There is a growing appreciation that conflict and violence in many communities have their origins in a history of traumatic experiences. Why this link exists and how it comes about is still unclear. We have no unified psychology of traumatized communities, and little is known about how to address these traumatic origins collectively in these communities. This article proposes a psychodynamic model of collective trauma and a psychoanalytically informed approach to working with traumatized communities to address their issues of conflict and violence. It highlights the impact of collective trauma on the culture of a community, which is its collective mind. While the proposed model and approach have been informed by work with individuals and communities traumatized in a range of circumstances, this article focuses on the author’s experience with Aboriginals of the Central Deserts of Australia, highlighting the trauma of cultural dispossession and a model of cultural work to address that trauma.



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