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Psychoanalysis On and Off the Couch

Oct 30, 2022

"During the treatment they start to think about their family, they want to understand what really happened to their parents that made them such monsters towards their own children? They start to look for the origins of their family and the history of the family and they found transgenerational traumas from both sides - family members who were victims and family members who were persecutors. This is something on the personal level we have to live with all the time. When you can read the memoirs of different people you can also find both sides - the people who realize that in their family were the secrets connected with the fact that they were Jews and they had to hide their identity and until now they are afraid to speak openly about it. And the part of completely delayed history, like what happened to the properties of the family, how the family got this house after the Second World War."  


Episode Description: We begin with a conversation on the current status of the Polish Psychoanalytic Society. Edyta shares with us encouraging information on the recent increase in analytic candidates and the abundance of patients. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she describes the awakening of historical trauma from Poland's history of being invaded. We learn of the arrival of 7 million Ukrainian refugees into Poland with over 3 million staying. She feels that the spirit of reparation for past destructiveness has contributed to the considerable generosity that Poles have shown to those in need despite a history of cruelty between Poland and Ukraine. We discuss the presence in patients' minds of secretive pasts from World War II - that of victims and persecutors. She uses the image of the Dybbuk to characterize a common mysterious experience of being possessed by the ghosts of the dead. We conclude optimistically that perhaps we are seeing for this moment in Polish history an improved trajectory of human decency. 


Our Guest: Edyta Biernacka is a psychoanalyst, vice-president of the Polish Psychoanalytical Society, supervisor and training psychotherapist for Polish Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy Society, therapist and supervisor of Personality Disorders’ Treatment Ward in Psychiatric Babinski Clinic in Krakow where she works with adults in private practice.