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Roitman, Y. (2017). Intergenerational Transmission of Violence: Shattered Subjectivity and Relational Freedom. Psychoanal. Soc. Work, 24(2):144-162.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Social Work, 24(2):144-162

Intergenerational Transmission of Violence: Shattered Subjectivity and Relational Freedom

Yaakov Roitman

This article considers a relational perspective regarding the intergenerational transmission of the trauma of violence. The psychoanalytic literature suggests that parents often transmit the trauma of violence to their children in the form of projected nameless dread and unmentalized states that interfere with the children's emotional needs and support. The offspring absorbs the trauma, which manifests itself in the form of disorganized attachment and in turn leads to the development of a predisposition toward cocoon-like dissociative states. This study considers two clinical cases that examine the interpersonal dynamics of dissociative processes. The therapist's reverie about his ancestors' survival of depersonalizing violence and Winnicott's concept of the survival and the use of the object help the therapist find his or her identity and gain the relational freedom needed to overcome the dissociative state, thereby becoming an alive subject who is able to help the child patient.

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