Trauma and Countertrauma, Resilience and Counterresilience
Insights from Psychoanalysts and Trauma Experts
Treating traumatized patients takes its toll on the treating clinician, giving rise over time to what Richard B. Gartner terms countertrauma in the psychoanalyst or therapist. Paradoxically, a clinician may also be imbued with a sense of optimism, or counterresilience, after learning how often the human spirit can triumph over heartbreakingly tragic experiences.
Trauma and Countertrauma, Resilience and Counterresilience brings together a distinguished group of seasoned clinicians, both trauma specialists and psychoanalysts. Their personal reflections show what clinicians all too rarely dare to reveal: their personal traumatic material. They then discuss how they develop models for acknowledging, articulating, and synthesizing the countertrauma that arises from long-term exposure to patients’ often-harrowing trauma. Writing openly, using viscerally affecting language, the contributors to this exceptional collection share subjective and sometimes intimate material, shedding light on the inner lives of people who work to heal the wounds of psychic trauma.
By the same token, many of these clinicians describe how working intimately with traumatized individuals can affect the listener positively, recounting how patients’ resilience evokes counterresilience in the therapist, allowing the clinician to benefit from ongoing contact with patients who deal bravely with horrific adversity. Paradoxically, a clinician may be imbued with a sense of optimism after learning how often the human spirit can triumph over heartbreakingly tragic experiences.
Trauma and Countertrauma, Resilience and Counterresilience will appeal to psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic psychotherapists, and trauma experts, offering a valuable resource to those beginning their careers in mental health work, to teachers and supervisors of trauma therapists, to experienced clinicians struggling with burnout, and to anyone who wants to understand the psychotherapeutic process or indeed the human condition.
Table of Contents
Foreword. Personal and Conceptual Reflections by Laurie Anne Pearlman
Introduction. An Evolution of Ideas Richard B. Gartner
Chapter 1 Trauma and Countertrauma, Resilience and Counterresilience Richard B. Gartner
Chapter 2. Encountering Trauma, Countertrauma, and Countering Trauma Sandra L. Bloom
Chapter 3. The Interpersonal-Relational Field, Countertrauma, and Counterresilience: The Impact of Treating Trauma and Dissociation Sheldon Itzkowitz
Chapter 4. Words on the Ground Mikele Rauch
Chapter 5. Sexual Thoughts and Feelings in the Countertransference: Can We Dance to the Music, Safely? Richard A. Chefetz
Chapter 6. Point counterpoint: The paradox of healing traumatic injury Karen Hopenwasser
Chapter 7. Speaking to and Validating Emotional Truth in the Jury-Built Self: On Therapeutic Action in the Psychoanalytic Treatment of Trauma Elizabeth Howell
Chapter 8. Growing Together: A Contextual Perspective on Countertrauma, Counterresilience, and Countergrowth Steven N. Gold
Chapter 9. Lessons I Never Wanted to Learn Kathy Steele
Chapter 10. From the Holocaust to the Treatment Room: A Personal Journey Philip J. Kinsler
Chapter 11. First Feelings: Countertransference Reactions in Disaster Mental Health Jill Bellinson
Chapter 12. The Bristlecone Project: Transforming Survivors’ Trauma and Despair, and My Own David Lisak
Chapter 13. Locked in with Amy: Treating the dying patient Ruth H. Livingston
Chapter 14. Lessons Learned Treating Traumatized Teachers Jane E. Gartner
Chapter 15. Countertrauma and her Twin, Counterresilience, and Why I Don’t Watch Scary Movies Anymore Alison Feit
Chapter 16. Academic Trauma: Indirect Experience, Far-Reaching Effect Judith L. Alpert
Chapter 17. Clinical Consultation Helps Transform Vicarious Traumatization Karen W. Saakvitne
Chapter 18: Colleague Betrayal: Countertrauma Manifestation? Christine A. Courtois
Afterword: Richard B. Gartner
Richard B. Gartner, Ph.D., is Training and Supervising Analyst, Faculty, and Founding Director of the Sexual Abuse Service at the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Institute, which has honored him with its Director’s Award for his contributions to the psychoanalytic understanding of trauma. He is the author of Betrayed as Boys: Psychodynamic Treatment of Sexually Abused Men (1999), runner up for the Gradiva Award for Best Book on a Clinical Subject given by the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP), as well as Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse (2005). He also edited Memories of Sexual Betrayal: Truth, Fantasy, Repression, and Dissociation (1996) and serves on the editorial board of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. He is a co-founder and Past President of MaleSurvivor.org, which honored him by establishing an award in his name for Clinical Contributions; is a Fellow of the Divisions of Psychoanalysis and Trauma of the American Psychological Association; and is Faculty for the Trauma Treatment Center at the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis. A pioneer in treating sexually abused men, Dr. Gartner has written and spoken widely about the subject and has been quoted in media throughout the world.
"This psychoanalytic synthesis of clinical expertise and conceptual reach goes beyond time-honored formulations, communicating a timeless but previously untapped reservoir of coherent wisdom. Its originality and unique emphasis on resiliency to trauma are embedded in the historical seedlings of psychoanalysis. Trauma and Countertrauma, Resilience and Counterresilience lingers within you long after you read it and place it lovingly on your desk, available for return engagements. Individual chapters are breathtaking tributes to Richard Gartner's widely celebrated ability to mutually engage, recognize, and expand the mind and soul of "self" and "other." Discover this groundbreaking contribution for yourself."
-Philip Bromberg, Ph.D., Author, The Shadow of the Tsunami.
"This important book presents an impressive array of compassionate insight on the complexities of trauma therapists’ countertransference to their patients—both countertraumatic and counterresilient— from some of the foremost leaders in the field. The work we do with trauma survivors deeply affects who we are and how we function, both in and outside the office. All mental health professionals who work with trauma survivors could benefit from having this volume with the combined wisdom of such diverse master clinicians on hand. Offering guidance and remedies, this excellent in-depth compilation should make a valuable impact on training as well as potentially lead to more successful therapy outcomes."
-Joan M. Cook, Ph.D.,Yale School of Medicine, 2016 President, Division of Trauma Psychology (56) of the American Psychological Association.
"Richard Gartner’s book of essays by trauma practitioners is an important contribution to the realities of working with the psychologically traumatized. With different voices and experiences, the contributors sing together in tune and with harmony about the challenges of this work and ways of thriving and rejoicing."
-Charles R. Figley, Ph.D., Tulane University Distinguished Chair and Professor of Disaster Mental Health, New Orleans, LA, USA.
"Trauma and Countertrauma, Resilience and Counterresilience moves our understanding of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue to the next level. Richard Gartner has assembled outstanding senior clinicians to write about their experiences dealing repeatedly with horrifically traumatized clients. This book is powerful, a must read for both new and experienced clinicians, reminding us of the potential toll on therapists and individuals, and ways to counter it. This is not an academic exercise, but an important reflection by key authors of their own experiences, inspiring us to explore our reactions and feelings as we work with clients. I appreciate the risk these authors take exposing their reactions, and their suggestions in dealing with these issues."
-Robert Geffner, Ph.D., ABPP, ABN, Founding President, Institute on Violence, Abuse & Trauma, San Diego, CA
"Gartner’s book is a comprehensive, rich, and varied collection of essays by seasoned trauma therapists. They contain forthright and honest explorations and perspectives on the authors’ diverse experiences with countertrauma and counterresilience when working with those suffering from trauma. These experts describe their walk with their clients through a murky but also exhilarating healing pathway, as well as the challenging responses within themselves that they must recognize and manage. Countertransference and vicarious traumatization take on new perspectives with Gartner’s concepts of countertrauma and counterresilience, which closely examine the interactional relationship between providers and clients. This book also critiques concepts of betrayal trauma by colleagues and institutions and the wisdom learned from such heartbreaking experiences. It is an immense contribution and a must for all those working within a therapeutic community -- clinicians, supervisors, and organizations. And it is not just for those in the field of complex trauma!"
-Frances S. Waters, DCSW, author of Healing the Fractured Child: Diagnosis and Treatment of Youth with Dissociation, and past President, International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD).
"In all, this is a powerful and important book. (...) it has a lot to offer anyone interested in the field of trauma work."
- Paul Brand, psychodynamic counsellor and trainer in Hampshire and West Sussex
"Gartner is a leader in bringing attention to the suffering of men who were sexually abused as boys and in describing their treatment (Gartner 1999a, 1999b). In this new book he has expanded his focus to the relations between men, women, and their therapists working with trauma of all sorts. "
-Daniel Gensler, PhD, William Alanson White Institute, New York, NY , The American Journal of Psychoanalysis