A Psychoanalytic discussion of populism
with Leon Hoffman, M.D.
and Coline Covington, Ph.D.
OCTOBER 24, 2017
The Marianne & Nicholas
The presenters will discuss the political and sociological dynamics of populism from a psychoanalytic perspective. They will stress the group’s sense of vulnerability and fear and the powerful role the populist leader plays for the group within this psychological state. A charismatic leader is chosen who promises to make the group powerful, perverting the truth by promoting “alt-facts” which fit into the fantasy life of the leader and group. Two approaches to psychoanalytically understanding are discussed: (1) understanding how vulnerable groups attempt to deal with traumatic experiences by utilizing maladaptive defense mechanisms, such as denial and projection, in order to protect themselves from unbearable negative emotions and (2) understanding that when a large group’s survival and identity are under threat, individual mindfulness is dissolved in the service of defending against the experience of loss and trying to restore a sense of potency within the group.
New York Psychoanalytic
Society & Institute
247 East 82nd Street
(between 2nd and 3rd Ave)
2 CME / CE credits offered
$20 General Admission
$10 Student Admission (non-NYPSI)
Bibliographical and External Links
- Coline Covington Ph.D., is a Training Analyst of the Society of Analytical Psychology and the British Psychotherapy Foundation and former Chair of the British Psychoanalytic Council. She is a Fellow of International Dialogue Initiative (IDI), a think tank formed by Prof. Vamik Volkan, Lord Alderdice and Dr. Robi Friedman to apply psychoanalytic concepts in understanding political conflict. She has written extensively on psychoanalysis and society, most recently Everyday Evils: A Psychoanalytic View of Evil and Morality (Routledge, 2016).
- Photo courtesy | Joanna Goodman Ph.D., is an artist, photographer and a Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst at the Seattle Psychoanalytic Society where she on the faculty. She treats adults and children in private practice in Seattle.
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