PODCAST EPISODE

A Psychoanalytic Consideration of Mass Murder - the Norway Experience with Dr. philos. Siri Erika Gullestad

Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Jun 27 2021 • 45 mins


"She [his mother] felt that his kicking was deliberate evil and she responded with wishes for an abortion. She also stopped breastfeeding because she felt that the sucking was so strong and aggressive that it was destroying her. Without the father as a triangulating object he had no one to contain this - every child needs a container of his aggression."

Episode Description: July 22, 2021 marks the 10-year anniversary of the murder of 77 individuals and the injuring of hundreds more by Anders Behring Breivik - the largest mass murder in Norway since World War II. This was a freely admitted act done under the guise of an extreme right-wing ideology of 'saving Europe.' We discuss the role of psychoanalytic hypothesizing in such cases given that "In psychoanalysis, the validity of an interpretation lies in the dialogue with the patient..." We consider the relative importance of individual psychopathology vs cultural ideology with special attention to what leads such an individual to cross over from imagination to action. On the cultural side, it is noted that we face a challenge in recognizing both the value of opening one's culture to new influences and also honoring the mores and history of one's traditions.

Our Guest: Dr. Philos Siri Erika Gullestad is professor emeritus of clinical psychology, University of Oslo, and Training and Supervising Analyst, IPA. She is former Head of the Department of Psychology and former President of the Norwegian Psychoanalytic Association. Dr. Gullestad is the author of many articles and books in psychoanalysis. Her most recent book, with Bjørn Killingmo, is Theory and practice of psychoanalytic therapy. Listening for the subtext. Routledge, 2020. Dr. Gullestad was awarded the Sigourney Prize 2019.