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"At the Mind’s Limit: Can Psychoanalysis Treat the Effects of Political Violence, Torture, and Dehumanization? Reflections on the Analyst’s Dream"

Beatrice Patsalides Hofmann, Ph.D., Psychologist and Psychoanalyst at the Primo Levi Centre in Paris will be speaking about the following:

“At the mind’s limit”: Can psychoanalysis treat the effects of political violence, torture, and dehumanization? Reflections on the analyst’s dream

This presentation will outline some specific aspects of state-sponsored torture and the traumatic effects it can engender in the prisoner. Following the reflections of the Belgian resistance fighter and Auschwitz survivor Jean Améry on his torture experience by the Gestapo we will outline the design of modern torture techniques that are aimed precisely at what Améry suffered during the years ex post facto: Freud’s trauma as the experience of an “internal foreign body”, associated with the perversion of relational dynamics whereby the victim experiences the suffering and pain as self-inflicted. Via a brief analysis of some fragments of analytic work with a severely traumatized patient we will discuss ways in which the analyst’s position is challenged in the transference, with the analyst being inspired to make use of her unconscious processes to dream “for” the patient, when the patient is unable to find symbolic representations for the (as yet) unspeakable he has encountered.

Beatrice Patsalides Hofmann, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist at the Primo Levi Centre in Paris, Center for the rehabilitation of victims of political violence and torture. Dr. Patsalides Hofmann is in private practice in Paris. She is a member and training analyst at the Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis in Berkeley, California. She was clinical director at Survivors International, a center for rehabilitation of victims of political violence in San Francisco, clinical supervisor at UCSF-Mount Zion, California, and taught psychoanalysis at training institutes around the SF Bay Area. She is also a co-author of the UN-sponsored Istanbul Protocol: Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1999). Dr. Patsalides Hofmann has extensively taught, supervised and published in the fields of psychoanalysis and human rights, and provided trainings internationally, among other places at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. She is currently involved in a psychoanalytic training program for Ukrainian mental health practitioners in Lviv, sponsored by the Primo Levi Center in Paris.


  • Beatrice Patsalides Hofmann, PhD





Lectures and Seminars
May 202323Tuesday

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