subsequent growth including the development of interventions based on the ‘Tree Model’. He emphasises the centrality to this informal diplomatic work of the concept of large-group identity, and refers to some of the elaborations of this, for example in the influential concepts of chosen trauma and chosen triumph. He discusses the relationship of this non-clinical application of psychoanalytic ideas to the clinically-based schools of psychoanalytic thought, considers the conditions which lend themselves to effective interventions, and the possibility for improved management of political conflicts.

Source: Scopus