The Unbroken Soul: Tragedy, Trauma, and Human Resilience (Margaret S. Mahler)

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9780765705884: The Unbroken Soul: Tragedy, Trauma, and Human Resilience (Margaret S. Mahler)
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How do individuals cope constructively with significant trauma? How do they recover from it? What factors seem most codetermining of coping with and recovering from trauma? Can these be not only identified but also influenced by our interventions? Addressing these questions-questions about human beings' capacity for resilience-is the prime challenge taken up in this book by an assortment of international psychoanalytic, attachment, and biological mental health theorists and clinicians. While mental health professionals are well trained to identify and treat psychopathology, little is taught about how to look for strengths in patients that assist them in their coping and that, on their own and with our nurturance, can foster their recovery. Some of the contributors to this volume, having themselves been subjected to severe trauma, speak of resilience both from within their own experience, from those around them, and from their work with traumatized patients.

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About the Author:

Henri Parens, M.D. is professor of psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia.
Salman Akhtar, M.D. is professor of psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College, training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia, and a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Psychoanalysts.
Harold P. Blum, M.D. is clinical professor of psychiatry and training analyst at New York University School of Medicine.

Review:

During the last 30 years I have visited various parts of the world scarred by wars or war-like conditions. In these situations I often observed that traumatized refugees or internally displaced persons dropped dead without any apparent reason. However, I was also sometimes amazed to observe that other individuals in such locations were able to keep their self-esteem and dignity, adapt to the tragedies, and even offer leadership to those around them, helping to lift their spirits. This book taught me a great deal about the psychology of resilience, a very new field of psychodynamic investigation, and reminded me that trauma studies are not complete without the inclusion of developing theories about unbroken souls. (Vamik D. Volkan M.D., professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA and the author of Killing in the Name of Identity: Stories of Bloody Conflicts.)

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