WHAT: Antioch University Seattle hosted a day-long Guantanamo Teach-In on October 5. Antioch was one of 300 universities to participate in the nationwide teach-in on issues related to detainees at Guantanamo Bay and U.S. practices that involve detention and torture. The national teach-in began as a project of the Seton Hall Law School, which hosted a simulcast teach-in to the participating colleges and universities. A Noise Room was set up on Antioch's campus that featured video feeds from the national event, as well as a book display and take-action materials. "What Torture Means to 'Us' and What Torture Means to 'Them,'" were the topics of the keynote speech capping the day's activities.

WHO: The keynote speaker, John Van Eenwyk, is founder of the International Trauma Treatment Program in Olympia, and one of the premiere psychotherapists who work with those affected by torture. Van Eenwyk is also a clinical instructor at the University of Washington School of Medicine and an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. He has lectured and counseled in places such as Gaza, Palestine, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Switzerland.

LISTEN: The archived audio file of the keynote presentation by John Van Eenwyk is available to download or to listen online.

Comment: The linked page includes download of a talk given in Oct 2006 by speaker Dr. John Van Eenwyk, a Jungian psychologist, clinical psychotherapist and Episcopal priest, founder of the International Trauma Treatment Program, who works with those affected by torture. It has an intriguing discussion of psychopathy, and theories on the effect of torture on the personality. Delivery is lighthearted with much irony. We haven't transcribed all of it, but here are just a few very rough quotes from the talk, and from the Q&A session afterwards, to give a taste of it:

"Who tortures? Curiously enough, a very small group of people who are essentially empowered by their culture to protect them, a very small group of those people are what psychologically, we would diagnose as psychopaths. Now we call it anti-socal personality disorder on the DSM4 now, because really psychology cannot begin to cope with these kinds of people. They are set apart from the culture as a whole. Their interest is essentially power, they want to be able to have power over everyone else, including their colleagues. They are loners, and they are so frightening that thay are automatically assigned the role of protecting the citizenry."

"Torture destroys the torturer, unless of course they are psychopathic, in which case they just go on to the next venue, I mean this is their job. ... Noriega's torturer was an Israeli, he just moved on to the next country. These people are so fierce, any country will employ them to protect you and me."

"The International Trauma Treatment Program in Olympia can no longer do the work they have been doing because the medical practitioners can't get visas from Homeland Security anymore, even though they are simply medical practitioners... Whether we can do this kind of thing in the US anymore is an open question."

"The psychopathic personality disorders in our government have decided that to protect us they need to do it. My psychological analysis, at a distance, and this is totally irresponsible and total speculation, I could lose my license for malpractice [laughter], but the people in government are so isolated from everyday life they are terrifed, they are the marks of everyone. The opposite party is watching every move they make. They are paranoid as all get out, they are employing these techinques on their own behalf, because they don't know what it's like to live in the world anymore."

"How do torture survivors differ from PTSD survivors? There is something going on far more than PTSD. Most torture survivors share the big 3 of PTSD: hypervigilance, flashbacks, and hyper-arousal, or the need to be absolutely occupied every moment, as a kind of avoidance. What I also find in torture survivors is, and I'm going out on a limb, this again is that irresponsible speculation that psychologists aren't supposed to do so I'll do it as a regular citizen. The primary personality checks out, we sometimes refer it to this as dissociation, and another personality takes over that is congruent with the torturer, sets itself up in opposition to the torturer, and it becomes a power struggle. The torturer is in a struggle with an aspect of the personality (of the victim) that is unconscious, irrational, and hugely powerful and wins, even if they destroy the victim."

"Another phenomenon that's very weird, from the religious and symbolic perspective, all transformation takes place through suffering. And essentially some people who are being tortured suffer so much that they are being transformed, literally transformed into another personality that is not even connected to what the torturer is doing. In an alchemical sense the torturer is projecting into the victim their own need for transformation. They go berserk, and see what is happening in the victim, what they need to happen to them, ... at that point their soul is destroyed ... "

"What is PTDS and what is torture? A lot of people come out of the torture situation pretty intact, they seem okay. A number of examples are holocaust survivors. ... What we have learned to do is look at the children of holocause survivors. My personal anecdotal experience was that children of holocause survivors who were meeting together in groups, they could not sustain relationships. What it boiled down to was that, in their parents who were holocaust survivors, there were aspects of functioning that were missing. They never got mad. They had no idea how to deal with anger, or with despair. ...a kind of supplanting of the regular personality, to some degree the person isn't home anymore."

mp3 player podcastMP3 Podcast
Listen to the keynote talk given by John Van Eenwyk 29 min. long Download the mp3 file & listen to it on your MP3 player
(Right click & select "Save Target As" on a PC, or "Save Link As" on a Mac) - 5.1MB download)
Listen to the Question & Answer
56 min. long Download the mp3 file & listen to it on your MP3 player
(Right click & select "Save Target As" on a PC, or "Save Link As" on a Mac) - 9.6MB download)

FOR MORE INFOMATION: Contact Daniel Masler at dmasler@antiochseattle.edu