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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships
Intergenerational Trauma
Recognising and healing cycles of ancestral pain

Monday evenings 4 November - 16 December 2013

Monday 4 November 2013
Dr Clara Mucci

An attachment perspective on intergenerational trauma
From early relational trauma to abuse and neglect, to massive social wounds such as war and genocide, the most recent psychoanalytic theories of trauma highlight the relevance of attachment on one side and intergenerational transmission of trauma on the other. In this presentation will consider how trauma might be conveyed from generation to generation through the attachment relationship, resulting in a distorted sense of self and other and a predictable script of victim and persecutor. In order to reduce the sense of hidden threat, reparatory connections first need to be established in the therapeutic relationship. These in turn, interrupt the chain of repetition of the traumatic identifications. Ultimately, creativity, social reconnection, and possibly forgiveness between self and other, can be envisioned and experienced.

Monday 11 November 2013
Gabrielle Rifkind

When the political process is traumatised by the experiences of past generations?
Trauma can be likened to an unhealed wound a rupturing of the skin a psychic state when it is difficult to think about the other . The pain of the traumatic wound reduces the capacity for empathy and increases the desire for retribution and to make the other side suffer. This state of mind is equally relevant to the individual as it is to the political process and can shape the climate for peacemaking. In these circumstances can a psychodynamic understanding of the ancestral suffering of the individuals both in the past and in the present make a contribution to the resolution of conflict? And can the understanding of human behavior be put together with realpolitiks and the smell of politics?

Monday 18 November 2013
Professor Franz Ruppert

Symbiotic trauma - the key concept to understanding how trauma gets transferred form one generation to the next
Experiences of trauma are overwhelming, life threatening and painful. They lead to splits in the human psyche by which these intolerable feelings are suppressed in a range of survival strategies. In the process of bonding it is impossible for a mother or father to avoid passing on something of their own traumatic experiences to their children. Even when parents try to hide and neglect their own traumas, their children will sense these due to an unbearable lack of safe emotional contact with their parents. This normally ends up in the children suffering from their own sort of trauma - "symbiotic trauma"- in which the child both suffers from and identifies with the split-off traumatised feelings of their parents. An understanding of symbiotic trauma is the therapeutic key to stop this ongoing process of transferring trauma from one generation to the next.

Monday 25 November 2013
Judit Szekacs-Weisz

Intergenerational trauma : The experience of emigration
When I arrived to London I was obviously interested in learning as much as one could about the world of "migrants" - facing the experience of emigration from within. Listening to the stories of people belonging to different generations in motion - both in our consulting rooms and our personal lives- served as introductory lectures into the fundamental aspects of changing context. Through these stories of great diversity one enters a territory which is not only multilingual but multidimensional: defined and shaped by history, politics, economy and socio-cultural transformations. Giving voice to these silent stories helped to go behind walls that traditional analysis could not always penetrate partly due to the fact that in many cases analysts and analysands have been struggling with the same untouchable issues.

Monday 2 December 2013
Dr Doris Brothers

A relational systems approach to intergenerational trauma
How does trauma get passed from one generation to the next? In this presentation, Dr. Brothers offers one possible explanation that is based on her concept of "traumatic attachments." The concept reflects her relational systems understanding of trauma as the destruction of the certainties that pattern psychological life. Arising out of the need to restore a sense of certainty about psychological survival, traumatic attachments tend to coalesce into patterns of relating so inflexible and resistant to change that they profoundly affect parent-child interactions over generations. In this presentation Dr. Brothers focuses on the traumatic attachments underlying the rigid dualisms at the heart of such relational phenomena as bullying and dichotomous gender. By way of illustration, she examines the extent to which Freud's life and thought reflect themes of bullying as a response to the traumatizing anti-Semitism that pervaded his family's history. She also presents a number of clinical examples.

Monday 16 December 2013
Maya Jacobs-Wallfisch and Helena Hargaden

The wounds of history in the consulting room
We will explore the implications and impact of trans-generational trauma, which is frequently 'inherited' unconsciously. For many, intergenerational trauma remains unconscious and unmetabolised until it begins to emerge through enactment. We begin with a presentation by Maya Jacobs-Wallfisch in which she explores both her subjective and professional experience of inherited trauma. Helena Hargaden will present a response to Maya's paper, drawing on her own experience, both personal and clinical. Key issues emerging from this will be highlighted by an experiential exercise in which participants will have an opportunity to identify their personal and clinical experiences. We will conclude with a discussion.


Whole series (self funded): £192
Whole series (organisationally funded): £290
Individual seminars: £40
CPD Hours

Certificates of Attendance for 2 hours will be provided at each event

5th Floor Lecture Theatre
Tavistock Centre
120 Belsize Lane

Registration: 19.00
Start: 19.30
End: 21.30

4 November 2013
11 November 2013
18 November 2013
25 November 2013
2 December 2013
16 December 2013