Undoing the cycle of violence

Blumenthal, Stephen (2022) Undoing the cycle of violence. The Psychologist . ISSN 0952-8229

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Two presidents, two contrasting approaches to managing violence. There are lessons in this for all of us in how to deal with conflict. On the one hand, there is Joe Biden with his unscripted, incendiary remarks that Vladimir Putin ‘cannot remain in power’. On the other, Volodymyr Zelesnky, statesman-like in the face of severe provocation, asserting his nation’s resolve against the Russian behemoth, whilst refusing to be drawn in to rubbing Putin’s nose in his failures. Zelensky knows the two lessons that 30 years of working with violent states of mind has taught me – first, shame is intimately interwoven with perpetrating aggression and second, the worst way of ameliorating violence is to aggravate the offender’s sense of humiliation. Violence begets violence; the shamed becomes the shamer. In W.H. Auden’s immortal words from September 1, 1939, ‘Those to whom evil is done, Do evil in return.’

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Use Official URL above to read article.
Subjects: Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Behaviour Disorders
Department/People: Adult and Forensic Services
URI: https://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2152

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