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Richard, A. (2014). My Long Journey Home: How the Acadian Exile Shaped My Life as a Therapist. Psychoanal. Inq., 34(7):708-718.

(2014). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 34(7):708-718

My Long Journey Home: How the Acadian Exile Shaped My Life as a Therapist

Annette Richard, M.Ps.

Although attachment patterns and early relational interactions are very important in creating implicit and procedural memories, I contend, along with many authors (Gentile, 2010; Sucharov, 2012), that the historical, cultural, political, and social contexts give them meanings. Grounding myself in a relational systems theory of trauma and therapeutic healing (Brothers, 2008), I attempt to capture how a historic traumatic event in my ancestors’ lives, the Acadian Deportation, has shaped and affected my life and work as a therapist. Different themes and meanings—for example, submission and surrender (Ghent, 1990), autonomy and liberation, and restorative efforts in the aftermath of trauma that involve the reduction of complexity (Brothers, 2008)—will be revealed as part of the legacy of the historical traumatic exile and return of my Acadian ancestors. After briefly describing the tragic history of the Acadian people, I retrace my own initiatory, and never completed, journey back home as an Acadian woman therapist, through traumatic submission and its active counterpart, the impulse to dominate. A brief vignette from my work with a patient serves to illustrate how my Acadian heritage is still an active and conflictual process for me.

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