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Transgenerational Trauma and the Aboriginal Preschool Child


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Table of Contents

Foreword, Ursula Kim Acknowledgments Introduction Part I. History and Background Chapter 1 Mirrored Images: The Story of Many Reflected in One Aboriginal Family's Journey Jackie Stewart and Maria Losurdo Chapter 2 Gunawirra and the Gunawirra Trauma Project: A Background Norma Tracey Part II. A Theoretical Base for Understanding Trauma in the Aboriginal Preschool Child Chapter 3 Building a Floor for Experience: A Model for Thinking about Children's Experience Jeffrey L. Eaton Chapter 4 Understanding Trauma for Aboriginal Preschool Children: Hearing Their Voices Norma Tracey Chapter 5 The Neurobiological Basis of Trauma in Early Childhood Shiri Hergass Chapter 6 Trauma, Childhood, and Emotional Resilience Marilyn Charles Chapter 7 The Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma: Effects on Identity Development in Aboriginal People Marilyn Charles Chapter 8 The Importance of Being Contained: Kylie, for Whom Nothing Could Be Held Celia Conolly and Judy King Part III. Treating Trauma for the Aboriginal Preschool Child and Family Chapter 9 Mr. Carrots Counts the Time Judy King and Celia Conolly Chapter 10 The Five Big Ideas: A Road Forward Norma Tracey and Shiri Hergass Chapter 11 Using the Weaving Thoughts Peer Method to Generate Meaning: Putting the Bits and Pieces Together Ionas Sapountzis and Judy King Chapter 12 Hitting the Wall: The Hidden Effects of Caring Relationships Ingo Lambrecht and Aretha Paterson Chapter 13 Art as an Opening of a Door to Aboriginal Culture and Identity Graham Toomey Notes on Contributors Index

About the Author

Norma Tracey is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with thirty-five years of experience specializing in work with mothers and infants up to age five. She has been a social worker for over fifty years.


The pre-conceptive space created by Tracey and her coworkers shows the honest and caring holding of the various insidious ways trauma comes to be manifested at the deepest psychic level in the lives of 3- to 5-year-old children and their respective families. From screaming to dreaming is the primary focus in the work described here, especially in the transformation of extinction threat, persecutory anxiety, and the agonies associated with them. The reader will be deeply touched by the various authors' and clients' ability to achieve with-ness, their being-there capacity, which speak to our very humanity. This book is more than an account of clinical efficacy and general trauma theory; it should be read as an ethical work. The protection of the autochthonous drive remains a central feature of psychoanalytic thinking, and this work is a true testament to man's divine spark. -- Loray Daws, PhD, International Masterson Institute
The center of this highly successful project is Sydney, Australia, but implications for trans-generational trauma apply to many populations and places. Educators, therapists and others working with or interested in early childhood will benefit. Cultural, individual and familial trauma is addressed by a wide variety of modalities. The group is psychoanalytically informed, using art, social work and traditional Aboriginal dream dialogue, open to creative resources and needs of the moment. Norma Tracey is a generative force in this development, with illuminating helpers of varying nationalities, sensibilities and interests. The work she has assembled deserves a wide readership as, I feel, it can benefit child and family work in many settings. -- Michael Eigen, PhD, author of Flames from the Unconscious: Trauma, Madness and Faith
The stories of the trauma trails from intergenerational wounds that are the terrible legacy of Aboriginal people in Australia are almost too much to bear. However, these stories will continue unless determined teachers, therapists, and school managers come together in conversation with local indigenous communities to construct spaces of healing and to stitch back together narratives of ancestral lineage and dreaming that have been so cruelly ruptured. This book provides a powerful illustration of the power of locally adapted applications of psychodynamic child therapy and creative arts to enrich the lives of children and teachers, and reverse some of the damage that dominant society has inflicted on indigenous Australians. -- Michael O'Loughlin, PhD, Adelphi University
With its poignant, heartfelt, and detailed descriptions of creative, psychotherapeutically informed attempts to make a difference, this is a valuable resource for all who work with Aboriginal children and their families. -- Louise Gyler, PhD, private practice, Sydney, Australia

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