Trauma, Shame, and Secret Making: Being a Family Without a Narrative, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Trauma, Shame, and Secret Making

Being a Family Without a Narrative, 1st Edition

By Francis Joseph Harrington


190 pages

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Hardback: 9781138231177
pub: 2017-09-07
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315278216
pub: 2017-09-11
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Trauma, Shame, and Secret Making provides a descriptive, qualitative inquiry into a family’s unsuccessful attempts across generations to repress the memories of an early life trauma. Broad in its scope, Trauma, Shame, and Secret Making explores more than one hundred years in the life of a single family, offering students and professionals invaluable insight into the consequences of prolonged narrative suppression in the social life of people. The book models a converging interdisciplinary approach to inquiry across specializations spanning traumatology, family therapy, psychology, psychiatry and social work. The model is consistent with an evolving paradigm of medical, public health and social service practice based on biopsychosocial evaluation of all patients.


"Francis Joseph Harrington has written an insightful account of his inward journey to understand the ways in which what is unseen and unspoken within a family system profoundly shapes the lives of its members. What sets this book apart is the author’s candid self-honesty and the way in which he combines research in the social sciences, personal experience, and family history to discover how his life has been influenced in surprising ways. His understanding of the role of ‘abulia’ in trauma is creative as well as intriguing. This is a must read for clinicians and students in the social sciences."

Martin Helldorfer, DMin, MA, MS, author of Healing with Heart: Inspirations for Healthcare Professionals, the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year 2008 (leadership and management)

"Harrington gives us the courageous telling of his story as participant-observer of three generations of trauma lived out in his own family. This compelling and scholarly narrative brings to life the evolution of trauma literature from its foundations in the early work of physicians, psychologists, anthropologists and philosophers to the present-day work in the areas of epigenetics and neuro-imaging. It is a must read for clinicians and public policy experts seeking deeper understanding of trauma’s role in mental and behavioral illnesses and answers to the epidemic of intergenerational trauma."

Colette Horn, PhD, licensed psychologist, Courtland Psychological Services, Maryland

Table of Contents

Introduction: One Hundred and Thirty Years in a Family’s Life Period I (1876 – 1913): When Men of Science Listened to a Woman’s Terror 1: Pierre Janet’s Inquiry into Hysteria 2: The Straw and the Camel’s Back: Rose (1876 – 1942) 3: Disclosures of a Participant Observer Period II (1914 – 1945): When Men of War Listened to Each Other 4: Abram Kardiner’s Inquiry into the Traumatic Neuroses of War 5: Rose and Her Children: Aileen (1910 – 1983) and Leonard (1914 – 1971) 6: Dreams of a Participant Observer Period III (1946 – 1979): When We Listened to Post-War Families and Their Children 7: The Inquiries of John Sigal and Salvador Minuchin Chapter 8: Aileen and her Children – Joseph (1948) and Mary Anne (1951 – 2007) 9: Abulia and the Moment of Truth for the Participant Observer Period IV (1980 – 1999): When We Named Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 10: The Inquiries of Judith Herman and Bessel van der Kolk 11: A Fourth Generation - Kat (1987) and Dimitri (1988) 12: Children and the Participant Observer Period V (2000 and Beyond): When Research Went Where We Had Not Dared Go 13: Michael Meaney, Eric Nestler, Michael Skinner and Epigenetics Chapter 14: Death by Entanglement 15: The Pitfall of the Participant Observer Part VI: From Mini-Inquiry to Mega-Investigation 16: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study 17: If Rose Answered the ACE Questions 18: Conclusions of the Participant Observer Afterword: Freud and Clergy Sexual Abuse

About the Author

Francis Joseph Harrington, MDiv, MEd, has spent more than three decades working closely with individuals and families adapting to stress, first as a priest in the Archdiocese of Toronto, and later as a staff psychologist in the department of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and as a school psychologist in Maryland.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychopathology / Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Couples & Family