The Drive For Self-Assertion And The Reality Principle In A Patient With Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: The History of Giulia*


Life in a contaminated environment is often marked by a cumulative psychological trauma that exhibits a variety of social-environmental aspects. This is why I suggested a psychotherapeutic group intervention for the population of Casale Monferrato, a municipality in Northern Italy that is sadly renowned for asbestos-related events and the high mortality rate of its inhabitants. Groupality appears to show the point of contact between psyche and soma, while also promoting the birth of a more realistic approach to the various levels of suffering and their configuration. The multifamily approach seemed to be the most adequate to elaborate the feelings of rage and fear that are concurrent with the aerial contagion. In the “long wave” of group work we have learned to work with participants as well as with empty chairs, the ghosts of the dead: live traces in the mind. Whereas the mind recovers the possibility of entering into a dialogue with the feelings connected to the trauma, without bypassing them towards actions that are apparently more assertive of one’s sense of Ego, the will of conciliation can reactivate a thought that is oriented towards the plane of reality.

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Correspondence to Antonella Granieri.

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Address Correspondence to Antonella Granieri, D.Clin.Psy., Department of Psychology, Via Po 14, 10123 Torino (Italy); e-mail:

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Granieri, A. The Drive For Self-Assertion And The Reality Principle In A Patient With Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: The History of Giulia*. Am J Psychoanal 77, 285–294 (2017).

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  • collective trauma
  • contaminated site
  • multifamily group
  • conciliation
  • thinking