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Psychoanalytic Psychology - Vol 34, Iss 2

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Psychoanalytic Psychology Psychoanalytic Psychology serves as a resource for original contributions that reflect and broaden the interaction between psychoanalysis and psychology.
Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
  • Editorial.
    This editorial introduces April's special issue of Psychoanalytic Psychology on sexual boundary violations. This issue contains an introductory article along with the Journal's annual list of psychodynamic dissertations and several book reviews. Sadly this special issue is also a memorial in honor of Dr. Muriel Dimen, one of the contributors, who died on February 14, 2016. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Sexual boundary violations: A century of violations and a time to analyze.
    This special issue focuses on sexual boundary violations. Our intent is clear: We want to promote discussion and clarification on this topic. Underlying this special issue is the belief that a study of sexual boundary violations can potentially avert reenactments. As we are all potentially vulnerable to boundary transgressions, including sexual ones, such study is essential. In this first overview article, we present a brief summary of some of the major topics relevant to sexual boundary violations as well as an overview of the articles included in this special issue on sexual boundary violations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Sexual boundary violations in psychoanalysis: A 30-year retrospective.
    The author looks back on his 30 years of treating, evaluating, and consulting on over 300 cases of sexual boundary violations. He describes how his previous optimism about the potential to prevent such transgressions has given way to a pessimistic view in light of the pervasive self-deception of analysts and therapists. He also has reconsidered his longstanding categorization of these practitioners as a result of his observations about the idiosyncrasies of superego functioning and the capacity to view ethics considerations differently when applied to oneself compared to how they apply to others. Finally, he presents his impressions of how group phenomena in analytic organizations may contribute to the development of sexual boundary transgressions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Lessons on or about the couch: What sexual boundary transgressions can teach us about everyday practice.
    This article addresses several conceptual ambiguities, contradictions, and vagaries that can play a part as either an unconscious backdrop or as a conscious rationale for sexual boundary transgressions. The first revolves around the nature of transference, in particular, its real or unreal character. Second is a question of whether the violating analyst ever truly loved the patient, a question with which the victim-patient can wrestle for years in the aftermath. Third, the essential function and nature of boundaries is addressed as a process that is continually renegotiated along the axis of self-other differentiation. Finally, the fundamental dynamic of the relationship is taken up with the question, who were the patient and analyst to each other? The theoretical assumption of multiplicity belies this unidimensional query and reveals a collapse of complexity in the analytic temporal and spatial expanse. It is hoped that the clarification of these fundamental concepts will at least give a moment’s pause before the slide down that destructive slope. In addition, for those of us treating victims and/or analysts who have transgressed, these theoretical clarifications will help guide our work in resolving the many conundrums associated with the aftermath of this persistent and continually vexing problem. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • “Why can’t we be lovers?” When the price of love is loss of love: Boundary violations in a clinical context.
    Drawing on my own experience of sexual abuse decades ago in a 1st analysis, I describe the deep and abiding residue that continues to shadow the psyche throughout one’s life. However, I argue that what we can learn from this must not be reduced to prohibitions and inhibitions that send affects underground, nor prescriptive rules that may shut down the level ground of authentic and energized relatedness between analyst and patient. But, rather, I wish to promote a culture, a climate, and the preparatory conditions to equip clinicians to be competent and clear-headed about the powerful affects they permit themselves to feel. I ask: How might we be trained to use ourselves creatively within the conventions and constraints of our “school of thought”? How and when is love speakable in a clinical context? What role does the transgenerational transmission of trauma play in the way we handle clinical difficulties? Are the therapist’s sexual feelings abnormal? How might they be healthily processed? How much do we share with our patients or otherwise express? How do we distinguish between limits and inhibitions? These are just a few of the questions for us to review and to revisit again and again. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Eight topics: A conversation on sexual boundary violations between Charles Amrhein and Muriel Dimen.
    This interview, whose format’s inherent intersubjectivity fosters affect and hence new ideas, covers 8 topics: (1) thinking despite the astonishment sparked by incidents of sexual boundary violation; (2) sexual boundary violations as efforts to reach an alpha state for which is lacking either the language or the habit of mind to turn conceptions into thought; (3) the prevalence of reactivity upon learning of a sexual boundary violation; (4) “othering” and “scapegoating,” consequent to sexual boundary violations, as rooted in both psyche and culture; (5) the importance of context and community to thinking about sexual boundary violations; (6) the dangers, to both individuals and the profession, of silence; (7) routine speech, both oral and written, as key to the community’s address of this dilemma; and (8) the frequent use of gossip—speech-as-action—around sexual boundary violations. Discourse, or meaning-making, about sexual boundary violations must be open to both thought and feeling, morality and accusation, defense and reflection, personal expression and group expression. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Sexual relationships between patient and therapist: Boundary violation or collapse of the therapeutic space?
    The thesis is that sexual relations between patient and therapist are not best described by the concept of boundary violations. In fact, boundary violations typically do not result in the pain and trauma that is so characteristic of sexual relationships between patient and therapist. It is argued that sexual relationships are fundamentally a different kind of transgression from those that can be captured solely by “boundary violation.” It is in the very nature of analytic therapy that the therapist makes a commitment to treat all of the patient’s communications as expressions containing meanings that were intended. When a sexual relationship takes place between the analytic pair, that promise is broken, and the analytic space collapses, leading to pain and often trauma. The argument is made that this collapse of the analytic space is the essential quality of the trauma in sexual relations between patient and therapist, not boundary violations. This thesis is illustrated with a case treated in analytic therapy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • On transference, passion, and analysts’ sexual boundary violations.
    This article attempts to elucidate the psychodynamics of analysts’ sexual boundary violations and, one hopes, to widen an area of inquiry that has been neglected in the psychoanalytic field. Reflecting on the tension generated by the intimate yet asymmetric quality of the psychoanalytic encounter, I expand on the links between transference and power. Psychoanalytic training emphasis on “knowing” as opposed to “caring” for the self will be elaborated as potential contributors to analysts’ sexual boundary violations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The promise of love revisited: Healing ruptures through recognition.
    I have written previously about the allure and hazards of that “promise of love” that can be a siren’s call luring us into terrible dangers (Charles, 1999). The intense intimacy of the analytic environment is also regressive, pulling on primitive memories that have a heightened, sensory quality, often having to do with early experiences of frustrated desire. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy invites the patient to transfer feelings from childhood and later life onto the analyst. Coming into contact with primitive and forbidden longings helps the individual make sense of forces that drive her thinking and action. For such powerful forces to be unleashed, the consulting room must be a place of safety in which fantasies can be enacted without fear of actualizing them. The analyst, too, feels these regressive desires but must be able to stand her ground and allow the transference to unfold such that the patient can encounter her longings and desire and work her way through them rather than expecting them to be filled in the consulting room. Two cases are described in which such boundaries had been broken and the patients sought assistance in dealing with the sequelae. These cases remind us that our own desires to be the perfect parent or analyst can be obstructive and destructive if we lose our analytic mind and move into the realm of transgressive enactment rather than preserving the space for working through. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Don’t tell anyone.
    Sexual boundary violations—and their perpetrators—are ghosts that haunt us within (and of course outside) the psychoanalytic world. Reverberating well beyond the particular analytic dyad within which they occur, these violations invade nearly every professional community. Sexual boundary violations cast a long shadow over us; they generate horror, anxiety, curiosity, and sometimes excitement. Our need to deny what we know and to protect exalted mentors from scrutiny has led to a toxic collective silence; by and large, we have remained publically mute while engaging in plenty of private gossip. Anxiety about the destructive consequences of “telling” further complicates our experience and can result in disavowal—a near total foreclosure of the reality of the breach along with our experience of it. I query the dynamics driving our complex responses to sexual boundary violations and explore their collision with our professional ideal, using a personal experience to illustrate some of these issues. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • When the frame breaks: Ripple effects of sexual boundary violations.
    Sexual boundary violations (SBVs) are devastating events within a psychoanalytic institute. SBVs are harmful not only to the patient/candidate upon whom the violation was committed but also to other patients of the violating analyst, and to the psychoanalytic community as a whole. This article considers the interpersonal and intrapsychic processes that lead to SBVs and their ripple effects. The author argues that SBVs signal a collapse of the third in the analytic dyad and in an institute as a whole. The author uses a case example to illustrate the utility of viewing ripple effects from SBVs as a consequence of a collapse of the third. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Seductive excess: Erotic transformations, secret predations.
    In this article, the author suggests that training institutes transmit contradictory messages about the sexual boundary in psychoanalysis; these contradictions result in an ambiguous law, and a breakable taboo. These ambivalent transmissions are traced back to the erotic conflicts and cultural contexts that shaped the early work of Breuer, Freud, and Jung. The formulation of psychoanalysis proceeded in a patriarchal, Judeo-Christian culture; this marked Eros with splitting, and with quasireligious features of ecstasy and sin. The author suggests that these tropes were enacted, and inscribed on, the sexual boundary. This inscription has yielded dysfunctional encounters with erotic transference, as clinicians move between seductive excess, erotic avoidance, and sexual transgression. These positions have been replayed throughout the generations, and require a cultural critique. This critique is illustrated through experience near portraits of analysis and supervision. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • A call for more talk and less abuse in the consulting room: One psychoanalyst–sex therapist’s perspective.
    Guilt, titillation, and anxious confusion about sexuality and sexual relations between therapist and patient pervade the psychoanalytic community. Review of state laws and regulations as well as professional ethics codes reveals a lack of certainty about what constitutes professional misconduct, especially posttermination. Comparing the training approaches of sex therapy and psychoanalysis, the author suggests that psychoanalysis will benefit from shifting its focus on extreme cases of egregious sexual boundary violations onto greater in-depth exploration of clinically universal experience of powerful erotic and negative transference and countertransference. Innovative and experiential educational formats that promote openness, acceptance, confidence, and skill with these dynamics are the best prevention. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Sexual boundary violations: An agenda demanding more consideration.
    The 13 articles raise some very interesting issues, which clearly need more consideration. In addition, several authors made specific suggestions. In the first part of the present article, we consider these issues as well as some observations, questions, and issues demanding more consideration. The second part of this last article is “vignette driven.” For the purposes of this concluding chapter we developed 3 vignettes, focusing on analyst–analysand contact posttreatment, analyst–analysand sexual contact posttreatment, and analyst–analysand physical contact during treatment. We asked a few contributing senior analysts who have been studying sexual boundary violations over time to respond to these vignettes. The independent (from each other) responses of analysts Andrea Celenza, Muriel Dimen with Charles Amrhein, and Barbara Pizer are included here and discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Psychodynamic doctoral dissertations completed in 2016.
    Provides a list of psychodynamic doctoral dissertations completed in 2016. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Review of The clinic and the context: Historical essays.
    Reviews the book, The Clinic and the Context: Historical Essays by Elisabeth Young-Bruehl (see record 2013-00075-000). This book was posthumously published about one year after Elisabeth Young-Bruehl’s untimely death in December 2011 as the fourth book in the History of Psychoanalysis Series. The essays in this book demonstrate Young-Bruehl’s vast knowledge and breadth of interest which spring from two, albeit interconnected, critical sources: her profound revisioning of Freud’s concept of the drives and her commitment to social democracy. With this review, the reviewer hopes to make clear the unifying thread in her writings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • On not introducing psychoanalysis and literature.
    This review−essay discusses the meaning of an introduction and considers the project of writing for a curious and intelligent but not highly informed readership. The essay then discusses a recent book that purports to introduce the topic of psychoanalysis and literature but does so without any cognizance of or empathy for its readers and without serious thought for their likely questions, confusions, and concerns. By eliminating the reader from his consideration, the author fails to provide a book that can serve as a viable introduction. And, because psychoanalysis is quintessentially a powerful 2-person dialogue in form, this book subverts the very essence of its own subject. This is of grave concern, as psychoanalysis has, woefully, lost considerable ground in academia. The field would be better served by an introduction written in a welcoming tone, which is lucid, up-to-date, and sensitive to outsiders. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Review of The Klein-Winnicott dialectic: Transformative new metapsychology and interactive clinical theory.
    Reviews the book, The Klein-Winnicott Dialectic: Transformative New Metapsychology and Interactive Clinical Theory by Susan Kavaler-Adler (see record 2014-14498-000). This new book by Kavaler-Adler takes on the timely project of transcending the longstanding divergence between the psychoanalytic approaches of Melanie Klein and D.W. Winnicott. With the possible exception of Wilfred Bion, these are arguably the two most influential intellectual descendants of Freud among North American analysts, and though their ideas spring from a common source, the differences between them (and their followers) continue to divide the field. With this book however, Kavaler-Adler has achieved a rare feat: She has written a book that breaks intellectual ground in approaching the differences between Klein and Winnicott in a way that simultaneously preserves and overcomes those differences as she develops a position that benefits from both visions. Kavaler-Adler develops her ideas with refreshing clarity and directness, simplicity without any apparent sacrifice of subtlety. This is a book that is sure to have a real and immediate impact on the reader’s clinical work, not simply by the presentation of ideas about technique, but more importantly, through the articulation of a model of therapeutic action that reorients the reader to clinical process, particularly in relation to those patients who so perversely seem to prefer self-destruction to the possibility of emotional growth. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Review of Psychoanalysis in China.
    Reviews the book, Psychoanalysis in China edited by David E. Scharff and Sverre Varvin (see record 2014-40928-000). This edited volume provides snap shots of the cultural, theoretical, and practical issues associated with introduction of psychoanalysis in China from the vantage points of both Western and Chinese participants. Various contributors describe the history of psychoanalysis in China. The editors Scharff and Varvin stress the importance of paying attention to the Chinese sociopolitical and cultural context in which psychoanalysis is being introduced and practiced: China is a society in great transition, where the traditional collectivist values coexist, sometimes harmoniously and creatively and sometimes incommensurably, with the rising individualistic values. Weaved throughout the book are several important questions: (a) How should the Western-Chinese cultural encounter be handled? (b) What is the impact of the political violence, in particular the Cultural Revolution on the Chinese psyche? (c) What are the challenges in teaching and learning psychoanalytic concepts so rooted in the Western history and culture to the Chinese whose cultural experiences are so different? (d) Is psychoanalysis helpful to Chinese people? (e) And finally, what would be the Chinese contribution to psychoanalysis? This review addresses each of these themes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Review of Sensorimotor psychotherapy: Interventions for trauma and attachment.
    Reviews the book, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment by Pat Ogden and Janina Fisher (see record 2012-20081-000). Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is psychoanalytic in that its theory of pathogenesis should be agreeable to psychoanalysts who view trauma and attachment injury as central to adult psychopathology. This book provides psychoanalytic insights into the role of the body in psychopathology and references trauma theorists such as van Der Kolk, self psychologists such as Beebe, attachment theorists such as Lyons-Ruth, dissociation theorists such as Bromberg, and affective neuroscientists such as Schore and Panksepp whose work should be familiar to many psychoanalysts. However, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy recommends a treatment approach that is not primarily having a conversation that follows the flow of a patient’s free associations. It is a treatment approach that consists primarily of guided exercises that focus on increasing the patient’s self-awareness of body language and body sensation and then learning and rehearsing various behavioral adjustments designed to alter body language and bodily sensation (i.e., like altering posture, walking, or breathing). The therapeutic value of a nondirective conversational approach, increased freedom of thought and increased reflective functioning, does not necessarily have to be diluted or replaced by a more directive approach conducting structured therapist-guided exercises. With that being said, the reviewer would see this book as one more useful supplement to but not as a replacement for “talk therapy.” Those psychoanalysts that wish to help their patients replace the more addictive or compulsive somatic regulators upon which they have become pathologically dependent with more constructive somatic resources for emotion regulation can utilize Sensorimotor Psychotherapy as a valuable resource. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Review of Healing after parent loss in childhood and adolescence: Therapeutic interventions and theoretical considerations.
    Reviews the book, Healing after Parent Loss in Childhood and Adolescence: Therapeutic Interventions and Theoretical Considerations edited by Richard Ruth, K. Mark Sossin, Phyllis Cohen, with a foreword by Nancy McWilliams (see record 2014-06963-000). Replete with in-depth clinical material, grounded in detailed theoretical discussion, each chapter in this edited book casts a contemporary lens on themes of loss, and the idiosyncratic qualities, and circumstances evident in each of the cases. It presents multiple perspectives on ways to achieve the intended goals of the interventions described. Along with rich clinical case studies presented from traditional analytic perspectives, this contemporary volume introduces a number of fresh voices, whose work reflects shifts from classical treatment approaches to contemporary integrations, including Interpersonal, Intersubjective and Relational approaches. The editors, each a senior analytic clinician in his or her own right, have individually contributed to innovative interventions with bereaved and traumatized children and adolescents in work outside of the traditional consulting room. Their particular sensibility, and desire to use their analytic knowledge to think and work outside of the frame, is clearly reflected in the wide ranging choice of authors, subjects, and more. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Review of Psychoanalysis: Listening to understand.
    Reviews the book, Psychoanalysis: Listening to Understand by Arlene Kramer Richards (see record 2013-17228-000). This book contains previously published peer-reviewed articles, and book and movie reviews authored by Dr. Kramer Richards dating from 1989 to 2012. It is divided into sections—Female Development, Perversions, Loneliness, Technique, and Films. The unifying spirit is the author herself and her interests as a psychoanalyst. Thus this book is not an integrated text on the ideas of a respected psychoanalytic theorist in women’s psychological development. It reads, rather, as an intellectual autobiography. The reader feels he or she is enjoying a fascinating few hours with a colleague, learning what she thinks and why. As a result, the reader gets a glimpse into an intriguing window into the mind of Dr. Kramer Richards, who has worked with and thought about women for decades. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Review of A relational psychoanalytic approach to couples psychotherapy.
    Reviews the book, Relational Psychoanalytic Approach to Couples Psychotherapy by Philip A. Ringstrom (see record 2014-09232-000). This book seeks to address what is identified as “a vacuum in contemporary psychoanalysis devoid of a comprehensively relational way to think about psychoanalytically oriented couples treatment.” Aimed at practitioners of couples therapy as well as psychoanalytic practitioners, it is also intended for undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, marriage and family therapy, and social work. In this sense Ringstrom is attempting to cover much ground by addressing a varied range of professionals and students, describing a theoretical approach grounded in clinical work relevant to a wide audience. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Review of China on the mind.
    Reviews the book, China on the Mind by Christopher Bollas (see record 2012-33152-000). Encountering a person from a different culture often elicits reactions that can be informed by the psychoanalytic concept of transference: What of our perception is anchored in reality, and what is generated by fantasy? What are the real differences between two people, and what cultural biases might shape perceptions of difference? Extrapolating from the individual to the larger culture, we can ask similar questions: What human commonalities exist between two cultures, and what is unique to a culture? Do social and historical forces create unique cultures such that commonalities between distinctly different cultures are challenging to identify? In this monograph, Bollas addresses such questions, bringing his unique psychoanalytic perspective to understanding “Eastern” and “Western” cultural experiences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Review of Sex vs. survival: The life and ideas of Sabina Spielrein.
    Reviews the book, Sex vs. survival: The Life and Ideas of Sabina Spielrein by John Launer (2015). The general public may never have heard of Sabina Spielrein (1885–1942), a pioneer in psychoanalysis were it not for the recent David Cronenberg (2011) movie, A Dangerous Method, in which some kinky sexual scenes of foreplay and spanking depicts her as Carl Jung’s first “analytic” patient with whom he had a messy extramarital affair. As with so many historically based movies, this one was meant more for its dramatic entertainment values— though hyped as factual. Finally, with this book, Launer presents us with a full and authoritative biography of Sabina Spielrein. He details the essence of her diaries and correspondences, archival records and recollections by family members about her relationships with Jung and Freud as well as a veritable “who is who” in the psychoanalytic movement in Europe and Russia. In this highly readable book, Launer has knit it all together in a mosaic form with scholarly source details and helpful explication of jargoned psychoanalytic discourse. Launer’s book effectively challenges several speculative assertions in the extant often very partisan Jungian or Freudian accounts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Review of The African American experience: Psychoanalytic perspectives.
    Reviews the book, The African American Experience: Psychoanalytic Perspectives by Salman Akhtar (see record 2012-19055-000). This edited book represents a singular collection of scholarly voices united in presenting their multiple viewpoints on the development and knowledge of, and (heretofore) familiarity with aspects of the summative experiences of African Americans. Its contribution to the literature about the descendants of mostly Central and Western African tribes who were delivered, as slaves, to the United States of America cannot be exaggerated. As Akhtar concedes in his introduction, the book is an attempt both to upend established assumptions about “the history, the struggles, and the accomplishments of our fellow citizens who constitute twelve percent of the current population of the United States of America” and to offer accounts of resilience by African Americans when confronted with the transgenerational transmission of trauma from discrimination, prejudice, racism, and over 400 years of legal disenfranchisement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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