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Fogelman, E. (1988). Intergenerational Group Therapy: Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Offspring of Survivors. Psychoanal. Rev., 75(4):619-640.

(1988). Psychoanalytic Review, 75(4):619-640

Intergenerational Group Therapy: Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Offspring of Survivors

Eva Fogelman

Introduction

In recent years, Americans have shown renewed interest in ethnic identity, personal roots, and communal systems of support. A parallel development is the popularity of group treatment and “new group therapies” (Lieberman, 1977) which have specific criteria for membership, such as those for Vietnam veterans, overeaters, cancer patients, or widows. In this genre, one finds groups for Holocaust survivors and their offspring that have proliferated over the past ten years (Fogelman, 1978; Fogelman & Savran, 1979, 1980). To date, hundreds of such groups exist.

The desire of generations of Holocaust survivors to come together stems from feelings of isolation and previous lack of receptivity in the community to open discussions about the past. After liberation, survivors' attempts to tell the world of their pain and suffering were exacerbated not only by the survivor's own resistance to reliving painful memories, but also by the listeners' verbal and nonverbal responses.

Such barriers to understanding inhibit open discussion of feelings and afford little opportunity for perceptions, apprehensions, and pain to be aired.

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