About the Book

Blind Trust is the culmination of over three decades of profound immersion in the most pressing sociopolitical conflicts of our time, by the psychoanalyst with probably the most direct experience with such issues of any in the  world. The author applies his knowledge of depth psychology to the turbulent and destructive human experiences in the current cauldrons of the greatest unrest and disaster throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

   Drawing on his childhood as a Turk living in Cyprus during recurrent struggles with Cypriot Greeks, and currently from his unique position at the University of Virginia in the heart of Jeffersonian America, Volkan writes of activities of astonishing import, as he served as envoy, negotiator, and consultant, on commissions from the United Nations to the American Psychiatric, in trouble spots from Israel to Egypt, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Kuwait, both halves of post-War Berlin, and the Soviet Union. Illuminating the etiologic bases of war, revolution, massacres, and terror, as these have disturbed the world from ancient times to modern civilization, his voice speaks for the imperative of reason and the application of modern analytic knowledge for conflict resolution at the highest levels.

    Volkan’s subjects are large groups and their leaders. Windows into the lives of the Prophet Muhammad, Stalin, Milosevic, Osama Bin Laden, and David Koresh are interspersed with examinations of religion and fundamentalism and a sober study of suicide attackers. Volkan’s detailed and scholarly description of regressive movements in large-group identities, complemented by an equal attention to progressive and creative reparative forces, represents  a significant expansion of our understanding of group psychology.

About the Author

Vamık D. Volkan is an emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia. His thirty books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

“In these complex and worrying times, this study could not be more timely.”

Justice Richard Goldstone

Op-ed in Los Angeles Times


ISBN: 0-9728875-2-0/0-9728875-3-9  


SRP: $29.95/$19.95 (hardcover/paperback)

Page count: 368 pages

Trim size: 6 x 9

Pub date: April 2004

Ebook availability: Yes

Introduction: From the Couch to the Negotiating Table. The Seven Threads of Large-Group Identity. Regression: Plunging Back into a World of Fear and Desire. Rituals that Bind People Together. From Waco to the Bamian Valley. From the Bamian Valley to War in Iraq. “A Decisive Trifle.” Force of Narcissism. Leaders as Teachers. Albania: From Regression to Progression. Coda. Endnotes. Bibliography. Index.



Interview in Independent Weekly

Dr. Volkan and his concept of “chosen trauma” highlighted in the New York Times

Dr. Volkan in the Christian Science Monitor

Blind Trust is as entertaining as it is authoritative.”

Virginia Quarterly Review


Lord Alderdice names Blind Trust a “top five” book on psychology of terrorism

Article in The Hook