Intergenerational Cycles of Trauma and Violence: An Attachment and Family Systems Perspective

Author(s) : Pamela C. Alexander

Intergenerational Cycles of Trauma and Violence: An Attachment and Family Systems Perspective

Book Details

  • Publisher : W.W.Norton
  • Published : 2014
  • Cover : Hardback
  • Pages : 320
  • Category :
    Trauma and Violence
  • Catalogue No : 36515
  • ISBN 13 : 9780393707182
  • ISBN 10 : 0393707180
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That experiences from childhood affect our behavior in adulthood, especially how we treat our children and our intimate partners is generally accepted. Indeed, theories of intergenerational transmission of violence assume that if we ourselves have been abused and neglected as children, we will be abusive and neglectful to others close to us, thus extending the cycle across generations. However, many individuals who were maltreated as children do not replicate this cycle. Similarly, little sense is made of the individual raised in a good family who is violent either as a child or as an adult. These discontinuities of cycles of violence and trauma have baffled professionals and nonprofessionals alike.

However, broadening our vision and attending to new areas of research can help to illuminate this conundrum and to consider new avenues of intervention. This book aims to do just that. It is the premise of this book that an increased risk for abusive behavior or revictimization as a function of one s own experiences of abuse or trauma in childhood can best be understood through the complementary lenses of attachment theory (focusing on the relationship between the child and the caregiver) and family systems theory (focusing on the larger context of this relationship). That is, what a child acquires from his/her relationship with the caregiver is not simply a reflection of what the child has learned from experiencing or witnessing abuse, but more importantly, from the child s experience of the relationship itself, on an implicit, emotional, physical and neurobiological level. This book presents a detailed review of the literature as well as clinical examples to aid professionals of all backgrounds. Topics include: the parent-child attachment relationship; family context of attachment relationships; neurobiology and genetics; peer victimization and partner violence; child sexual abuse; special populations.

About the Author(s)

Pamela C. Alexander, PhD, has conducted family violence research for over 30 years. At the Universities of Memphis, Maryland and Pennsylvania, she was the PI for three federally funded projects including the first randomized clinical trial of group treatment for incest survivors and a psychotherapy outcome study of the use of motivational interviewing with male batterers. She also evaluated the Army’s and the Marines’ home visitation child abuse prevention program. She currently consults with JBS International and has a private practice. She lives in Sherborn, Massachusetts.

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