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O'Brien, J.D. (2006). September 11 Trauma and Human Bonds. Edited by Susan W. Coates, Jane Rosenthal and Daniel S. Schechter, The Analytic Press, Hillside NJ, 2003, pp. 293, $49.95. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 34(3):550-552.

(2006). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 34(3):550-552

September 11 Trauma and Human Bonds. Edited by Susan W. Coates, Jane Rosenthal and Daniel S. Schechter, The Analytic Press, Hillside NJ, 2003, pp. 293, $49.95

Review by:
Jon D. O'Brien, M.D.

The book is a multidisciplinary volume that focuses on the World Trade Center attack and tries to put the psychological consequences of that event into a context to help clinicians understand the variety of human responses to trauma as they appear in day to day clinical work. The subject is quite complex and is looked at through a variety of perspectives—clinical research on trauma, developmental psychopathology, interpersonal psychobiology, epidemiology, and social policy.

In her introduction, Coates talks about new understandings of trauma in its relational and attachment contexts. Drawing upon Gilkerson, she gives a very good discussion of trauma and its effects on the person. She immediately talks about trauma in terms of the interpersonal field and relates it to attachment theory. She proceeds in discussing trauma as reaching past the individual and affecting the next generation. Human relationships can be the antidote for trauma or a vehicle for transmission of trauma. Trauma, when it is severe and early, can lead to profound relational difficulties. This volume seeks to help us understand the complexity of the relationship between human bonds and trauma. The book looks at clinical experience with trauma as it emerges in the relational field between patient and therapist. It includes the contributions of developmental psychopathology and interpersonal psychobiology to the field. She discusses the issue that many of the authors were impacted by 9/11 as were the patients and that the book was a means of dealing with the impact for the authors.

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