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Lost in Transmission

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About the Author

M. Gerard Fromm, PhD, directed the Erikson Institute for Education and Research at the Austen Riggs Center for many years, where he is currently Senior Consultant. He teaches at a number of psychoanalytic institutes and is on the faculties of Harvard Medical School and the Yale Child Study Center. He is the editor of 'The Facilitating Environment: Clinical Applications of Winnicott's Theory' (with Bruce L. Smith, PhD) and 'Lost in Transmission: Studies of Trauma across the Generations'. His most recent book, 'Taking the Transference, Reaching toward Dreams', reports on his clinical work at the Center.


'Tightly guarded family secrets, awkward pauses in communication, missing photographs, hidden letters, unexplained tears at the mention of a city far away, phobically avoided television shows, and telling slips of tongue, together constitute the invisible pathway through which traumatic experiences of one generation are passed on to the next. The more "unmentalized" the trauma of parents, the greater the likelihood of its suppressed whispers finding their echoes in children's lives. To render the unthinkable aspects of a trauma into a cogent, if fumbling, narrative, therefore, goes a long way to minimizing its long-term adverse effects. Gerard Fromm's well-organized and deeply humane book makes this point in a firm, lucid, and convincing manner.'- Salman Akhtar, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Jefferson Medical College; Training and Supervising Analyst, Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia'Lost in Transmission is not simply about how traumatic psychological injury is passed down to the children and grandchildren of those who originally experienced it. Even more, the insightful and personal essays in this collection are about finding the shared humanity in families, in psychotherapy, in society, and in memories of the past that repairs the damage people do to one another. A moving and inspiring book.'- Thomas A. Kohut, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Professor of History, Williams College, USA'For decades, psychoanalysts denied the impact of "big history" on their patients', and even their own, lives. Lost in Transmission brings the "real" to centre stage. In this slim volume, a dozen unusually creative thinkers and analysts share with us what they have learned about the messages from the past contained in their patients' symptoms. Lost in Transmission teaches us how the unacknowledged terrors of one generation can lead to neglect of the next, even in the analyst/analysand dyad; how historical traumas can be used deliberately to mobilize hate and violence; how the shame of previous generations can be stealthily imprinted on children's psyches - leading them to avenge historical humiliations or assuage historical pain they may not even know of. These wise healers unlock the code. A critically important contribution to healing history's lasting wounds.'- Jessica Stern, Former Erik Erikson Scholar; Advanced Academic Candidate, Mass. Inst. of Psychoanalysis; author of Denial: A Memoir of Terror and Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill

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