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Article   |    
The Libidinal Cocoon: A Nurturing Retreat for the Families of Plane Crash Victims
James William Black, Jr.
Psychiatric Services 1987; doi:
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Southwestern Medical School of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

In 1985 the families of 137 passengers killed when a Delta Airlines jet crashed at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport stayed in a secluded hotel while waiting for the victims' bodies to be retrieved and identified. In this protected environment, which the author calls the "libidinal cocoon," the families received intensive nurturing from the author, a Dallas psychiatrist; a team of Red Cross nurses; hotel staff; airline representatives; clergy; and each other. The supportive environment allowed the families to regress safely and to satisfy the basic yearning, intensified in times of personal loss, for an idealized caretaker who will meet all one's needs. The author believes this kind of intervention may be useful in future disasters with massive casualties.

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