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September 2020

“SOPHIA” GROUP  




The changes that began to take place in the mid-1980s changed the World to an unimaginable scale. That same World, although until then divided into two large blocs, the Western and the Eastern, had in itself a certain dialectics, a certain conflict, but as in a mature person, also a certain consistency and stability. The victory of neoconservative and neoliberal forces in the Western countries, primarily Great Britain and the United States of America in the early 1980s, created the conditions for market expansion, i.e. the new imperialism. Such pressure, under the guise of human freedoms, led to pressure on the USSR and began the disintegration of the Eastern Bloc and the countries of the Non-Aligned movement. Under this pressure, it began the strengthening of nationalism in various countries of the Eastern Bloc, which was at first best seen in Yugoslavia, and that eventually led to its final disintegration. The resulting bloody conflict killed and displaced many, and in most of those whose lives were stable before, it made a rift, and obstructed the mental space causing even more pain.

Peer group "Sophia" understands this process as a broken piece of pottery, parts of which must not be cast aside like a worn-out object, but in order to survive, must be healed by a process of "golden repair", similar to the Japanese art of "kintsukuroi". Mediums, or glue, that can be used for this "golden repair" are empathy and love, together with thinking and “dreaming” about individual and collective trauma, caused by disintegration of the common space and of the war. This can connect now seemingly incompatible parts back together again, and certainly not by creating a new Yugoslavia, but instead by maturing into a new network of communities capable of living side by side, although currently in a schism with each other.

By developing connections between members from different communities within peer group “Sophia” and thinking/dreaming about our patient’s traumatic experiences and about ourselves, we show and try to find “golden repair” both for our patients as well as for ourselves. One of our main goals is trying to build the bridges in the broader community. We are involved in the process of reflecting on broader society and people, who, on the one side have their own traumatic experiences of disintegration and war, and on the other are active, prominent and recognized individuals in their own professional fields as well as their communities. The relevance of our proposal for the psychoanalytic community is the hypothesis that prompts us to make our work known. In a world where pandemic and the economic crisis which will probably follow run the risk of producing many other areas of political crisis, these experiences (both the traumas of the Balkan wars, and the methods that peer group “Sophia” proposes) may help other people to face processes similar to former Yugoslavia, when the wall collapsed and the globalization swallowed wisdom and humanity of too many previous institutional traditions.

Dealing with trauma within the peer group, the processes of interchange between the group members establish new relationships between them, and subsequently between different communities. The trauma of disintegration forced us and pushed us to talk to each other in spite of our resistances, and in spite of “the sound of silence” in the group. The dynamics of the group for each of the members could not be as evident as it would be for the “outer view”. So the group chose to ask support of a supervisor and a consultant- someone, living outside and belonging to yet “an-other“ community. The outer view is the factor that raised the level of self-reflection and of the insight of the group and the group achieved greater cohesion and strength.

We want to apply these experiences to other groups and communities and it’s our endeavour to try to use the group “Sophia” as a prototype for linking people and communities with one another by means of “golden repair”.


Sophia Group
Anton Glasnović (Croatian Psychoanalytic Society)
Jovana Mladenović (Psychoanalytic Society of Serbia)
Maja Dobranić Posavec (Croatian Psychoanalytic Society)
Sabina Jahović (Belgrade Psychoanalytic Society)
Igor Okorn (Croatian Psychoanalytic Society)

Peer Group »Sophia« was formed by 5 colleagues from 4 different Republics of former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Slovenia). We are members and candidates from 3 different psychoanalytical societies- Croatian Psychoanalytic Society, Belgrade Psychoanalytic Society and Psychoanalytical Society of Serbia. We are 4 different nationalities and come from different cultural, religious and geographical societies- different communities.

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