The analytic literature has heretofore been silent about the issues inherent in the nuclear threat. As a groundbreaking exploration of new psychological terrain, Psychoanalysis and the Nuclear Threat will function as a source book for what, it is hoped, will be the continuing effort of analysts and other mental health professionals to explore and engage in-depth nuclear issues.
This volume provides panoramic coverage of the dynamic and clinical considerations that follow from life in the nuclear age. Of special interest are chapters deling with the developmental consequences of the nuclear threat in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and those exploring the technical issues raised by the occurrence in analytic and psychotherapeutic hours of material related to the nuclear threat. Additional chapters bring a psychoanalytic perspective to bear on such issues as the need to have enemies; silence as the "real crime"; love, work, and survival in the nuclear age; the relationship of the nuclear threat to issues of "mourning and melancholia"; apocalyptic fantasies; the paranoid process; considerations of the possible impact of gender on the nuclear threat; and the application of psychoanalytic thinking to nuclear arms strategy. Finally, the volume includes the first case report in the English language - albeit a brief psychotherapy - involving the treatment of a Hiroshima survivor.
A noteworthy event in psychoanalytic publishing, Psychoanalysis and the Nuclear Threat betokens analytic engagement with the most pressing political and moral issue of our time, a cultivating of Freud's "soft voice of the intellect" in an area where it is desperately needed.
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"This remarkable collection of essays is essential and urgent reading for all those who have any therapeutic responsibilities. The nuclear threat is examined in relation to oneself and to those outside. One central and lasting result of reading these essays is of being left with the awareness that the response of helplessness is a private, intrapsychic state, and that to 'do nothing' cannot and must not be viewed as the real answer to a most dreadful possibility. The contributors very carefully discuss psychoanalysis and the nuclear threat clinically and within the context of one's social responsibility. They do not preach; instead they add dimension to our understanding that must be listened to. Whether in agreement or not with the views expressed in this important collection, professional colleagues, parents, policy makers, and young people should know the contents of this vital book."
- Moses Laufer, Chairman, International Psychoanalysts Against Nuclear Weapons
"At a time when the interest and concerns of the general population as well as of scientific groups center about the risk of nuclear warfare, the voices of psychoanalysts have been unusually quiet. Individual psychoanalysts may join with their colleagues of other scientific groups or as individual citizens, but the psychoanalytic literature has not addressed the issues involved from a psychoanalytic perspective. The work presented in this volume begins to fill this void. Psychoanalysis and the Nuclear Threat is an important contribution both to psychoanalysis itself and to the understanding of the nature of the nuclear threat as it is encountered in all clinical situations. It should be seriously considered by all psychoanalysts as well as others interested in what psychoanalysis can contribute to our understanding of the most serious social and political issues of our generation."
- Edward D. Joseph, M.D., Past President, International Psychoanalytic Association
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