The Burden of Heritage: Hauntings of Generational Trauma on Black Lives

Author(s) : Aileen Alleyne

The Burden of Heritage: Hauntings of Generational Trauma on Black Lives

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : September 2022
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 304
  • Category :
  • Category 2 :
    Trauma and Violence
  • Catalogue No : 96150
  • ISBN 13 : 9781913494247
  • ISBN 10 : 1913494241
RRP : £30.00
save £3.00
In stock, despatched within 24 hours
Free UK Delivery over £25
Add to basket
RRP : £30.00
save £5.01
Add to basket
Paperback + eBook
RRP : £54.99
save £22.99
In stock, despatched within 24 hours
Free UK Delivery over £25
Add to basket
Add to wishlist

Our Customers Average Rating
Read all reviews (1)

Leave a review

In The Burden of Heritage: Hauntings of Generational Trauma on Black Lives, Aileen Alleyne explores the unheeded dimensions of individual and collective identity trauma. She expands on her striking concept, the 'internal oppressor', that inhibits self-belief, full agency, and potential. She reworks the psychoanalytic concept of ‘hauntings’, separating it from Freud’s interpretation as unconscious repression, and instead presents it as a living and conscious element of the black trauma burden. To break the cycle of generational trauma, Alleyne suggests an active process of separation from archaic attachments, and engagement in intentional modes of transformation.

Alleyne makes use of her own experiences throughout, alongside therapeutic suggestions, approaches, and theoretical handles for steadying the practitioner in the consulting room. The book weaves the personal, historical, sociopolitical, and theoretical, and includes countless observational examples, clinical vignettes, and case material.

The Burden of Heritage offers effective tools to practitioners who work therapeutically with black and minority ethnic clients, and highlights ways to strengthen critical enquiry for deeper conceptual and theoretical understanding of generational trauma.

Reviews and Endorsements

Aileen Alleyne has written one of the most ground-breaking books on the vital subject of intergenerational trauma. This truly heartening
and gripping contribution to modern psychology offers many bold and essential insights into the nature of global suffering and hatred. We all have much to learn from the author’s wisdom, regardless of the colour of our skin.
Professor Brett Kahr, Senior Fellow, Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, London

… a powerful reminder of the deep and prolonged impact of racial oppression on black communities, and of the importance for all of us – black and white, people of colour ... Full of new concepts, written with clarity and passion, this book will be invaluable for all those dedicated to racial justice.
Professor Stephen Frosh, Birkbeck, University of London

This book helps to fill an important gap in the psychoanalytic psychotherapeutic theorizing of racial trauma. Focusing on the dual forms of relational transmission of such trauma, the transgenerational and the intergenerational, this book presents an experience-near,
personal account of working with racial trauma in psychotherapy. … attending to the sequela of racism must be considered an essential, indeed foundational, aspect of psychotherapeutic work.
Anton Hart, PH.D., FABP, FIPA Faculty, Training and Supervising Analyst, The William Alanson White Institute, New York

Dr. Aileen Alleyne has created a powerful written narrative of the AfricanHolocaust psychological experience that supports, enhances and is a scholarly gift to individuals engaged in doing the healing work of intergenerational and transgenerational trauma. The Burden of Heritage begins with the author’s own story of being six years old and psychologically experiencing what she later understands to be a collapse of her ego. This experience, that occurred when confronted with white Others and familial relations, contributes to the psychic groundwork for Dr. Alleyne’s consciousness as regards her own developing identity, and that of other members of her cultural group. This eventually leads her to become a psychoanalyst. The writing in The Burden of Heritage creates a unique and excellent foundation for clinicians, especially those of the African diaspora, to see into their own psychological wounding as well as those of their patients and clients. The book provides the reader with knowledge for self-examination as well as ways to see and move deeper into understanding the racial trauma caused by British government historical racism, exploitation, and economic greed. The root of this racial trauma shows its negative impact not only to those suffering in the 1600s as Britain spread her ‘empire’, but also the contemporary psychological suffering experienced by descendants of formerly enslaved Africanist people. Dr. Alleyne’s book should be required reading for every clinician seeking to better understand Black psychology and African diaspora intergenerational trauma. The Burden of Heritage is a creative work that lovingly explores, teaches, and psychologically deepens who we are, and who we can become in terms of healing individual and cultural group racial trauma.
Fanny Brewster, Ph.D., MFA,, author of The Racial Complex: A Jungian Perspective on Culture and Race

Dancing in a village square populated by active ancestors, ghostly hauntings, living memories, poetic interruptions and client narratives, Dr. Aileen Alleyne composes a gripping epic about loss, longing, and the partially submerged worlds of black trauma. Her fluid fingers, careful and masterful, weave practical therapeutic insights, political critique, a cultural situatedness in racialized suffering, and an eye on futurity and justice into a cartography of restoration – a map of hope in dire times.
Dr. Bayo Akomolafe,, author of These Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home

'The Burden of Heritage needs to be read by every psychotherapist wanting to work competently and consciously with black clients who may be carrying this burden. Alleyne beautifully crafts a book full of knowledge and psychodynamic theory, but also writes with honesty and compassion. [...] This book will open doors for non-black readers and therapists, and I believe it should be mandatory reading for all trainees.'
Tasha Bailey, integrative psychotherapist, New Psychotherapist, Summer 2023

She challenges the reader to acknowledge his/her own triggers, traumas, and scripts so they may be tended to without unwanted interference in the therapy. [...] the uncomfortable truth of othering is at the heart of this book, which challenges us all to sit with the honest, and sometimes stark, truths to which Alleyne gives voice.
Naomi Segal

'An intricate blend of historical facts, psychoanalytic ideas and somewhat of a user manual, all competently woven together by Alleyne’s use of case studies, story-telling and (largely) steady pace. [...] The importance of this book by its very existence and the contributions it will no doubt make to the understanding of trauma and the legacy of colonisation on the psychic lives of Black people, make it a worthwhile read. [...] It is challenging and haunting yet remarkably enlightening and thought provoking. [...] It will likely leave you feeling grateful for having encountered it.'
Angela Ike, Psychodynamic Practice, 2024

'The book is a profound and contemplative examination of the legacy of 400 years of slavery on the black community and serves as an instrument to unravel the shadows that conceal the inescapable nature of racism towards the black community whilst illuminating the path towards recovery through the cultivation of self-reflection, self-regulation, compassion, empathy, transcendence, and transformation. [...] Dr Alleyne extensively examines the cultural dimensions of the fundamental emotion of shame and generously shares her early experiences and encounters with shame. Her personal narrative and those of clients are deeply moving and touching, illustrating the psychological impact of transgenerational and intergenerational trauma. [...] Overall, I firmly recommend incorporating this book into all psychotherapy trainings. The inclusion of this profound and awakening book empowers clinicians to discern the influence of cultural differences between therapist and client. Consequently, this facilitates the establishment of a secure environment and deeper awareness, promoting more effective healing from the burdens and lingering legacies of slavery that our clients carry.'
Mohini Murti Gulati-Olapoju, Attachment, 2024

Table of Contents

About the Author

1. Transgenerational and intergenerational trauma
2. Trauma legacies
3. Understanding trauma
4. The nature of hauntings
5. Shame and its vicissitudes
6. Shame and its role in black identity wounding
7. The chokehold of historical enmeshment
8. Intersectionality and racialized trauma
9. Working therapeutically with generational trauma
10. Healing from the burden of our heritage

Appendix I: Glossary of terms
Appendix II: Recognizing my own ancestral burden
Appendix III: Values and principles underpinning good practice in working with issues of difference and diversity

About the Author(s)

Dr Aileen Alleyne is a UKCP registered psychodynamic psychotherapist, clinical supervisor and organisational consultant in private practice. She is a visiting lecturer at training institutions and a consultant on race and cultural diversity in organisations, such as the NHS, Social Services, Education, and the Police Services. Her clinical research examining black workers' experiences in three UK statutory bodies, namely, the NHS, Education and Social Services, makes a significant contribution to the discourse on racism as a living trauma. Highlighting the concept of 'the internal oppressor', her work offers ways of deepening understanding of black psychological reactions to the wounding impact of racism. Aileen is the author of several book chapters and journal papers exploring themes on black/white dynamics, shame and identity wounding, and working with issues of Difference and Diversity in the workplace.

Customer Reviews

Our customers have given this title an average rating of 5 out of 5 from 1 review(s), add your own review for this title.

Stuart Taylor on 20/11/2022 11:24:05

Rating1Rating2Rating3Rating4Rating5 (5 out of 5)

Aileen Alleyne's The Burden of Heritage: Hauntings of Generational Trauma on Black Lives, is a triumph of a book. It provides a rich and incisive articulation of a hitherto unnameable cluster of intrapsychic, inter and transgenerational psychological disturbances uniquely experienced across the African diaspora. The framing of mental hauntings relating to historic trauma, experienced in regard to European colonial projects, transatlantic enslavement and the subsequent racialisation and marginalisation of Black communities in relation to white dominant cultures in the contemporary era is consummate.

Articulating issues and phenomena such as shame, enmeshment, 'psychic incest' and white fragility, experienced similarly but differently by white and Black individuals and communities, provides concrete explanations of long-held illusive or repressed psychologically wounding or harmful phenomena.

As a practicing Systemic Constellator, Leadership and Organisational Development consultant, I found the book to be one of the most incisive, insightful and helpful texts I've had the pleasure to read in recent years. I would unhesitatingly recommend it to professional colleagues and to consultants, therapists or counsellors in training. This is a substantive piece of work by an author who wears their intellectual, creative and scholarly expertise with a humble lightness of touch. Their writing is deft, well-paced and always rigorous. If you really want to get a firm and scholarly, yet grounded and compassionate appreciation of the dynamics of the psychology of Black experience in the early 21st century, and the way(s) in which historical economic, cultural and political events continue to impact and inform our shared contemporary experiences of race, prejudice and racism, this is the book. If you want to gain insight into the fruits of decades worth of psychotherapeutic and organisational consulting practice this is the book. If you want to appreciate a professional at the top of their game in terms of the breadth, depth and quality of learning you'll experience, look no further!

You may also like

Sign up for our new titles email   Sign up to our postal mailing list   Sign up for postal updates