Plenary Presentation:
Regine Scholz: Communication in Time of Social Conflict (60 min)

Abstract: The presentation is going to muse on several topics.

First: What is societal regression? The transference of the term regression from the realm of the individual to that of society is debatable as the society does not have a body, that gives us the direction of development. Instead, we deal with the value decisions, when we describe certain behaviors as ‘regressive.’

Second: Leaving aside these fundamental theoretical objections for a moment, psychoanalytically informed people usually have – when referring to societal regression – some kind of ‘natural’ understanding of what is talked about: violence, killing, rape, torture, hatred, sadism, dehumanization, humiliation and despair.

Third: On the societal level, these phenomena are group processes, though carried out/ lived through by a large number of persons – collective traumata – have to be lived personally.

These processes can be best understood from the perspective of large group dynamics. Therefore, this presentation explores the interrelation with large group identity processes and asks for the communicational mechanisms, that make enable the necessary split between us and them – the precondition of what follows. Examples of inflammatory speech, of branding, framing and of non-verbal gestures are given. The impact of the connected strong emotions is discussed and the psychological dynamics that drive the dangerous spiral described. The remaining question is: How to change it?

Bio: Regine Scholz, Dr. phil., studied psychology and sociology and holds a Ph.D. from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, where she wrote the thesis “Culture and Collective Trauma – a Group Analytic Perspective.” Dr. Scholz’s professional experience includes research on mediation at Ruhr University Bochum and in-house management trainings in an internationally operating oil company. Since 1987 she has worked in private practice as a group analyst and psychotherapist, specializing in the treatment of trauma. Dr. Scholz was a member of the Management Committee of the GAS International (GASI) and founding member of the German Society for Group Analysis and Group Psychotherapy (D3G). She is a supervisor and training analyst of D3G as well as a member of the training staff of the Munster Institute of Therapeutic and Applied Group Analysis. She is a member of the editorial board of the journal group analysis.

Her work includes papers and workshops at international conferences on topics related to collective trauma. As Chair of the International Development Committee of GASI she organized the first three International Summer Schools in Group Analysis, in Belgrade 2013, in Prague 2015 and 2016 in Athens. She also is the co-organizer of the meanwhile five conferences on the heritage of Auschwitz “Voices after Auschwitz.” A comprehensive list of Dr. Scholz’s publications on issues of large group theory and the influence of culture and collective trauma on unconscious processes is available on her personal website.