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From the Individual Unconscious through the Relational Unconscious to the Social Unconscious

Haim Weinberg


Group analytic conceptualization of the social unconscious preceded its time by emphasizing such intersubjective concepts as multiplicity, mutuality, and radical openness, long before intersubjective or relational writings were first published. We can conceptualize the intersubjective field as a co-creation of the psyche of the people involved in the interaction, meaning that it is not the simple result of the people’s unconscious but is a new co-unconscious belonging to neither participants.The relational unconscious conceptualization, to which I will refer in this presentation, suggests a reading of the unconscious and the way we understand it that is different from that of the regular individual Freudian one. We are not talking about specific contents located in a certain area, that exists a priori and that we help illuminating in therapy. We are talkingabout creating the unconscious and acquiring “knowledge” about it with the help of the other through conversation. Extrapolating from two people to a group or even society, this is the space of the social unconscious. Here is my group analytic definition of it: The social unconscious is the co-constructed shared unconscious of members of a certain social system such as community, society, nation, or culture.


social unconscious, group analysis, intersubjective/relational approaches

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