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Bakó, T. Zana, K. (2018). The Vehicle of Transgenerational Trauma: The Transgenerational Atmosphere. Am. Imago, 75(2):271-285.

(2018). American Imago, 75(2):271-285

The Vehicle of Transgenerational Trauma: The Transgenerational Atmosphere

Tihamér Bakó, Ph.D. and Katalin Zana, M.D., Ph.D.

I The World of the Transgenerational Trauma and the Transmission Process

The transgenerational effect of massive collective trauma is well described in the literature. William G. Niederland (1968) used the term “survivor syndrome” for describing the phenomenon. Later Judith S. Kestenberg (1980) and Milton E. Jucovy (1992) reported their similar observations on, for example, the interlacing between generations and the child's identification with the parent's tragic life experience. Both authors described the therapeutic difficulties when working with children of Holocaust survivors: the ambivalent relational pattern and the operation of a strong resistance. Haydée Faimberg (1988) described the characteristics of transgenerational compression, or telescoping, such as the lacunae in transference and counter-transference and the mysteriously negative reaction to therapy. Most authors have emphasized the role of secrets and the lack of narrative in the symptomatology, together with presence of a sense of compunction and feeling of shame and the absence of mourning (see Mészáros, 1990; Szilágyi, Cserne, Pető, & Szőke, 1992; Winship & Knowles, 1996).

Certain authors highlight sociological and anthropological approaches to interpreting massive, humanly created trauma and its transmission, stressing that individual experience of such trauma cannot be understood without social context.

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