Presented by M. Gerard Fromm, PhD
In January, 2002, an annual Group Relations Conference was held as it had been for many years, and one of its large-group events began ordinarily enough. But, four months after 9/11/2001, members could not stay in the room to do the work of that session. Even though the recent disaster was never mentioned, the group acted as though the public space had become “Ground Zero”, and they fled to their small groups. The “potential space”, the space for play, for a vitalizing sense that something could happen instantly became an unconscious certainty that disaster would happen. The seven or so people left in what felt like the debris spontaneously decided to study the effects of 9/11 on the conference – clearly taking up a piece of work on behalf of everyone: the work of studying how trauma had collapsed potential space. This presentation will examine this question through three case examples.