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 :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Category 2 :
    Trauma and Violence
  • Catalogue No : 96150
  • ISBN 13 : 9781913494247
  • ISBN 10 : 1913494241
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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.

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!

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