Renos K. Papadopoulos clearly and sensitively explores the experiences of people who reluctantly abandon their homes, searching for safer lives elsewhere, and provides a detailed guide to the complex experiences of involuntary dislocation.
Involuntary Dislocation: Home, Trauma, Resilience, and Adversity-Activated Development identifies involuntary dislocation as a distinct phenomenon, challenging existing assumptions and established positions, and explores its linguistic, historical and cultural contexts. Papadopoulos elaborates on key themes including home, identity, nostalgic disorientation, the victim, and trauma, providing an in-depth understanding of each contributing factor whilst emphasising the human experience throughout. The book concludes by articulating an approach to conceptualising and working with people who have experienced adversities engendered by involuntary dislocation, and with a reflection on the language of repair.
Involuntary Dislocation will be a compassionate and comprehensive guide for psychotherapists, clinical psychologists, counsellors, and other professionals working with people who have experienced displacement. It will also be important reading for anyone wishing to understand the psychosocial impact of extreme adversity.
"A sensitive and innovative elaboration of the complex experiences of trauma and dislocation, showing faith in human dignity and resilience!" - Arvo Pärt
"Climate change, global inequities, and continued political strife will force increasing numbers of people to flee their homes and struggle to rebuild their lives in new places. In this deeply insightful, critical and creative work, Renos Papadopoulos brings to bear his vast experience in working with refugees and others grappling with dislocation, migration and exile to illuminate their varied predicaments and paths to growth and well-being. In brilliant analyses, he lays bare the epistemological traps of current thinking about trauma and resilience and charts a radical new course. Rich with generative models and metaphors, the frameworks he develops offer powerful ways to understand and respond to the complexities of dislocation through a socially, culturally, and politically informed depth psychology that mobilizes our most human capacities for agency and poiesis." – Laurence J. Kirmayer, M.D., FRCPC, FCAHS. FRSC, James McGill Professor and Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University
"Renos K. Papadopoulos in his new book has written a brilliant analysis of the suffering and the healing associated with the violent loss of home. He offers us a new way of thinking on a much-neglected area in the fields of medicine, mental health and humanitarian aid. He is a master craftsman, building upon philosophy and science to create a new healing approach called ‘Synergic Therapeutic Complexity’. His therapeutic model is based upon the lifetime experience of a gifted clinician. His book is praised for expanding the trauma story by deeply listening to the poetical 'other voice’ of human suffering and adversity. A most important contribution to a major topic!" - Reichard F. Mollica, M.D. Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Director: Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma, USA
"Papadopoulos unpacks the seductively simple terms of contemporary psychiatric discourse. He exposes the ethical and methodological problems of psychiatry’s pretense to expert knowledge, and unmasks the shallowness of procedures whose claim is to repair the damaged minds of patients. Based on a historically grounded understanding of human wellbeing and a synergic vision of therapy, he acknowledges those who suffer of adversity as partners in a joint endeavor. Thus, rather than sorting patients into fixed identities, his book provides a passionate and erudite plea for a therapeutic poetics that reveals the richness of possibilities inherent in all human experience, including involuntary dislocation." - Professor José Brunner, Tel Aviv University, Israel
"A splendid achievement of decades of theoretical and clinical work on migration and involuntary dislocation. Renos Papadopoulos carefully expands our lexicon on this current problem, and his integrative multi-level approach gives innovative guidance to all psychosocial experts in this field." - Andreas Maercker, PhD, MD, Professor of Psychology and Chair, University of Zurich, Switzerland
"Though the need to humanise the refugee protection discourse is increasingly understood, the rigid taxonomy that informs the design of refugee support services, in both the statutory and voluntary sectors, systematically fails to acknowledge the subjectivity of the refugee experience. In doing so, the need to personalise the help we offer is often overlooked and the quality of the protection we provide is diminished. In this welcome book, Professor Papadopoulos posits an approach that is rooted in the singularity of the enforced exile experience and questions the efficacy of our utilitarian, one-size-fits-all, asylum system." - Maurice Wren, Chief Executive, Refugee Council, UK
"This is an important book. With a rare combination of unflinching academic rigour and great empathy, Renos Papadopoulos challenges the reader, and indeed, anyone interested in involuntary migration and its sequelae, to stop and think again. This rethinking helps to move us beyond old but unhelpful binaries such as victim/rescuer, and knower/known, leading in turn not just to a radical rethinking of the epistemic justice issues which trouble much work on forced migration but also, crucially, to a new way of caring through shared humanity and vulnerability. I encourage readers (including myself) to open themselves to the radical, and exceptionally generative critique that this book offers us." - Leslie Swartz, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
"This is a truly remarkable and timely book. We are in the middle of a pandemic, forced migration fuelling violence across the globe, and the rising suicide rate among youth is an alarming indicator of societal distress. Renos doesn’t avoid the places in human life where we meet tragedy and profound human suffering; on the contrary, he takes us right into the midst of it, but without being overwhelmed by the misery. His approach, deeply rooted in decades of working with those at the fringes of society, serves as a template for a creative and proactive response to dealing with traumatic experiences. This is exactly what we need in the helping professions, i.e. realistic hope driven by an evidence-based approach that goes well beyond empiricism." - Frank Röhricht, MD, FRCPsych, Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director, East London NHS Foundation Trust; Honorary Professor of Psychiatry, UK
"In the plethora of ideas about these very important and topical subjects, this book provides an original, refreshing and welcome contribution! A scholarly and poetic work of immense applicable value." - Professor Angela Abela PhD, Department of Family Studies, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malta, Malta
"This book brings together threads of ancient philosophy together with the author's expertise in psychotherapeutic practice, challenging notions such as the trauma discourse, victimisation, the meaning of home and of well-being. A highly provocative and rewarding contribution." - Professor Renee Hirschon, St Peter’s College, University of Oxford, UK
"This important volume is scholarly but accessible, situating ‘trauma’ in cultural, historical, and social context. Most importantly the volume addresses ‘trauma’ in a way highly focused on the therapeutic mission as a collaborative process, giving key insights to the nature of ‘being’ and its healing. It is a greatly enriching read, which is essential reading for those interested in these topics."- Devon E. Hinton, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School, USA
"In Involuntary Dislocation, Renos Papadopoulos offers readers an innovative framework for conceptualizing exile and involuntary dislocation from homelands. With a broad perspective that takes us back to Homer and Aristotle and forward to therapeutic interactions, Papadopoulos reimagines therapeutic work with displaced persons that neither pathologizes nor victimizes, but rather explores collaboratively what it is to long for a lost home and dare to build a new one." - Nancy Sherman, author, Afterwar and Stoic Wisdom: Ancient Lessons for Modern Resilience; Professor of Philosophy, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA
"This is a much-anticipated book that addresses the complexity of migration, refugees and exile from a wide perspective that encompasses both the traumatic aftermath of the process as well as the resilience and positive development. It will broaden the empathetic understanding and help all practitioners working with trauma survivors to step out of the clichés of victimization and engage with empowering and resilience building. The book will assist NGO’s and others working with individuals on the move to design psychosocial support interventions within a highly effective framework." - Dr Shahla Eltayeb, associate professor of Mental Health, Director, Ahfad Trauma Center, Sudan
"Finally, the book of a psychoanalyst that combines clinical work and systematic theoretical reflection with the commitment of a seasoned humanitarian worker. This is a well formulated rethinking of how to approach trauma. Connecting insights from psychoanalysis, philosophy and human sciences, the book explores the ability of affected individuals and groups to face suffering in order to reorient themselves and search for new meaning in a world frayed by political and psychic chaos, and where involuntary dislocation represents one of its most dramatic symptoms." - Professor Romano Màdera, University of Milano Bicocca, Italy
'This book explores masterly the depths of the essence of dislocation and trauma experiences. An indispensable aid for all working in this field." - Dr Meri Avetisyan, Manager, Office for Migration and Integration, Freiburg
"No one chooses to be a refugee. Professor Papadopoulos' book is a much-needed eye-opener on the involuntary condition of refugees and the spectrum of their adversity psychosocial responses. Understanding the different layers of their dislocation complexities is a must in a world that has largely dehumanized them." - Dalal Mawad, award-winning Lebanese journalist and senior producer with the Associated Press
"Renos Papadopoulos' book is a landmark legacy from a world's leading scholar and clinician, who has devoted his life to the theoretical understanding and practical intervention on the very challenging phenomena of human forced displacement. Its personal, scientific and applicable character provides an invaluable source for understanding the complexity involved in involuntary displacement. Based on an original and convincing epistemological framework and rooted in a deeply human perspective, this book must be read, pondered and studied." - Professor Stefano Carta, University of Cagliari, Italy
"I welcome this book that combines sound theorisation with high applicability!" - Rugiatu Turay. Former Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Sierra Leone
"Involuntary Dislocation describes a complex and pervasive condition that is, today, typically identified with refugee populations and collective trauma. Papadopoulos wants to untangle the condition’s experiential meanings and transformations, and to avoid the ‘epistemological traps’ that often distort scholarly accounts. The most pernicious traps are ones embedded in the unexamined presuppositions of the researchers’ language. Papadopoulos’ solution is a language and perspective faithful to the ‘nostalgic disorientation’ of involuntary dislocation." - Allan Young, PhD, author, The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University, Canada
"This volume draws inspiration from the wisdom of ancient Greek philosophy and mythology, contemporary science and the author's rich clinical experience. In a thoughtful way, it paves new avenues towards better and more comprehensive understanding of complexity of ‘refugeehood’, and of those being impacted by it. Highly innovative and very recommended."- Boris Droždek, MD, PhD, psychiatrist/psychotherapist, De Hemisfeer, Den Bosch, The Netherlands
"Renos’s book provides a unique framework to grasp and deal with the phenomena of trauma, resilience and 'involuntary dislocation'. Its breadth and scope, the variety of themes explored, and his courageous theorisation fundamentally provokes both thought and emotion. Any person working with refugees and trauma will treasure this book, as it provides an inspiring alternative to the traditional approaches, helping mental health workers become reflective, observant and introspective." - Ayten Zara, Assistant Professor, Bilgi University, Istanbul; Founding Director of World Human Relief
"Drawing upon a wealth of experience, in the academy and the field, Renos Papadopoulos offers us an innovative and brilliant approach to trauma and involuntary dislocation. This book has the potential for transforming the field and the lives of an ever-increasing number of suffering human beings." - John Behr, PhD; Regius Professor of Humanity, University of Aberdeen, UK
"This seminal work should be required reading for everyone working with displaced persons and adversity survivors. It develops our sensitivity to disentangle the narratives that we construct and within which we are defined, leading us to re-evaluate our understanding of what constitutes therapeutic support." - Assia Khashoggi, Psychotherapist and Counsellor, Co-founder of ACT Center, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
"The author proposes a fundamental shift in our understanding of involuntary dislocation: from the dominant approach of charitable and repairing help to victims, to relating with them through genuine empowering of their agency. This is congruent with spiritual perspectives that emphasise the healing of both the sufferers and those who help them." - Dr Boris S. Bratus, Lomonosov Moscow State University; Dean, Psychology Department, Russian Orthodox University of John the Evangelist, Russia
"In the age of migration and trauma, Renos Papadopoulos reminds us that we need original concepts and innovative practical tools for understanding the world and for healing the wounds of million people that leave their homes seeking refuge and a better life. His voice is full of authoritative knowledge and humanity, and this makes this unique book absolutely essential." - Antonello d’Elia M.D., Psychiatrist, Family Therapist, President of Psichiatria Democratica, Italy
"This book introduces a remarkable conceptual clarification of the key processes of involuntary dislocation and of suffering adversity that create new perspectives that can lead to formulating complex models of practical interventions not only for those who are displaced but also for all adversity survivors and with wider implications affecting our very understanding of what is psychotherapy." - Professor Emeritus Dr Ivan Ivic, University of Belgrade, Serbia
"Scientific revolutions are predicated on the formation of new paradigms. In this work Renos Papadopoulos takes us with him, as he constructs a fundamentally new way to understanding the human dimensions of forced migration. In developing an essentially "eudaimonic" epistemology, he provides a practical framework for mental health and humanitarian workers, academics, and researchers. The book will provide new opportunities for practitioners and researchers to adopt innovative approaches addressing the needs of people facing adversities from forced displacement." - Robert Schweitzer, Professor of Psychology, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
"This book explicates the very essence of psychotraumatology by providing bold and meaningful explorations, revisiting the ‘internal’ and ‘external’ manifestations of human experiences of adversity. It revises our mainstream concepts, reminding us of the archetypical trajectories of crucial phenomena such as those of trauma, home, victimisation and pathologization." - Dr Nino Makhashvili, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Business, Technology, and Education, Head of Mental Health Resource Center, Ilia State University Tbilisi, Georgia
"The issue of involuntary dislocation is an extremely sensitive subject and it requires an extremely sensitive treatment, and this is what this book provides, most competently, in a scholarly and yet highly accessible manner." - Khachatur Gasparyan, PhD, Chair, Medical Psychology Department, Yerevan State Medical University, Armenia
"Among the many contributions that Renos Papadopoulos makes in this book is providing a unique framework for understanding refugee trauma. He offers an approach to recognizing the therapeutic potential to working with displaced individuals and their families that lies beyond professional clinical interventions and is located in the myriad of interactions in the refugee’s social ecology and which can be described as ‘being therapeutic’." - Jack Saul, PhD, Licensed Psychologist; Director, International Trauma Studies Program; author, Collective Trauma, Collective Healing
"A book full of inspiration, wisdom and practical guidance! So many new concepts that capture the subtleties of phenomena, revealing previously unknown landscapes of these fields. What a eudaemonic reading!" - Nikos Gionakis, Psychologist, Director, Babel Day Centre for the Mental Health of Refugees and Migrants, Athens, Greece
"There is a Latin saying that translates to nothing about us without us. Involuntary Dislocation takes this saying to heart. Celebrating how people in adversity ‘articulate their own experiences using their own subtle expressions’, the book is a precious contribution for all those experiencing adversity. In the same vein as the classic Where There is No Doctor, this book speaks of how we can all engender and enjoy ‘therapeutic benefits’ in our ‘interactions and activities’. Filled with a toolbox worth of educational resources for mental health first aid, this is the book about and with people living through adversity. It teaches us how we all can appreciate the ‘public tragedy’ we and/or others may experience, while at the same time finding ourselves and our healing through respectful appreciation of the positive responses to adversity. In the same way that Frantz Fanon redefined our entire way of thinking about adversity and our experience of it, this book redefines our thinking around not only mental health but also forced migration, brilliantly re-conceptualised as ‘involuntary dislocation’. It turns our attention to the universal struggle to reconnect, renew, and seek enlightenment or radical transformation, and it offers concrete ways to support that struggle in the midst of the gravest of adversities. Many of this book’s readers will find solace in its pages, and in its widening of ‘perspectives and potentialities’. World-renowned psychoanalyst Renos Papadopoulos has given a gift in this book, parallel to his unflagging work around the world. And it comes, we may all agree, at a time when too often, ‘adversity strikes’.
This book redefines our thinking around not only mental health but also forced migration, brilliantly re-conceptualised as "involuntary dislocation". It turns our attention to the universal struggle to reconnect, renew, and seek enlightenment or radical transformation, and it offers concrete ways to support that struggle in the midst of the gravest of adversities." - Nadia Abu-Zahra, DPhil (Oxon), Associate Professor, Joint Chair in Women’s Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada
"An impressive critical intellectual exploration of the experience of involuntary displacement and therapeutic responses to trauma. The book offers an innovative framework to comprehend the complexity of trauma and the importance of collaborative therapeutic strategies to help activate and actualise victims’ strengths and resilience." –
Professor Emeritus Michael Humphrey, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Sydney.
"This book provides us with a new and highly sensitive compass to navigate through the adversity odysseys of modern life. Papadopoulos’ concept of Adversity-Activated Development in practice transforms suffering into opportunities for self-realization. I warmly commend this book to everyone looking for a safe home in our times of turbulence." –
Kazuyuki Hirao, MD PhD, Professor/Psychiatrist/Clinical Psychologist, Kyoto Bunkyo University.
"Migrants are usually approached either from cold and impersonal or from methodical and structured perspectives. This brilliant book challenges our epistemological positions with which we usually tend to look at the human phenomenon of migration; it is simply enlightening, giving us new positions, invite us to rethink our imperceptible biases. This book transcends the interventionist approach of the professional in psychology or related disciplines, inviting us to explore new vistas, including the involuntarily dislocated persons’ potentialities and their natural modes of resilience. It places on the reader's retina elements of greater clarity, e.g. how the social contexts that generate migration are incongruous with what is our most intimate reality of wellbeing – being at home!" –
Julio Aragón Durán, Institutional Social Responsibility Liaison Officer, Migration Authority, Costa Rica.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part I. 1. Epistemological Cycle 2. Involuntary Dislocation 3. Historical and Language Reflections 4. Public Tragedies and Polymorphous Helplessness Part II. 5. Home 6. Identity 7. Nostalgic Disorientation 8. The Victim 9. Trauma Part III. 10. Involuntary Dislocation Adversities Epilogue. Synergic Therapeutic Complexity and Being Therapeutic
About the Author:
Renos K. Papadopoulos, PhD., is Professor in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies and director of the Centre for Trauma, Asylum and Refugees at the University of Essex, UK. He is a practising clinical psychologist, family psychotherapist and Jungian psychoanalyst as well as trainer and supervisor. As consultant to numerous organisations he has been working with refugees, tortured persons and other survivors of political violence and disasters in many countries.