Dr Estela Welldon
Dr Estela Welldon suggests the principle cause of violent crime is the need to express rage, helplessness and humiliation rooted in unconscious childhood memories of abusive experiences and domestic violence. When these experiences have been extreme, and there has been a lack of loving containment by an attachment figure, something powerful is held inside the psyche until it is released in adulthood through loss of control, often triggered by a repeated trauma. Although the violent act may appear irrational, in the context of the patient’s past experiences it may be very meaningful. The violent act, furthermore, provides a sense of agency, of being seen and experienced by others. The key to forensic psychotherapy is for the patient and therapist to uncover the unconscious meanings of the act, through language. Hopefully this will be aired before the ‘splash’ – the moment when the crime is committed – if that person has access to therapeutic help. By gaining an understanding of their own past experiences of rage, impotence and humiliation the patient may resolve the unconscious impulses underlying the crime. We see that in effective psychotherapy, talking and thinking replace the acting-out.
Video talk to camera – 26 mins
About the Speaker
Dr Estela V. Welldon MD DSc (Hon) FRC PSYCH is the Founder and Honorary Elected President for Life of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy; Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists; Honorary Doctor in Sciences Oxford Brookes University; Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy at Tavistock Portman NHS Clinics; Honorary member of the American Psychoanalytic Association for Psychoanalysis.