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Dreams of healing: a clinical investigation of intergenerational transmission of trauma through dreams

Dreams of healing: a clinical investigation of intergenerational transmission of trauma through dreams

A young woman dreams of imprisonment in Changi. A trail of clues leads her to visit her grandfather, who tells of his experiences as a prisoner of war. A man dreams of starvation and barren fields. Analysis uncovers a hidden history concerning the Ukrainian Holodomor. A woman in couple therapy tells of disturbing nightmares of her grandparent’s farm in Uganda being burned. An artist suffering a creative block dreams of a forest near her grandmother’s village. Her reconnection with a previously denied ancestral heritage inspires a new creative outpouring. Having fled torture, war or displacement, many new Australians wished to ensure their children’s lives would be free of the traumatic matters they found unbearable. Yet vestiges of such untold traumatic memories haunt the dreams of their children, children who as adults unconsciously enter therapy due to the need to uncover past secrets before the keys to comprehending their psychological inheritance die with their forebears.

The offspring of victims of trauma may be carriers for that which was too horrific for their ancestors to work through. Such material will haunt the analytic space until it is uncovered, mourned and healing processes begin. The analyst may at first have to bear the unbearable, involving a particular form of analytic reverie. This clinical paper will draw on Russell Meares’ work in the area of trauma and memory, as well as the conversational model, Jung, Bion and recent psychoanalytic approaches to dream imagery arising in the intersubjective space.

Areas of Interest / Categories: Dreams, Healing, Trauma, WCP 2011

WCP 2011

The individual and the couple in the context of the perinatal experience. A dream or a nightmare?

"There is no such thing as marriage - merely two scapegoats sent out by their families to perpetuate themselves". Whittaker & Keith 1981. This presentation will explore the experience of Anxiety and Depression for both men and women, in the perinatal period. The perinatal period offers a unique opportunity to provide comprehensive care for parents diagnosed with perinatal Anxiety and/or Depression. There is significant evidence that the partner's risk for developing a related Anxiety or Depression, is increased from 4.8% to 36% at 6 weeks postnatally. 

The universality of infant-parent psychotherapy - a South African model

The birth of the democratic South Africa opened up the possibility of meeting with fellow citizens who had previously been kept apart.  Since 1995 a model of  infant-parent psychotherapy has been developed resulting in a mental health service which has come to be valued within the community.

Complex trauma: voices of healing

Within the context of the recent natural disasters occurring around the world, attention has been focussed on trauma's psychological consequences. The trauma spotlighted here is on that of childhood maltreatment and the effects on subsequent adult life. Described in this paper are experiences of recovery from patient perspectives, and an examination of how these are different from, and interact with, representations of therapy derived from published expert theoristpractitioner experience. It is based on a phenomenological study of reports from seven women with histories of chronic childhood maltreatment. These women have since been through significant recovery from dissociative symptoms, and it is this part of their journey that was the focus of this research. From the data, two models are proposed.

Lateral violence and Indigenous peoples.

Lateral violence occurs when the violence associated with oppression is internalised by those who are oppressed, and redirected between the members of the oppressed group. Among Aboriginal and Torres

Clinical dream incubation and body

For 1000 years during the beginning of Western medicine (500 B.C. - 500 A.D.,) of the hundreds of medical treatments offered at the time, only dream-based medicine was ubiquitously practiced throughout

The Light In Darkness - Art-therapy, a powerful tool in Palliative Care!

Over the years, we as health care providers have proven that a good perinatal preparation, a good birthing process and a good postnatal care ensures the physical and mental well being of the newborn and his mother. A similar opportunity for quality outcome should be afforded at life`s final phase - preparation and a good 'gateway' for the dying person, as well as a good follow - up period of those left behind. A good death needs guidance to settle outstanding issues, to articulate values, beliefs and doubts and to live the remaining period of life in the fullest and most meaningful way. Early contact is pivotal to learn about our client and his life history. This time is needed to build our client`s trust, to endorse our commitment, and to collect the tools needed to guide him through the gateway and when taking his last breath. It is equally important to meet the immediate needs of his family and to develop the crucial trusting partnership that will ensure a good dying process for their loved one in setting of his choice, and a better acceptance of their loss. It is realistic to assume that people in the future will invest in their final time. 

Effects of childhood sexual abuse on marital functioning: implications for couples therapy

The goal of this workshop is to sensitize marital and family therapists to the unique issues involved in treating couples with history of childhood sexual trauma in one or both partners, and to prepare them to successfully meet the challenges inherent in working with this population. Individual therapists working with adults abused as children can also benefit from the workshop. First, is reviewed existing literature and research on gender-specific impact of childhood sexual trauma on adult functioning in the area of sexuality and intimate relationships. Second, a familiarization with existing models of treating couples with history of childhood sexual trauma such as psychoeducation, sex therapy, Susan Johnson's Emotionally Focused Therapy, and integrative model of Basham and Miehls. Third, a focus on practical implications: challenges for the therapists and common pitfalls and risk factors in working with such couples, including issues of vicarious traumatization, countertransference, complex dynamics of projective identification, and role of cultural factors.