In this issue of our newsletter, we focused on the role of psychodynamically informed therapists in current sociopolitical conflicts. That is why we have chosen to review Otto Kernberg’s paper: Malignant Narcissism and Large Group Regression.” Psychoanalytic Quarterly 89(1):1-24, 2020.
This article gains in appropriateness by the minutes, as we see conflicts, natural catastrophes and new regimes come to exist all over the world. In the first section of the manuscript, Dr. Kernberg reviews the major contributions of Freud, Bion, Turquet and Volkan on group psychology, highlighting how, at all different levels of grouping, from individual to large groups, when regression develops and the normal social structure that assures the individual of his status in the society disappears, a search for a “second skin”, a second identity that returns individual security begins. In reviewing these masterful contributions.
Social instability and the defensive behaviours of large groups
Otto depicts how, during threats, groups adopt defensive behaviors similar to the paranoid-schizoid position described by Melanie Klein, splitting, denial, omnipotent control, projective identification. In the headline section of this newsletter, Oleksii references his attention and awareness to these feelings and phenomena as his own population goes through massive destruction during the war (Read the article).