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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

Defining the concept of spirituality among Filipino counselors and clients.

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

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