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 : July 2022
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 240
  • Category :
  • Category 2 :
  • Catalogue No : 96150
  • ISBN 13 : 9781913494247
  • ISBN 10 : 1913494241
RRP : £30.00
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The Burden of Heritage: Hauntings of Generational Trauma on Black Lives is a timely addition to the literature on inter- and transgenerational trauma. The book addresses black ancestral trauma passed down the generations, highlighting the ongoing impact on black lives.

Aileen Alleyne explores the unheeded dimensions of individual and collective identity trauma, paying particular attention to the themes and concepts of identity shame, black identity wounding and cultural enmeshment.

The author 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 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, socio-political 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.

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.

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