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Mander, G. (1999). The Absent Father and His Return: Echoes of War. Brit. J. Psychother., 16(1):16-26.

(1999). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 16(1):16-26

The Absent Father and His Return: Echoes of War

Gertrud Mander, Dr phil

The trauma of the past, the echoes of war - how do we become aware of these in our work with individuals who as children suffered the consequences of their parents' war experiences, and how do we conceptualize the damaging effects of the parents' emotional wounds inflicted on the second or third generation? Much work has been done with Holocaust victims and the second generation and there are revealing American studies of Vietnam War veterans. But it took 70 years and a work of fiction to remind us of the beginnings of therapeutic treatment for shell shock in World War I. On the basis of extensive clinical material this paper attempts to describe some pathogenic effects exerted by the transmission of war trauma from fathers to children, speculates about the legacy of this century's terrible war and wonders how we are dealing with this in our therapeutic work.

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