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Stob, V. Slade, A. Adnopoz, J. Woolston, J. (2020). The Family Cycle: Breaking the Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma through Mentalizing. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 19(3):255-270.

(2020). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 19(3):255-270

The Family Cycle: Breaking the Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma through Mentalizing

Victoria Stob, MA, LCSW, Arietta Slade, Ph.D., Jean Adnopoz, MPH and Joseph Woolston, M.D.

In recent years, attachment and mentalization theory have been used to guide and inform clinical work with complex, vulnerable adults and children, who struggle to make sense of their own experience or to understand and reflect upon the thoughts and feelings of others. Traumatized parents often have difficulty reflecting upon their children’s thoughts and feelings, at great cost to the child’s sense of trust and safety in the world. In this paper we describe the use of the Family Cycle a clinical activity designed to promote mentalizing in high-risk parents and children with histories of significant and often chronic developmental trauma – with parents whose children are enrolled in an intensive home visiting program aimed at avoiding psychiatric hospitalization. Our aim is to both help them make meaning of their own histories, and understand how these have, in turn, impacted their children. We first present the Family Cycle activity generally, and then use case material to describe its use with a parent in our program.

[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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