Contagion in a hostel for asylum seekers and in a host country: perspective of analytical psychology, therapeutic application in the clinical case of a Syrian child

By Maria Giovanna Bianchi

The author presents the clinical case of a nine-year-old asylum seeker from Syria. She illustrates how the child was exposed to, and tried to resist, two contagious pathogens. One was the unelaborated emotions of all of the residents in the shelter for asylum seekers where he was living; the other was produced by the fear of “the foreign other” in the host country. The author suggests that Jungian analytic psychology is a valuable approach to the treatment of victims of human-rights violations. For one thing, the Jungian approach awards a crucial role to the dialogue between the conscious and unconscious, both individual and collective. Secondly, Jungian thought encompasses the collective unconscious and the collective shadow, where the seeds of the contagion easily take root and spread.

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