In recent years, therapists are increasingly concerned about the effects of trauma on our patients. Early childhood neglect, violence, sexual abuse, dissociation and PTSD: we recognized how these were troubling our patient. This allowed us to normalize their predicament, reduce their shame, and help them resolve their pain.
Recently, the trauma field is inquiring into another form of trauma: old wounds that children absorb from their forebears about the massive cultural traumas that these forebears endured. In families, these wounds are often untold memories. For therapists and patients alike, these untold stories can take shape in our personal, interpersonal, and our creative lives. They can cause us to live a life of self-sacrificing caregiving; they can also cause us to irrationally blame or attack the others in our lives.
Healing these wounds involves knowing the untold story, and understanding how we unconsciously repeat, and try to repair, that story. In this presentation we will focus on the way our bodies tell the story, or are used by others to tell that story. Through clinical and historical material, this presentation will link up to a prevailing theme in our contemporary culture: the relationship between power, sexual abuse, and the transmission of paralysis and silence. We will look at therapeutic strategies for repair for both victim and predator.
Dr. Sue Grand is faculty and supervisor at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis; faculty, the trauma program at the National Institute for Psychoanalysis; faculty, the Mitchell Center for Relational Psychoanalysis; visiting scholar at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California; and a fellow at the Institute for Psychology and The Other in Boston. She is an associate editor of Psychoanalytic Dialogues and of Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. She is the author of The Reproduction of Evil: A Clinical and Cultural Perspective and The Hero in the Mirror: From Fear to Fortitude. She is the co-editor of two books on the trans-generational transmission of trauma: The Wounds of History AND Trans-generational Transmission and the Other. She is also the co-editor of two forthcoming books on Relational Psychoanalysis: De-centering relational psychoanalysis AND De-idealizing Relational Psychoanalysis. She is in private practice in NYC and in Teaneck NJ.