Cultural Crisis

Complex collective trauma and Sandplay therapy in the Bedouin population of Israel

Authored by: Bert Meltzer , Rokaya Marzouk Abu Rokayak , Yousef Alassad , Bar Meltzer

The Routledge International Handbook of Sandplay Therapy

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138101692
eBook ISBN: 9781315656748
Adobe ISBN: 9781317325970


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From Jung’s point of view, a symbol or an image is a product of the converging input of all the various layers of conscious and unconscious contents. From this view, an image not only reflects subjective unconscious, but also carries both the consciousness and unconsciousness of the collective. According to Jung (1934/1968), each individual exists between the collective consciousness and the collective unconscious, or objective psyche. From these various layers emerge the form, contents, and substance of images. The images are the expression of the tension and conflict within and between two or more of these layers, as well as of the psyche’s activity to transcend these conflicts. One of these layers of psyche is cultural consciousness, which concerns awareness of the history, myths, beliefs, expectations, norms, and roles of family, culture, community, and affiliations. Cultural consciousness is also about conveying the values, belief systems, expectations, and modes of adaptation and norms of behavior, life roles, and life scripts of the culture with which the member is affiliated. Political consciousness is a subcategory of the collective consciousness, which refers to the global village experience in which each individual carries the perspectives, attitudes, and prejudices of his family and community, regarding social issues and the structures that characterize the beliefs of the community. Parallel to the collective consciousness are the layers of the unconscious of the collective, in which the collective also holds attitudes and feelings that are disowned, denied, and unlived. There are prejudices and realities which are repressed on a collective level. It is at this cultural collective level that Bedouin Sandplay images function as a vehicle to represent, understand, and work through the conflicts of the traditional culture meeting the new modern demands for adjustment and adaptation.

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