Since we were placed next to the Amnesty International information stand, I made up a poster with this question Why Do We Torture? and a brief five-point explanation of the origin of torture in traumatization and mental dissociation. This served as a conversation piece with passersby about the global consequences of violence in childrearing and the major contribution of our field in understanding human violence in general. Most people have never heard of psychohistory, some mention the fictional Foundation Trilogy (1951-1953) by Isaac Asimov as sole reference, but all pay close attention when I state that humans are not violent by nature. Discussion begins and many confide their own problems as former victims or concerned caretakers.
One serious obstacle is the language barrier: the French generally don’t read English, the language in which most PH literature is written. These past years, I’ve made efforts to translate some PH concepts in French and to adapt them to a European audience, notably through our website Regard conscient (www.regardconscient.net). Readers of PEPS magazine are also familiar with psychohistory as my quarterly column regularly deals with PH notions in parenting. Books in French, such as Dr Ludwig Janus’s Introduction à la psychologie périnatale (2015), or my own Au nom du père, les années Bush et l’héritage de la violence educative (2014), do sell a bit. But visitors most often leave with a free copy of the many articles available on the stand.
This work was part of my wider effort to spread information on psychohistory and supportive parenting in the Francophone world. It should be noted that the general public is increasingly aware of the adverse influence of violence in education, as the Council of Europe moves towards a general ban of corporal punishment by its member states. The French government itself, which has been reluctant to adopt specific legislation on this matter, has just published a Parent’s book stating that “hitting a child has no educational value” (Le Figaro, 4/4/2016). The Minister of Women, Family and Childhood, Laurence Rossignol, will send this booklet promoting benevolent childrearing practices to all future parents.
Recently, I’ve also been active on Facebook, posting PH related material within various social groups, occasionally generating a good response by users. The French translation of an article on the psychological impact of C-sections, by Greek colleague Olga Gouni, was shared more than six thousand times (www.regardconscient.net/archi16/1603impactcesarienne.html). These good results are an encouragement to further inform and share, a common objective to which I’m honored to contribute. All the best from Europe! -
© M.A. Cotton 06.2016 / www.regardconscient.net
*Marc-André Cotton is a teacher, Geneva-based psychohistorian, and the IPA’s International Vice-President. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org