<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Asociatia Romana de Psihanaliza Legaturilor de Familie si Grup "Enrique Pichon Riviere"




”A new home”

Lucrare redactata si prezentata de Anca Munteanu si Claudiu Ganciu la conferinta din 14 - 16 octombrie 2011, Krakow, Poland Siblings. Rivalry and Envy - Coexistence and Concern.

limba romana limba romana

Violenta in povesti si desene animate


Migration literature is approached in terms of psychoanalytic from the perspective of intrapsychic trauma as an ego spliting that is subject to trauma (A. Eiguer, Migration et faux self, Perspectives recentes, 2007). More common are the social, educational perspectives, of which we mention - Daniel Calin and Francois Giraud. The phenomenon of migration is met and approached indirectly in clinical situations in which there are adaptation and suffering problems such as in Rosa Jaitin’s situations, groups of children located in another culture or immigrant families in France.

Our perspective is based on the following data - the situation of the Romanians living in another country, who have received analytical individual counseling of the clinical experience with migrant families that has been worked with for a short period in which they came for holidays in Romania, the clinical activity of the Psychoanalytic Family Therapy training group which have had cases of repatriation in an institutional environment. From these experiences we believe that migration can not be treated global and that there are different types of migration which require different approaches. Regardless of the approach, inherent we get to talk about identity and membership. And the most visible part is the differences between cultures. This is the framework that does not change regardless of the type of migration - identity, membership and cultural difference.
Francois Giraud and Marie - Rose Moro talk about parenting and migration. There is approached the confrontation of different models of becoming a parent. Collateral we can talk about different models of being a nephew / niece of a grandparent or great-grandfather of another culture. We have here an implicit cultural transmission that is found unconscious in the structure of family ties. To be reported to that parent of another culture involves an effort to differentiate yourself through identification. Over the years I met many patients who have such an identity. They are Romanians, coming from Romanian parents but relates to their Dutch, Polish or Greek grandfather as giving to the family a specific that diferrentiates it from other Romanian families.

The first type of migration is the transgenerational one. In this type of migration there is a previous generational migration in which an ancestor comes in the reference country (in our case Romania) establishes and set up a family, a new home for him and his descendants. It is a founding myth – the one who came from another culture, another language, home, habits. This founding myth allows reporting to a difference between forefather’s culture and the current one. This cultural difference being already there, but without providing either membership or identity for the subject, makes him unconscious willing to bear the differences and to have a potential of emigration. This potential would bring both identity and membership. And to achieve this it is also necessary an individual difficulty.  

Let's follow the image of a woman in the history of her family, a grandfather came to Romania to start a family. Although to an early age, the relationship with her grandfather was a reference for her. This is the crucible in which the migration potential is built. We can use here the concept of narcissistic contract proposed by Pierre Aulagnier and substantiated by Rene Kaes. Grandfather and granddaughter made ​​an unconscious alliance. The small child knows that there are other cultures that are different which allows her to withstand differences. As a consequence, the stranger is no longer perceived as an enemy, as a "strange" and different. The fact that there is a different member in the family makes the internal group of the child to set up according to this. Internal group is built after the original family (Enrique Pichon Riviere) and this internal group  leads, unconsciously, to joining or building the groups in which the subject enters. The internal group represents all the internalized relations that are suffering the action of defensive mechanisms and techniques and ends up being the unconscious fantasy content. "The Internal group would be the dramatic stage of unconscious fantasies that spring from internalized relationships, fantasies, representations of the real group." (E.Pichon-Riviere 1965-1966). In these situations the migration potential is the intersection between internal group and an external situation which may allow, in an appropriate framework, to materialize.

In this case, she discovers her own femininity and membership in the new country in Western Europe. Resumes the identity subject and starts an online (psychological) counseling seeking her own identity. Still she contacts me by email under the name of Ariana, name that refers directly to her German origin. She didn’t go to Western Europe because she had no way to support herself in her native country, but rationally brings ahead the theme of economic reason for leaving the homeland. To talk about realizing the potential of migration, it is also necessary another situation - one that directly impede the realization of the ideal in the native environment. In this case, the membership to a restrictive religion is noticed, which emphasizes the differences and maintains the tension. We can assume that this membership is also a transgenerational transmission.
We can talk about the potential of migration as a tension that allows experiencing cultural differences and membership as being tolerable.

2) When creating the new home is difficult we will see another type of migration, namely - the attack on the links and dependence. In this way, migration becomes a symptom. Regarding this, the interviews performed by one of the Psychoanalysis Links training group member were very interesting – psychoanalytic family therapy which has revealed the existence of a problematic  situation both psychic and of dependence in cases of repatriation of abused persons who came under the legal status of victims of human trafficking. In these situations the unfairness and the fact that there is a certain inability of the family, the fact that a person is found in these situations makes migration as trafficking to be at the limit. They are victims because it becomes the only way to save the family. Almost always these victims have an economic motivation in saving the family. And once saved, often end up back in a similar situation. It is the way of saving their family, of organizing the links between them. I think at this point that randomly and mostly legal treatment of this phenomenon would only increase the unconscious alliance between victims and aggressors encouraging transfer and retrieval of those economic states full of suffering that a person crosses. The only way possible to interfere, if in the first type of intervention was a form of individual psychotherapy / counseling to allow the construction of the new house, in the latter case it is necessary to have a family intervention with the purpose of weaving a group able to contain victims in their addiction of family and impossibility to detach from an adhesive connection, is through this huge loaded passive force that is "to become a victim."

How is an attack on the links? If we follow these two directions - the dependence one and the adhesive bond, we easily conclude their simultaneous existence. On the one hand a person is caught in the relation of "being dependent" and seeks to exemplify through the relationship of "to become dependent." This dependence appears as a mechanism in people who are addicted to gambling and in whom the satisfaction of the ideal family invested, their miraculously, saving role is the same. The hope of saving the family is the fantasy that accompanies this kind of migration. But fantasy is simultaneously prohibited. To save the family means to reveal the adhesive connection that already exists. To save himself implies the desire to achieve. The only possible option is denying his own desires and the ideal family.

The potential for migration in these cases is absent. The protagonists are put in the situation of not supporting the differences, not having an image of their own membership and identity. Often these processes are associated with adolescence specific movements. In these situations we talk about trauma.

3) The impossible migration. Through this phenomenon we refer to migration without generational foundation. It is a migration that seeks to solve an economic, political or social problem. As a general ongoing we talk about a person who goes into another culture and who fails to integrate. As a result he starts a campaign to bring his relatives, his acquaintances. The consequence of this is that it creates a community of the same language, same customs, same holidays, cuisine which is a cultural import. These communities are isolated and try to keep their national specificity. At the extreme, we talk about the migration of the Gypsy community and other communities of Arab, Asian, etc. The phenomenon is  also seen to Romanian ethnics trying to create a national community by bringing relatives. Basically, for these people migration never takes place and living is a place of suffering. Let’s notice a couple in this situation with an increased persecution living in the Romanian community in Spain. The couple skin seems very fragile, feeling of invasion was a powerful presence.
We may consider the following:

  • Migration process involves two moments that normally existing in the structure of each break up, divorce or separation. A relationship with an old object that is going to be left but not abandoned and a relationship with a new object to be invested but which can not play the same role as the precedent, but a similar function. The process occurs when the two moments overlap in the following sense - when the new object already exists and values ​​the potential of "leaving" the old one. This is the process that values ​​the potential of the narcissistic contract. An old object is left in order to invest in the new one. When this moments are separated and do not seem to exist simultaneously, the process of migration is one that attacks the family ties and places the individual in a risk area. In this case the person is placed in the new object and it feels this situation like an abuse.
  • Regardless of how the process occurs by default means investing in homeland. But what invests in homeland? Here we talk about membership. To belong to a family, a community or a language. Investing in homeland takes the form of membership which is affirmed or denied but regardless the individual’s position remains in this area. Membership is felt in the formula "to feel like home." We unconsciously talk about re-creating specific relationships of family ties in the new home. It is an economic approach because they are most convenient. The above case has led to marriage with a man with alcohol problems, which show relatively indifferent to her needs, as was the relationship with her father. The mother of another patient relived during the migration process a retreat in the known psychic area, assuming a position of mother fom his niece, giving up work to devote her growth. There are strong movements through which situations known from their own history are recreated in the new house. The new house has the same function as the old one but add value to date - the narcissistic contract.  

Maybe it makes sense to talk about what it means home. This home is an affect and not a location. It is a set of known affect who plays the role of a "landmark" for the way someone feels. It is a place of narcissistic repair,it is a stable and safe place, it is a place that values ​​the person in relation with family and previous investments. We could say that this "home" plays a barrier to the external world, between foreigners and the world of acquaintances. In fact we are talking about family ties. Home implies being in this family ties. When these links are activated by transfer home becomes new home. An example of this could be the free associations of the patients who saw their childhood homes in small details during psychoterapy. A curious patient saw the list of payments of maintenance of the block where I have my office. She told me that I have a debt to maintenance. Going forward with her speech we noticed together that she had looked at the number of her apartment and that apartment just happened to have a debt that she assigned it to me. This moment is specific for the way in which emigration works as a process. At this point we are talking about importing known relationships to build home as a trial.
However we can talk about other types of migration that appear to be atypical.

  • A patient’s brother went to Indonesia to escape the constraining parents' ideals and to avoid incest.
  • A patient who is preparing his emigration so that his wife can take advantage of the opportunity she has in her career and their two children receive a better education.
  • The first marriage of a patient with a Greek woman and stay in Greece a few years then return to his country.

These atypical cases seem to be built around an individual and not family issues. Although the topic discussed is about brotherhood relations it is not about the brotherhood, but about brother as an object relationship. In the second situation is brought the family theme as the ego ideal by which the person manages to impose as object the relationship with his family. How are these cases different of those mentioned? Because for the types that we had in mind was about family ties followed in their evolution over time. In these latter cases the individual issue is dominant and what is revealed is the fact that migration become an individual symptom which the subject go through to adapt and to manage to save himself.
Yet, the coordinates of transgenerational links are present here, too. The fact that the ideal comes to be shared by family, creates the foundation of a state of success. We could say that we are in a position to create the potential for migration as in the second case (ii). But this migration potential is the one that generates the potential to create the new home. And what is to follow is how we can keep in mind this migration potential. But can it be evaluated?
In this version we can see the person's ability to create a new home. The patient that I mentioned at the beginning is married with one child and tried various jobs. Without having a perfect fit, keeping and moving in this new home her own conflict, she remains at this level of impossible achievement for psychological reasons of her own ideals and of those generational that were not possible.
In the analysis of the potential migrant, a dominant role plays the generational history to evaluate a successful connection. Outside this framework, in the absence of what is experienced as different is difficult not to talk about trauma, about migration as a symptom of individual conflict resolution.
But how do we manage to find this migration potential. The fact that there was an individual migration history is not a form of identification of migration potential. Something more is necessary. The main method remains the counter transference one. Through the construction of free associative speech the patient builds to the therapist a generational picture. There are small details in the relationship between patient and therapist that allow construction of this image. Migration is clearly to the therapist to be built as such. A detail of the kind of "Ariana" mentioned above leads inevitably to the image of this detail.
Another essential counter transference moment is the one in which it is not built an image of abuse but a recovery of a given environment. The therapist feels the patient as being from there, the country of adoption and not being only for a temporary period of work. Generational history can not be a landmark in this way, but only the free associative construction of the patient that is perceived as being established, as having in construction a similar identity as the adoption one.
This does not cancel the patients’ conflict but builds the image that he has in the therapist’s fantasy. The analysis of analyst participation remains the main criterion for assessing the potential of migration.
We can say that what allows the analysis of a migration situation is the migration potential. This is built on the following coordinates:

  • Internal group as a tension of cultural differences endurance.
  • Belonging to a culture and to the difference between cultures. The person is at the crossroads of cultures and follows this situation as founding myth of the new "home."
  • Own identity is what is at stake of the permanent process and the one that asks the question - "Who am I in this group."


    • Benghozi Pierre – Violence dans les groupes, les familles, les institutions, Revue de Psychotherapie Psychanalytique de Groupe no 55, Eres, Toulouse
    • Benghozi Pierre (2007) – De generation en generation: quelle transmission? in Cahiers critiques de therapie familiale et de pratiques de reseaux, nr 38
    • Calin Daniel – Construction identitaire et sentiment d’appartenance
    • Eiguer Albert (2005) – Le faux-self du migrant in Difference culturelle et soufrances de l`identite, Dunod, Paris
    • Giraud Francois, Moro Marie-Rose (2002) – Parentalite et migrations, La Parentalite, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris
    • Jaitin Rosa (2006) – Clinique de l’inceste fraternel, Dunod, Paris
    • Kaes Rene (2005) – Malaise du monde moderne, difference culturelle et soufrance de l’identite in Difference culturelle et soufrances de l`identite, Dunod, Paris
    • Sinatra Francesco (2005) – La passion de l’exil: „au pays de l’autre” in Difference culturelle et soufrances de l`identite, Dunod, Paris