Affiliated member of the WPA – World Psychiatric Association

Abstract Thomashoff, Hans-Otto; Sukhanova, Ekaterina; Kastrup, Marianne; Botbol, Michel

Roots of Aggression

Roots of aggression

By understanding the constantly interactive constructive process which leads to the creation of our brain structure the roots of human aggression and violence become evident.

This process starts long before birth and the traces of these earliest stages of subjective world creation can be recognized in different areas. Not only many cultural phenomena can be elucidated by integrating our knowledge of the interactivity of the brain-structure´s build-up, but also the creation of political systems can be understood as a result of psychological needs deriving from the brain´s functioning. A central aspect of the dynamics determining the evolution of political systems as well as of conflict is psychodynamic splitting, which is at the core of any violent conflict and radical ideology. Splitting in the adult psyche usually is linked to traumatic experiences which are stored in the subconscious and re-enacted later in life. Like any form of behaviour also trauma tends to be passed on from one generation to the next. As a result trauma can persist as a constant source of violence e.g. in highly traumatised parts of the world. In humans evolution has shifted from being mainly genetic to being mainly cultural (transmitted through conscious and subconscious knowledge) and thus can be actively shaped.

Thomashoff, Hans-Otto


Treatment of traumatized migrants: An issue of public health concern

From a social psychiatric perspective an important public health issue is the increasing number of migrants with a traumatic background requiring mental health services. In a European context, incentives should be encouraged that result in reducing inadequate access to services for this population.

On service level it is recommended to review refugee friendly institutions and experiences in Europe, serving as a role model for others. Further it is important to review e-mental health initiatives to overcome the shortage of resources as well as any health promotion activities, psycho-educational interventions, resilience and / or resource – oriented interventions.

There is also a need to evaluate treatment outcome of traumatized refugees cared for by the different kind of services offered. Despite the increasing focus on and need to provide documentation that services work, and that facilities provide the best and most efficient care, research related to this has made slow progress.

On the organizational level it is important to lobby at the national levels for more resources and better mental health services to the refugees and migrants But also in collaboration with other professional organizations of psychiatrists and mental health workers, service users and service providers lobby for the same issues.

Marianne C. Kastrup, MD, Ph D


Violence and Aggression: Transforming the Campus Climate

The demographic shifts in college and university populations in the late 20th century have resulted in behaviors and risk factors, such as substance abuse, more closely reflecting those of the society at large. In addition, the unprecedented importance of online social networks for the traditional student age bracket has made possible new digital forms of relational aggression. In North America, a series of often controversial and sometimes contradictory regulations have shifted a lot of burden on college campuses, which are badly equipped to substitute for the legal system in case of graver offences. Institutions of higher education face many structural challenges dealing with students who experience serious psychological concerns and may end up being either perpetrators or victims of violence and aggression.

The field of violence prevention could benefit from a multidisciplinary approach that would develop a more nuanced understanding of students’ social and sexual lives, as well as the psychosocial and cultural roots of campus violence and aggression. Many primary prevention methods focus on the individual or relationship level, but this needs to be supported by promoting shifts in behavior and cultural norms. This paper will discuss community-level strategies, involving students, faculty and staff, to foster a safe and inclusive campus environment.

Dr. Ekaterina Sukhanova


Between Radicality and Radicalization in Adolescence: Banality of breaking

The transition from Radicality to Radicalization is becoming in France a major public concern for which psychiatrists and psychologists have been frequently requested for advices and information. Based on the two years’ work of a Task Force on the relations between Radicalization and Psychiatry, implemented by the French Federation of Psychiatry from 2016 to 2018, this presentation will focus on the inflection points in the trajectory of radicalized adolescents.

Starting with the idea that radicality is a well-known characteristic of adolescents ‘engagements (more or less creative, more or less permanent, more or less positive) and that radicalization is defined as a more or less “progressive adhesion to a radical ideology legitimizing violence”, we will look into the transition between them from a psychological perspective (adopting the principles of dynamic psychopathology).

In this perspective, we will show that whereas radicality is a way to mentalize the adolescence’s separation individuation process, radicalization is a way to break it up in their psychological functioning, dismissing at the same time the otherness of the other and the use of mentalization to deal with it.

Recalling that, as Radicality, Radicalization is not an illness (or a sickness) but a Total Social Fact (Mauss), we will conclude that the psychopathological point of view can contribute to the understanding of these phenomena, if , in the Freudian tradition of The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, they are seen as a new way to deal with old banal issues related to adolescence’s psychological functioning.

Pr. Michel Botbol


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