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Garofoli, S. (2016). Beyond Individual and Collective Trauma: Intergenerational Transmission, Psychoanalytic Treatment, and the Dynamics of Forgiveness by Clara Mucci Karnac Books, London, 2013; 312 pp; £2479. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(5):1448-1449.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(5):1448-1449

Beyond Individual and Collective Trauma: Intergenerational Transmission, Psychoanalytic Treatment, and the Dynamics of Forgiveness by Clara Mucci Karnac Books, London, 2013; 312 pp; £2479

Review by:
Stefano Garofoli, Ph.D.

The author, a former Professor of English Literature and now psychoanalyst and Professor in Psychology at the Chieti University, Italy, unites her Italian cultural and professional background with a training in the USA as a Fellow at the Personality Disorder Institute in White Plains, NY, directed by Professor Otto Kernberg. The author provides an ample and at the same time detailed perspective on the complex topic of trauma, of its intergenerational transmission, and of clinical perspectives regarding its treatment from a psychoanalytic standpoint.

As is well known, the topic of trauma and its effects on the individual's psyche is a classical theme in psychoanalytic clinical literature, which can be traced back to Freud himself. In the last 20 years, for a variety of reasons, both social and psychological (i.e. child abuse, environmental catastrophes etc.), it has received a renewed and increased interest which has broadened our clinical and theoretical knowledge on this topic. The current psychoanalytic literature on the topic has also witnessed a significant increase in depth and amplitude of our understanding of the pervasiveness of the effects of trauma in areas of the psyche not previously recognized as affected. Dr Mucci's book aptly fits in this context by adding something more, also thanks to her interdisciplinary scholarship which permeates the entire work and confers to it a peculiar location in this context.

The broad theoretical outlook considers both historic and contemporary positions on the topic, and is aptly intertwined with poignant historic testimonies from victims, which both enhance the readers’ understanding of the theory, and involve them emotionally in a remarkable journey.

Several psychodynamic concepts involved in the discussion are carefully and knowledgeably correlated to their neurophysiological counterparts, a remarkable and successful attempt at bridging the gap between two historically ‘competitive’ approaches to psychopathology.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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