Relational Treatment of Trauma: Stories of loss and hope, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Relational Treatment of Trauma

Stories of loss and hope, 1st Edition

By Toni Heineman


180 pages

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pub: 2015-08-03
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Relational Treatment of Trauma: Stories of loss and hope is the culmination of over 35 years of psychotherapy with children and adults, many of whom have suffered the effects of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. It addresses a gap in the literature on the treatment of trauma and chronic loss that are ubiquitous parts of life in foster care. While "trauma-informed care" has received considerable attention recently, there is little that focuses on the consequences of repeated, unexpected, and unexplained or unexplainable losses of caregivers. Relational Treatment of Trauma explores the ways in which those experiences arise in the therapeutic relationship and shows how to help clients build the trust necessary for establishing healthier, and more satisfying and hopeful relationships.

Toni Heineman introduces and reinforces the concept of the relationship as the most powerful agent of therapeutic change. She highlights the ways in which clinicians can build and sustain a relationship with clients whose experience of trauma can make them wary of trusting, illustrating this theme throughout the book with compelling case vignettes. 

The book is especially valuable for psychoanalysts, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and family therapists working with those who have suffered traumatic loss. It is essential reading for clinicians in the early part of their career, working with traumatized individuals for the first time.

Dr. Heineman has practiced in San Francisco for over 35 years, working with children, adults, and families. She is the founder and executive director of A Home Within. Dr. Heineman presents and publishes widely.


This beautifully written book manages to give words to the unspoken while honoring the importance of a clear theoretical framework. By successfully considering and integrating both the internal and the external world of the child , this book offers rich yet clear narratives which will hopefully inform caregivers, clinicians , other service providers and social systems involved in caring for children who often feel silenced and lost. The stories in this book are potentially sources for reflection, learning, growth and hope. Norka T. Malberg, PsyD, Yale Child Study Center

Remarkable for its clarity and accessibility, this volume provides a depth of understanding for all who treat multiply traumatized foster children and youth. Through the use of clinical vignettes, we are introduced to the lived experience of youngsters whose developmental processes are impacted by multiple losses, unimaginable trauma and lack of stability. Dr. Heineman explores the intermingling of complex external systems and equally complex internal developmental processes , deftly introducing us to a therapeutic process, which is informed by a sophisticated analytic sensibility and years of clinical experience. - Susan C. Warshaw, EdD,ABPP. Clinical Associate Professor, NYU Postdoctoral Program, Editor In Chief, Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy

Table of Contents

Introduction. Section One: Getting Started. A Home Within: A Network to Address the Emotional Needs of Foster Youth. Section Two: The Dynamics of Attachment and Trauma. Relationships Beget Relationships: The Value of Attachment Theory. How Can You Treat What You Cannot Speak? Four: Good Guys and Bad Guys. Section Three: Systemic Impingements. In Search of the Romantic Family. Weaving Without a Loom. Hunger Pangs. Section Four: Treatment in the Context of Scarcity and Loss. Disrupted Care and Disruptive Moods. Infant Parent Psychotherapy Minus One. Learning to Say Goodbye: The Deaths of Three Fathers. Section Five: Back to Basics. The Essence of Relationship-Based Therapy.


About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell (1983) to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.  

We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Lewis Aron and Adrienne Harris with the assistance of Associate Editors Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. He was committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts and he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and he promoted new voices across the generations.  

Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, extend and develop the tradition, as well as works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast it with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Child & Adolescent
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Couples & Family