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  • תמונת הסופר/תדר' חני מן-שלוי

Contemporary Approaches to the Encapsulation and Dispersion of Trauma: Holocaust Trauma as a Barrier

עודכן: 24 במרץ 2021

פורסם ב:

Mann-Shalvi . H., Sehon, C. and Keogh, T. (2019). Contemporary Approaches to the Encapsulation and Dispersion of Trauma: Holocaust Trauma as a Barrier to Couple Intimacy. (2019). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 9(1):24-35

Hanni Mann-Shalvi, Ph.D., Caroline Sehon, M.D., FABP and Timothy Keogh, Ph.D.

This article describes a contemporary approach to dealing with the encapsulation and dispersion of transgenerational trauma. It focuses on how such trauma, when undigested, can create barriers to intimacy in a couple. The lead author and couple therapist not only describes her clinical approach, but provides a theoretical framework from which to view this type of trauma and the way in which it can impact on a couple relationship. The second and third authors provide individual and shared commentaries aimed at highlighting the applicability of couple therapy to psychoanalytic work with individuals. The authors conclude that experience working with couples enriches individual psychoanalytic work as a result of the focus on the “couple state of mind” this work affords.

The International Institute for Psychoanalytic Couple and Family Training in Israel and the International Psychotherapy Institute (IPI) in Washington: A Collaborative Training Effort

Working with children, adolescents, couples, and families presents a set of unique challenges and opportunities for the practising clinician. In Israel, we offer three years of advanced training applying object relations theory to couple and family work. Our students enrol in IPI’s certificate programme for psychoanalytic couple therapy, which requires six terms of foundational course work, three supervised clinical cases, attendance at two summer institutes, and a clinical presentation. Additionally, students must participate in their own psychotherapy or analysis at least twice weekly.

The programme provides further outreach through seminars and conferences at worldwide locations and institutional partnerships with other associations, such as The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships (TCCR) or the International Couple and Family Association.

The international video course

There is no doubt that the highlight of the programme is the international video course, chaired by David Scharff and Janine Wanlass. Hosted by IPI and co-sponsored by TCCR, it first began in 2009. Israelis and others living outside Israel may join the course via phone, Skype, or video link at select locations, or their own computers. At the right time (which can be early morning for one and evening for another), the television screen is divided to several squares. In every square a different group from another place in the world enters a virtual room; people from Washington, DC, Indianapolis, Long Island, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Panama, London, Tel-Aviv and more.

Groups of qualified students throughout the world see and listen to the two hour lecture, becoming involved in a lively discussion that transcends geographic boundaries. The course is taught by leading practitioners and theoreticians in psychoanalytic couple and family therapy, such as David Scharff, Jill Scharff, Christopher Clulow, Carl Bagnini, David Hewison, Norma Caruso, Christopher Vincent, Christel Buss-Twachtmann, Mary Morgan and myself. When clinical cases are presented, the presenter can be in one continent and the discussant in another.

Being able to study with such wide international community and with the leading theoreticians in the psychoanalytic couple field is an exciting and meaningful experience for us as Israelis. Living in a small country, the opportunity to find ourselves in an open space connected to the world is a very special experience that opens for us a new potential space which is transferred to the therapeutic sphere. In the summer, we meet face to face at the summer conferences. The feeling is of meeting known colleagues and sometime good friends with whom we spent time during the year.

The Israeli unit: ‘The Israeli unconscious – from the couple and the family perspective’

To make the programme more culturally applicable, another course was added for the Israeli students, ’The Israeli Unconscious’. I should explain its relevance. Israel is a very small country, with a population of 7.5 million people. Since its foundation in 1948, it has remained in a continuous state of war and conflict. This experience is absorbed into the conscious and unconscious layers of the Israeli personality from a very early age, through holidays and memorial days commemorated and celebrated in private and social circles, in the educational system and in the media. It shapes the conscious and unconscious inter-subjective and intra-subjective emotional dynamic. It influences all areas of life, including parenthood in general, and parenthood of boys especially, because of their future military draft. This anxiety penetrates couple relationships. Consequently, the emotional burden of the Holocaust is interwoven with the emotional weight of this later anxiety (Mann-Shalvi, 2006a, Mann-Shalvi, 2006b ). At the same time, and maybe because of it, ours is a vibrant society that sanctifies life and emphasises the joy of growth and development.

All of the above became entangled milestones in the self definition of the Israeli existence. I believe that it is most important for us, as Israeli psychoanalytic therapists, to be aware of the hidden emotional dynamic that evolves in Israel, to be able to identify its sometimes misleading paths into the personality and couple and family relationships, and to integrate it with psychoanalytic knowledge. The “Israeli Unconscious “course opens a potential space for touching those complex “heavy” issues from within, linking it to the clinic and literature, allowing a new symbolisation process to take place.

So what does the collaborative effort between Israel and IPI contribute? Our couple training programme in Israel addresses this unique Israeli experience while connecting us to the broader, international learning community. Together, we invest in furthering psychoanalytic thinking and treatment of couples around the world. Together, our students share their individual cultures and their common experiences in the challenges of couple work. This is an exciting professional and emotional experience that has potential for much further development.


Mann – Shalvi, H., (2006a). From the Ultrasound to the Draft - The influence of the knowledge that boys in Israel are being drafted at the age of eighteen, on the conscious and unconscious affective attitudes of the parents toward them, and the effects on the parents' relationship. Thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Submitted to the Senate of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Mann – Shalvi, H. (2006b) Germans and Israeli Jews: Hidden Emotional Dynamics. In: Psychoanalysis and the Prevention of Prejudice, Published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2006

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