Wounds of History: Repair and Resilience in the Trans-Generational Transmission of Trauma, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Wounds of History

Repair and Resilience in the Trans-Generational Transmission of Trauma, 1st Edition

Edited by Jill Salberg, Sue Grand


296 pages

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Wounds of History takes a new view in psychoanalysis using a trans-generational and social/political/cultural model looking at trauma and its transmission. The view is radical in looking beyond maternal dyads and Oedipal triangles and in its portrayal of a multi-generational world that is no longer hierarchical. This look allows for greater clinical creativity for conceptualizing and treating human suffering, situating healing in expanding circles of witnessing.

The contributors to this volume look at inherited personal trauma involving legacies of war, genocide, slavery, political persecution, forced migration/unwelcomed immigration and the way attachment and connection is disrupted, traumatized and ultimately longing for repair and reconnection. 

The book addresses several themes such as the ethical/social turn in psychoanalysis; the repetition of resilience and wounds and the repair of these wounds; the complexity of attachment in the aftermath of trauma, and the move towards social justice. In their contributions, the authors remain close to the human stories.

Wounds of History will be of interest to psychoanalysts, psychologists and other mental health professionals, as well as students or teachers of trauma studies, Jewish and gender studies and studies of genocide.


"This is a rich collection of transnational and interdisciplinary case studies and analyses written by leading scholars in a key field. It should be read for years to come by all those interested in diagnosing and healing the wounds of history."-Ben Kiernan, A.Whitney Griswold Professor of History, founding Director, Genocide Studies Program, Yale University.

"The great contribution of this volume is to enlarge the way we think about family dynamics, so that it is something that happens within history, often histories of violence, and across multiple generations. The other great contribution is to look at the way the transmission of trauma across the generations actually works. Doing so reveals the closeness and strength that may be communicated, as well as the pain and alienation. In both respects this volume reflects the ethical turn in psychoanalysis."-C. Fred Alford, Professor of Government and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher, University of Maryland, and author of Trauma and Forgiveness.

"Wounds of History offers a set of profound meditations on the role of the engaged other – be it the singular witness or the responsive community - as a facilitator of transformation and resilience in the face of indifference to malignant destructiveness. The essays in this volume span multiple ethnicities and historical traumas, and demonstrate a deep concern with an ethic of social justice and individual therapeutics."-Sam Gerson, Ph.D., founder, past president, and training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalysis Institute of Northern California.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Contributor’s Bios Editor’s Introduction Section I: Massive Trauma: Attachment Ruptured, Attachment Repaired Introduction 1. Listening to My Mother’s Testimony 2. Arrival At Auschwitz: Traumatic Rupture and Empathic Containment in the Joint Narrative of a Mother and a Daughter who Survived the Holocaust Together 3. The Rhythm of Resilience: A Deep Ecology of Entangled Relationality 4. The Texture of Traumatic Attachment: Presence and Ghostly Absence in Trans-Generational Transmission Section II: Repetitions of Violence, Antidotes to War Introduction 5. Has Sexuality Anything to Do with War Trauma?: Intergenerational Transmission and the Homosexual Imaginary 6. Repairing an Immigrant Chinese Family’s "Box of Terrible Things" 7. Judith Alpert, Ph.D." Enduring Mothers, Enduring Knowledge: On Rape and History Section III: Persecution and Otherness: Different Subjectivities and the Restoration of Trust Introduction 8. Collectively Creating Conditions for Emergence 9. Trauma and Recovery: A legacy of Political Persecution and Activism Across Three Generations 10. In the Shadow of terror: An intergenerational tale of growing up in the old left 11. Disavowed Fragments of the Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma From Slavery Among African Americans

About the Editors

Jill Salberg, Ph.D., ABPP, is a clinical adjunct associate professor of psychology, faculty member and clinical consultant/supervisor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, faculty and supervisor at the Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies and the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy.

Sue Grand, PhD, is a clinical adjunct associate professor of psychology, faculty and clinical consultant/supervisor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and faculty at the trauma program at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, The Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Psychoanalysis and the couples and family program at the New York University Postdoctoral program in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.

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 / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / General
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health