“You can’t choose these emotions… they simply jump up”: Ambiguities in Resilience-Building Interventions in Israel

Ariel Yankellevich*, Yehuda C. Goodman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Following the growing critique of the use of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in post-disaster interventions, a new type of intervention aimed at building resilience in the face of traumatic events has been making its first steps in the social field. Drawing on fieldwork of a resilience-building program for pre-clinical populations in Israel, we analyze the paradoxes and ambiguities entailed in three inter-related aspects of this therapeutic project: The proposed clinical ideology aimed at immunizing against traumas; the discursive and non-discursive practices used by the mental-health professionals; and, participants’ difficulties to inhabit the new resilient subject. These contradictions revolve around the injunction to rationally handle emotions in response to disruptive traumatic events. Hence, the attempt to separate between a sovereign rational subject and a post-traumatic subject is troubled in the face of experiences of trauma and social suffering. Furthermore, we demonstrate how these difficulties reconstitute unresolved tensions between mimetic and anti-mimetic tendencies that have been pervading the understanding of trauma in the therapeutic professions. Finally, we discuss how the construction of the resilient subject challenges the expanding bio-medical and neoliberal self-management paradigm in mental health.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)56-74
Number of pages19
JournalCulture, Medicine and Psychiatry
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Keywords

  • Israel
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Resilience
  • Self-management
  • Therapeutic interventions

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