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Recognizing the humanity of the victimizer: Clinical and social implications.

Howard, Sally
June 4, 2015

Source: (2013) International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology. 8:179–194

This article explores aspects of healing and recovery of the individual
and collective imagination following experiences of dehumanizing trauma.
Intergenerational cycles of violence and dehumanization in the lives of
both victim and victimizer perpetuate the loss of hope and connection,
and generate desperate measures to escape vulnerability. Recognition by
the victim of these cycles, as well as the victimizer’s human vulnerability,
may contribute to the development of coherent narratives and the recovery
of open, dialogic meaning systems following trauma. One clinical model
by Boszormenyi-Nagy (Boszormenyi-Nagy and Ulrich, 1981; Boszormenyi-
Nagy and Spark, 1984) and another by the Yale Psychiatric Institute Family
Study are described, each of which emphasizes narrative formation. A case
illustration is given, followed by application of these concepts to the wider
social context—specifically, in the theory of restorative justice and one
of its derivatives, the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. The article
concludes with a discussion of Lear’s notion of radical hope. (author’s abstract)


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