Mind zone: Therapists behind the front lines
The traumatic stress faced by soldiers creates many still largely unresolved dilemmas for the governments that send troops to fight. Jan Haaken’s compelling documentary, Mind Zone: Therapists Behind the Front Lines, meaningfully addresses several of them through the lens of one central question: “Can a combat zone be turned into a mind zone?” A mind zone is a zone where mental processing can occur. In contemporary theory (e.g. Fonagy et al, 2002), “mentalization” refers to the sense of having a mind, or, in other words, a perspective on reality that is one’s own. Through mentalization, trauma can be transformed from an overwhelming shock felt as a dead weight upon the self to something that can be thought, an event about which one comes to possess one’s own individual perspective. Effective psychotherapeutic treatment of wartime trauma, then, like all that of all trauma, depends on enabling the patient’s capacity to think for him or herself. However, when psychotherapy is paid for by...
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