The Making of Destructive Leaders

The Making of Destructive Leaders – A developmental perspective on pathological narcissism and power

With Professor James Gilligan, Professor Joy Schaverien and Dr Felicity de Zulueta

Recorded Friday 31 July 2020

In a year of multiple crises in many Western democracies, from the Covid-19 pandemic to the uprisings against racism, to the unfolding economic disaster that is a product of austerity, many will be asking the question: what type of person is governing us? This question relates not simply to specific individuals, their political parties and ideologies but to the mental states of those who are supposed to be offering benign leadership.

 

TALK ON DEMAND

TO COME

Programme

00:00:00
Professor James Gilligan
The Trump Syndrome: Narcissistic Rage, Authoritarianism and Violence
In this talk James Gilligan will review data from Donald Trump’s personal biography, including his education in authoritarianism, sadism and humiliating people at the military academy to which his father sent him at the age of 13. His interest here will be not just in Trump himself, but rather, to use his story as an illustration, example and paradigm in a broader inquiry into several more general questions:
1) What types of personal life experiences and traumas are necessary, if not sufficient, to produce dangerous and psychopathic political leaders, or at least to have a significant influence on their development? 2) What psychodynamic and characterological patterns do these leaders exhibit and exemplify in their personal psychologies, as a result of those experiences? 3) What are the psychological characteristics and the socioeconomic and historical circumstances that predispose their fellow citizens to vote such leaders into power? And finally 4) What conditions do we need to create if we wish to reduce the frequency with which such individuals are produced and voted into power, to neutralize them once they are in power, and to remove them from power as quickly and non-violently as possible?

00:00:00
Discussion and Q&A

00:00:00
Professor Joy Schaverien
Boarding School Syndrome – Mothers and Other Lovers
In her book Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma of the “Privileged” Child Joy Schaverien identified a cluster of symptoms and behaviours, which she classified as “Boarding School Syndrome”. The premise is that children sent to boarding school at an early age suffer the sudden and irrevocable loss of their primary attachments. This constitutes a significant emotional trauma. The loss of the longed-for mother of early childhood may create a disorganized attachment pattern that continues to unconsciously distort adult relationships, leading to disconnection between an apparently confident public persona and the private person. Many of our political leaders suffered the trauma of early boarding and we will consider whether this history may be observed in the current performance in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

00:00:00
Discussion and Q&A

00:00:00
Dr Felicity de Zulueta
The Making of Destructive Leaders
Faced with a viral pandemic over which we have no control, we depend totally on our leaders to protect us from harm. Can we trust them? Figures indicate inordinately high levels of deaths in old peoples’ homes, amongst unprotected NHS staff and ethnic minorities of African or South Asian descent. Dr de Zulueta will show how our leaders’ minds, moulded by their traumatic boarding school experiences, make them highly suitable to govern according to the current ideology, which is “make money and to hell with the rest”. Recent ground-breaking research in neuroscience shows that our brains are wired to connect, challenging the current belief that human nature is self-seeking and competitive and providing us with the scientific tools to develop an alternative type of society that promotes environmental, social and psychological wellbeing.

00:00:00
Discussion and Q&A

00:00:00
Discussion with all speakers

00:00:00
End

Speakers

Professor James Gilligan

James Gilligan is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University.  From 1966 to 2000 he taught at the Harvard Medical School, where he became Director of the Institute of Law and Psychiatry and specialized in investigating the causes and prevention of violent behavior as director of mental health services for the Massachusetts prisons.  From 1999 to 2001 he was President of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy.  He is the author of Violence: Reflections on Our Deadliest Epidemic (1996), and Preventing Violence (2001).  His most recent book, Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others (2011), was named a “Book of the Year” by the Times Literary Supplement.  He was a co-author of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump (2016).  He has served as a consultant on violent crime and punishment to President Clinton, Tony Blair (when he was “Shadow” Home Secretary), Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Senior Law Lords of the House of Lords, the World Health Organization’s Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, (in the Hague), and the Committee on Negotiations and Conflict Resolution of the World Economic Forum. He has received annual and lifetime achievement awards from Physicians for Social Responsibility and other organizations devoted to treating violence as a problem in public health and preventive medicine.

Professor Joy Schaverien

Professor Joy Schaverien PhD is a Jungian Psychoanalyst, a Training Analyst of the Society of Analytical Psychology (London) with a private analytic and supervisory practice in the East Midlands (UK).    She teaches internationally and is a member of the International Association for Analytical Psychology and was formerly on the editorial board of the Journal of Analytical Psychology.  Her many books and articles focus on the links between art and psychoanalysis, the erotic transference and countertransference and extensively on topics related to long term legacy of the trauma caused by early boarding.  Her books on this topic include include: The Dying Patient in Psychotherapy: Erotic Transference and Boarding School Syndrome (a new edition of which was published in April 2020) and Boarding School Syndrome: The Psychological Trauma of the ‘Privileged” Child,(2015) which continues to be a Routledge and Amazon bestseller.

Dr Felicity de Zulueta

Dr Felicity de Zulueta is an Emeritus Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Traumatic Studies at Kings College London. She developed and headed both the Department of Psychotherapy at Charing Cross Hospital and the Traumatic Stress Service in the Maudsley Hospital which specialises in the treatment of people suffering from Complex Post Traumatic Stress disorder.

She has trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, systemic family therapy, group analysis, EMDR and Lifespan Integration. She has published papers on the subject of bilingualism and PTSD from an attachment perspective and is author of the book From Pain to Violence; the traumatic roots of destructiveness (Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd Edition, 2006). She works as a freelance consultant psychotherapist.

SCHEDULE

00:00:00
Professor James Gilligan
The Trump Syndrome: Narcissistic Rage, Authoritarianism and Violence

00:00:00
Discussion and Q&A

00:00:00
Professor Joy Schaverien
Boarding School Syndrome – Mothers and Other Lovers

00:00:00
Discussion and Q&A

00:00:00
Dr Felicity de Zulueta
The Making of Destructive Leaders

00:00:00
Discussion and Q&A

00:00:00
Discussion with all speakers

00:00:00
End

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