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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Composting Anger: An Oasis of Calm Amidst the Camp

The author taught a class called 'Composting Anger' at the Occupy San Francisco camp site in 2011 as a response to concerns about violence, substance abuse and disturbed behavior that were weighing down the efforts of the occupiers. Hoping to help the Occupy Wall Street Movement to be sustainable, the author developed a psychoanalytically-oriented seminar for campers on site that addressed the participants in the camps difficulties with 'metabolizing' distress that could detract from its primary tasks. In an effort to 'rethink garbage, both internal and external', the author chose to use composting as a metaphor that teaches how to extract seeds of usefulness and turn the toxic elements into fertile opportunities for growth.