Paul Valent

Paul Valent

MBBS, DPM, FRANZCP
Consultant liaison psychiatrist, psychotherapist, traumatologist,
Co-founder and past president Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies,
Writer.

Violence

Making Sense and Learning Lessons from the Port Arthur Killings. Australasian Psychiatry. 5: p 233-236

In 1996 a gunman killed 35 men, women, and children, and wounded 25 at the recreational area of Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia. The mind and motivations of the perpetrator are examined in some detail. Application to other perpetrators and some lessons from this atrocity are presented.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 1997 Categories:

Rampage killings. 2012.

What is behind the recent spate of rampage killings? Some common features in the minds of the perpetrators are examined. Steps to prevent such rampages are presented.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: Unpublished Categories:

Clinical Observations of Causers and Victims of Motor Vehicle Incidents: Brief Report

Motor vehicle incidents (MVI’ s) cause more death and injury than wars, acts of terrorism, and disasters put together. Their major cause is ‘human error’. The posttraumatic effects on victims of such errors have been well researched, but causers of such errors have not. The hypotheses of this study were that victims and causers of MVI’s could be clinically distinguished, and that such distinctions might be useful in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of MVI’s. The results indicated two victim and two causer categories. The victim group contained Post traumatic Stress and Vulnerable sub groups. The causer group contained Antisocial and Process ‘Neurotic’ sub groups. Examples are provided of each subgroup. Clinical distinctions between victims and causer groups and subgroups can help to understand the variety of post – MVI ‘comorbid’ symptoms, and help to achieve more sophisticated approaches to MVI diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2007 Categories: ,

Conceptualization of violence. International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Conference Washington

Violence is doubtlessly one of the scourges of humankind, yet, though we have many clues about it, it is hard to conceptualize and therefore eliminate.

The goal of this symposium is to further a meta-view of violence, from which its different dimensions, manifestations and perversities can be orientated, specified categorized and as it were diagnosed, and eventually, hopefully, find directions to be treated.

In order to do this, two new concepts derived from a view of traumatology will be introduced. They are (1) survival strategies and (2) their three dimensional (or triaxial ramifications. To preempt the thrust of this talk, I will suggest that while all survival strategies have their forms of violence, the maladaptive aspects of the survival strategies fight, flight, assertiveness and competition, have been and are especially virulent in human history, and are worth examining.

Survival strategies and their triaxial framework, are more fully described in my book, From Survival to Fulfillment; A Framework for the Life-Trauma Dialectic,
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: ISTSS Presentation Washington 22 Nov. 1998 Categories: , , , , , ,

Dynamics of atrocities from individuals to nations. Perpetrators Forum. Holocaust Centre Melbourne

It has been a long journey from being a Holocaust victim to holding the psychological profiles of top Nazis in my hand. As part of a forum, this paper examines some mental dynamics of ‘ordinary’ individual perpetrators in genocides to Nazi leaders including HItler. Lessons are drawn on the need to prevent early steps in the genocidal process.

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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 28th Oct 2012 Categories:

Interrupting Transgenerational Violence; Treatment of a Victim of Domestic Violence. International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Conference Washington

Domestic violence is often transmitted across the generations. The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate the pervasive effects of domestic violence across the generations. A film demonstrates the clinical case of a woman and her family. How transgenerational transmission of trauma can be interrupted is discussed.
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Film: [lightbox href=”http://youtu.be/uJl6Jkq5cfI”]Youtube Video[/lightbox]

Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 1998 Categories: ,

War

“Why War ?” revisited. Aust J Psychotherapy, 6:48-73.

“Why War? is at least as relevant a question today as when Einstein asked Freud to explain it in 1932. This paper re-examines the question. It looks a Freud’s approach to the problem over his lifetime, as well as at other psychoanalytic contributions. However, we need to go beyond psychoanalysis to learn clues about war. Such clues can be found in disciplines such as ethology, group psychology, and sociology.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: Aust J Psychotherapy, 6:48-73 - 1987 Categories:

Psychological attitudes and war. Social Alternatives 3:55-58

The horror of war, its destructiveness, suffering, degradation and futility may be denied, trivialised, and discounted. War can become a distasteful taboo subject. It is more productive to be aware of  war and its implications, and to acquire scientific knowledge about this phenomenon.  This approach provides the only hope for gaining power over our horror and fears, as a step in gaining some control over war itself.

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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 1982 Categories: ,

War: A psychoanalytic concern? Bull Aust Psychoanal Soc. 27-44 First presented at the Psychoanalytic Conference in Melbourne

Psychoanalytic conceptualisations of war are summarised. However, the psychoanalytic stance must be broadened and applied to observations of real conflicts. My own observations led me to believe that people respond from survival needs even if objectively they appear to be irrational. Knowledge of perceived survival needs and survival strategies that deal with them may be steps in elucidating the apparent madness of wars.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: March 1989 Categories: ,

ANZAC messages. (Unpublished) 2013

This piece contrasts patriotic and realistic views of the ANZAC story.

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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: April 2010 Categories:

War-roots in animals and early societies: Encyclopaedia of Trauma 2012

This piece explores how our tribal and animal heritage still reverberates in our expressions of violence and war to our present day.
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Publication Author: Charles R. Figley - Sage Publication Date: 2012 Categories:

Tribal Hostility

Tribal mentality, adaptive in our early evolutionary environment, lies latent in the circuitry of our subconscious baggage. It can be perversely tapped, fanned, and exploited by people ambitious for power. It thrives on myths of common ancestry, god-given missions, sacrifice and rewards in another life. It blurs part and whole, life and death, symbolic and real. It is visceral, emotional, and relies on right brain thinking. Hostility is total and universal.

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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2001 Categories: ,

The tragedy of tribalism in the modern world

Tribal type warfare as has been manifest in Ireland, the Balkans, Rwanda and the Middle East, stems from primitive fears belonging to our jungle pasts where outsiders were like predators ready to pounce. Tribal mentality shows xenophobic us-them, zero-sum, strongly ethnocentric thinking. Being chosen by God and fighting alongside one’s ancestors, the malevolent enemy has to be eliminated. Such thinking has no place in a global, multicultural society.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2000 Categories:

Wars in civilised societies: Encyclopaedia of Trauma 2012

This piece explores motivations for war in civilised societies. It looks at historical perspectives of war and historical approaches to understand its causation. Three agonistic survival strategies are presented as a way to understand three different types of motivations and their expressions in different types of war.
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Publication Author: Charles R. Figley - Sage Publication Date: 2012 Categories:

History and causes of wars

The history of wars from animals to humans and from primitive societies to the present day are summarised. Theories of wars are looked at. Three agonistic survival strategies – fight, goal achievement, and competition are put forward as vehicles for lethal aggression. What provokes these drives is examined. Provocations may range from severe environments to quite distant symbols of them. Aggression may range from individuals to nations.

See also my entries on War in The Encyclopedia of Trauma.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2012 Categories:

Wars for Symbols: Encyclopedia of Trauma

This paper examines radiations of aggressive biological drives into symbols. The symbols may be very far removed from objective dangers which made our forebears fight each other, but they hold the same valence as they did in the jungle. Wars for symbols may be highly irrational.
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Publication Author: Charles Figley. Sage. Publication Date: 2012 Categories:

Terrorism

War on America. The Age A feature p 6.

Lessons from other disasters can inform us as to how to deal with the 9/11 attacks and their consequences.

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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 18 Sept. 2001 Categories:

Anniversary of September the eleventh. (Unpublished)

The article examines the power of anniversaries. They can revive traumatic experiences, but they are also opportunities to put those experiences into perspective.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2002 Categories:

So why did they hate us? (Unpublished)

Immediately after 9/11, people asked in anguish, “Why do they hate us?” Two years later we know a lot more, though by no means everything, about each component of the question; that is, who ‘they’ were, who was ‘us’, the nature of the hatred, and why it was there.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2003 Categories: , ,

Through the prism of 9/11 (Unpublished)

When US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee that, “The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq’s pursuit of weapons of mass murder. We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new light – through the prism of our experience of 9/11,” he spelt out why the coalition of the willing suffered from a credibility gap. Not everyone viewed events through the same prism, and the prism itself could be hijacked for other scenarios.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 28th Oct 2012 Categories: , , ,

Bali: a wound we must probe. Herald Sun Op-Ed. p 18

The anniversary of the Bali terrorist bombing arouses intense emotions and intense defences among survivors. Both ways of dealing with the wound must be respected. Yet ‘tears of grief are like springs from the past that irrigate the future. When grief is covered up permanently, wounds do not weep but fester.’
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: Oct 9 2003 Categories:

New York on Kuta. (Unpublished)

Atrocity on our own feels different to those on others. Beyond the pain we need to ask why it was inflicted on us. Were we guilty? Did we ally ourselves against our interests? Much depends on how we see the perpetrators. They are not soldiers in a war, nor are they freedom fighters. They are most like criminal killer cults with megalomanic ideas. Which countries spawn such criminals and through what injustices requires explanation.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2002 Categories:

The tyranny of terrorism. (Unpublished)

The term terrorism is too wide. This article distinguished 4 types of terrorism that operate on 2 levels. War on terrorism must distinguish the terrorism to be fought if the goals are to be achieved. Thus as the ‘War on Terrorism’ unfolds with the war in Iraq, we might question what is this ‘terrorism’ that is being attacked, and why does it evoke such divergent responses.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2003 Categories: , , ,

What principles? (Unpublished)

In the wake of the September the 11th events there has been an amazing realignment of friends, foes, and principles. Osama bin Laden whom the US had earlier supported against the Russians became enemy number one, and the Russians who used to be enemy number one have become allies against bin Laden. Condemnation of Russia on the principle that it used state terrorism in Chechnya became irrelevant overnight. Up to the 10th of September, the US condemned on principle Israel targeting the organizers of terrorism. Suddenly it became national policy to get bin Laden dead or alive. Yet the principle as applied to Israel remained the same in the US view, as it curried Arab support. Principles waver according to current perceived survival needs.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2001 Categories:

Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Tampa; What have we learned in a year, or indeed, in 60 years? Eureka Street

What have we learned in a year, or indeed, in 60 years? Sixty years ago my parents and i crossed a border to escape genocide. I learned that people like I were illegals, queue jumpers, who should be jailed in severe circumstances. I love my new country of freedom. Why is it acting along the lines that resemble the first steps of a persecutory state?
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: September 2002 Categories:

Shame of Woomera. Herald Sun Op-Ed. p 21.

Incarceration of refugees from the very terrorists that we are fighting is illogical and cruel. Asylum seekers should be given asylum, not detention centres that lead them to be violent and suicidal.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 1 Feb 2002 Categories: ,

Letter to the Editor re Woomera, on behalf of Australasian society for Traumatic Stress Studies. The Australian. p.10

Letter from the Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies pleading that traumatised asylum seekers should not be traumatised further.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent, S McFarlane Publication Date: 27 Dec 2000 Categories:

Asylum seekers. Talk to The Royal Society of Tasmania

It has been said that one can learn a lot about a people from the way they handle their prisoners. To prisoners i want to add asylum seekers. Cases of abuse, including of children are described. Dehumanisation and demonisation, isolation, giving numbers to detainees, are recognised steps on the way to genocide. Handling of asylum seekers has corrupted warders and  the wider community. Steps must be taken to reverse this process.
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2003 Categories:

Inhumanity repeated. (Unpublished)

The treatment of asylum seekers in Woomera detention centre is a cameo rerun of Australia’s treatment of its aborigines. Current arguments and emotions link both events. Instead of a rerun of our traumatic history, we should learn from it for the benefit of all parties. .
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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2002 Categories:

No, not us. (Unpublished)

Yes, Australia has been officially named as abuser of human rights. Stories of children in detention that melt our hearts harden those of politicians. We need to look away in shame for what is enacted in our names. But we can stop traumatising children and retrieve our good name.

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Publication Author: Paul Valent Publication Date: 2004 Categories:

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