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Connolly, A. (2011). Healing the Wounds of Our Fathers: Intergenerational Trauma, Memory, Symbolization and Narrative. J. Anal. Psychol., 56(5):607-626.

(2011). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 56(5):607-626

Healing the Wounds of Our Fathers: Intergenerational Trauma, Memory, Symbolization and Narrative

Angela Connolly

This paper explores the history of psychoanalytical approaches to intergenerational trauma, both from the Freudian and from the Jungian schools, and addresses the need when we speak of intergenerational or transmitted trauma to better define the nature and the different categories of trauma with particular reference to extreme and cumulative traumas such as those experienced by the survivors of the Nazi death camps and the Russian gulags.

Therapy with survivors and with their children requires a particular adaptation of analytical technique as what is at stake is not so much the analysis of the here and now of the transference and countertransference dynamics which indeed can in the early stages be counterproductive, but the capacity of the analyst to accept the reality of the trauma with all its devastating and mind-shattering emotions without losing the capacity to imagine and to play metaphorically with images, essential if the patient is to be able to create a space for representation.

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