In this seminar Dr Sonja Gojman introduces social character theory and its theoretical origins to illustrate how the understanding of the social context of individuals in this case women, attained through social character interviews can enrich the comprehension of their attachment styles; how they approach their reproductive function and how this affects the development and emotional health of their children.
A socially rooted understanding of dynamic unconscious processes recognises that personal individual experiences are affected by the social institutions in which they are forged. The theory of social character, developed by Erich Fromm (Fromm, 1932, 1947) proposes that the individual's recognition of the significance of particular experiences is intimately linked to the material conditions in which they live and therefore as is explored here, individuals' character traits correspond to the social roles that they play.
The seminar then outlines the procedure used to assess an individual's character traits, focusing in particular on the Social Interpretative Questionnaire's 6 Scales for rating mothers’ unconscious attitudes towards their lives and towards their children. The scales were developed in Semsoac’s study of two groups of Mexican families from contrasting socioeconomic and cultural conditions, in which the character traits were found to correspond with the independently coded mother-infant attachment assessments.
It will be argued that the integration and systematical assessment of social character and of attachment relations can generate excellent information that can be used to encourage the development of more effective socially responsible health policies that favor children’s emotional development.
* Bibliography for the seminar is detailed below
About the Speaker
Sonia Gojman de Millán is a PhD in Psychology from the Psychology Faculty at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a Psychoanalyst trained at the Graduate studies division of the Medicine Faculty (UNAM). She was Secretary General of the International Federation of Psychoanalytic Societies (IFPS) 2000-2008 and an Executive Committee member 1996-2014. She is a Training, Supervising Analyst and faculty member at the Seminario de Sociopsicoanálisis A.C. (SEMSOAC). She is a certified Trainer by the University of California, Berkeley, on the Adult Attachment Interview: Training in English in San Diego, Berkeley, Washington D.C, Minneapolis, Sydney and Beijing. Training in Spanish in México City, Barcelona, Spain and Panama. She directs the Attachment and Social Character Research project of Mexican Urban and Indian dyads. She has been an active social character researcher in various community and inter-cultural participative action projects since 1974. She is Member of the Social Character International Network.
Dr. Gojman de Millán was formerly a clinical professor, faculty member and the head of the Social Psychology Department of the Psychology Faculty at the Mexican National University (UNAM). She has edited with Herreman and Sroufe: Gojman-de-Millan, S Herreman, Ch & Sroufe A.L. Eds. Attachment Across Clinical and Cultural Contexts. 2017 Routledge, Taylor and Francis, London and New York. (Translated to Spanish by Fondo de Cultura Económica (FCE) in Mexico, and coauthored in English in several books, including: In A Prophetic Analyst, Erich Fromm’s Contributions to Psychoanalysis, Cortina and Maccoby, Eds. Jason Aronson, 1996. Gojman Chapter 9, “The analyst as a person”, pp. 235-258, Millán Chapter 13, “The social dimensions of transference”, pp. 325-340 Washington D.C; In Attachment Theory and the Psychoanalytic Process Cortina and Marrone. Eds. Chapter 8: “Integrating Attachment and Social Character Approaches to Clinical Training. Case Studies from a Mexican Nahuatl Village”; Whurr Publisher LTD. London. UK. 2003, pp. 179-203; In Rainer Funk Ed. 2007, Tangible Memories, “Erich Fromm as a person: psychoanalyst, teacher supervisor”; In Clinical Applications of the Adult Attachment Interview Steele and Steele Eds., Chapter 12: “The AAI and its Contribution to a Therapeutic Intervention Project for Violent, Traumatized and Suicidal Cases”, The Guilford Press 2008, New York and London, pp. 297-319; And several articles in English, among them: Millán & Gojman: “The Legacy of Fromm in Mexico”, International Forum of Psychoanalysis. Taylor & Francis. Vol 9, 2000. Pp. 207-215. Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oxford Boston; Gojman and Millán: “Identity in the Asphalt Jungle. A Study of Mexican Youngsters Who Work in the Streets”. International Forum of Psychoanalysis Scandinavian University Press Vol 13 # 4. BrunnerRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Health Sciences. Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oxford Boston; Gojman, S., Millán, S., Carlson, E., Sánchez, G., Rodarte, A., & González, P., Hernández, G. 2012 “Intergenerational Relations of Attachment, A Research Synthesis of Urban/Rural Mexican Samples”. Attachment and Human Development 14 (6), pp 553-566); Gojman, S., Millán, S., Sanchez, G., González, P. Coautora con Salvador Millán, Guadalupe Sanchez, Patricia González y Angélica Rodarte. “Caregiving and Social Character. Towards a systematization of the clinical assessment of social character traits and their relation to mothers’ care giving quality in urban/rural Mexican samples”. Fromm Forum. International Erich Fromm Society (English Edition – ISBN 1437-1189), 17 / 2013, Tuebingen (Selbstverlag), pp. 35-46. In Gojman-de-Millan, S Herreman, Ch & Sroufe A.L. Eds. Attachment Across Clinical and Cultural Contexts. 2017 Routledge, UK. Gojman, S., Millán, S., González, P., & Sanchez, G. “Attachment research in urban and rural México. Clinical and social Implications” Chapter 4, Pages: 75-99.
Bowlby. J (1951) Maternal care and mental health. Geneve WHO.
Bowlby, J. (1988) A Secure Base. NY Basic Books.
Fromm, E. (1941) Escape from freedom. New York: Farrar & Rinehart.
Fromm, E. (1947). Man for himself: An inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics. Greenwich, CT: Faucet, New York, Rinehart and Co.
Fromm, E. (1962) Beyond the chains of illusion. My encounter with Marx and Freud. Simon & Schuster, New York.
Fromm, E. (1970) The Crisis of psychoanalysis, essays on Freud, Marx and social psychology, Holt, Reinhart& Winston Inc. NY.
Fromm E. (1984). The Working Class in Weimer Germany. A Psychological and Sociological Study. Ed by Bons. Harvard University Press. Cambridge Massachusetts, 1984.
Fromm, E. y Maccoby, M., (1996). Social Character in a Mexican Village Transactions Publishers. New Brunswick USA and London UK
Gojman S & Millan S, (2000) Attachment patterns and social character in a Nahuatl village. Socialization processes through social character interviews and videotaped attachment current methodology. Fromm Forum. International Erich Fromm Society. Germany.
Gojman S. Millán S. (2003) Integrating Attachment and Social Character Approaches to Clinical Training: Case Studies from a Mexican Nahuatl Village. In Cortina M & Marrone Attachment Theory and the Psychoanalytic Process, Whurr Publishers LtD, London, England & Philadelphia PA USA.
Gojman S & Millan S. (2004) Hidden meaning of an early loss. The common ground of attachment and social character assessments and their clinical applications. International Forum of Psychoanalysis, Vol 13, # 3, 2004. Taylor & Francis, BrunnerRoutledge, Health Sciences. DOI: 10.1080/08037037060410018471
Gojman S & Millan S. (2004) Identity in the Asphalt Jungle. A Study of Mexican youngsters who work in the streets. International Forum of Psychoanalysis, Vol 13, # 4, 2004. Taylor & Francis, BrunnerRoutledge, Health Sciences. Doi: 10.1080/08037060410000696.
Gojman, S., Millán, S., Sanchez, G., González, P. & Rodarte, A. (2013) Caregiving and Social Character. Towards a systematization of the clinical assessment of social character traits and their relation to mothers’ care giving quality in urban/rural Mexican samples. FrommForum. International Erich Fromm Society (English Edition – ISBN 1437-1189), 17 / 2013, Tuebingen (Selbstverlag), pp. 35-46.
Sroufe L.A., Egeland, B., E., Carlson & Collins, WA (2005) The Development of the person: The Minnesota Study of risk and adaptation from birth to adulthood. NY: Wilford Press.
Sroufe A & Waters, E. (1977), Attachment as an organizational construct. Child Development, 48, 1184-1199, Sroufe A & Wards J (1980), Seductive behavior of mothers of toddlers: Occurrence, correlation and Family Origins. Child Development, 51: 1223-1227.