History and healing

Discusses the relationship between history and the notions of curing, healing, and exorcising. The growing prestige of psychology and psychiatry after World War II influenced the self-perception and legitimation of professional history, leading to claims that historical analysis, by confronting societies with their past, parallels the healing effects of psychoanalysis, with history performing the role of collective psychotherapy. In the Netherlands, psychiatrists dominated attempts to come to terms with the events of World War II, especially the Holocaust, and psychoanalysis excluded other forms of commemoration. However, opinions differ about the value of psychology to historical understanding, with temporal distance seemingly a necessary condition for the practice of historical healing.