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Am J Psychoanal. 2009 Mar;69(1):62-71. doi: 10.1057/ajp.2008.42.

The Palestinian/Israeli Conflict: a geopolitical identity disorder.

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Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia, PA, USA.


In this paper, the author considers that the large-group dynamics in certain war-torn, hot spots throughout the world are symptoms of a "geopolitical identity disorder." He extrapolates from the model of the severely traumatized psyche in dissociative identity disorder in which there is so much intolerable emotion, destructive aggression and conflict that different selves with different identities develop which are unable to recognize how interdependent and related they actually are. In the most extreme cases, one dissociated self tries to kill off "the other" in order to gain exclusive control of the body and make it comply with his or her wishes and vision. In actuality, however, such an attempt is a dissociated suicide plan with lethal implications. This model is applied to the Palestinian/Israeli situation where there is a deadly battle over the land. A clinical vignette is offered to illustrate these ideas and offer possibilities for help.

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