Transgenerational Trauma and the Aboriginal Preschool Child: Healing through Intervention approaches trauma from transgenerational perspectives that go back to the early colonization of Australia, and describes what that event has historically meant for the country's Aboriginal population and its culture. This history has continued to propagate traumatically across subsequent generations. This book reveals the work underway at Gunawirra, a group in Sydney founded to work against transgenerational trauma in families with children aged 0-5. The group then began working with projects in more than forty country preschools throughout the state of New South Wales.
Two intrinsic forms of healing that are an integral part of this ancient culture: Dadirri (deep listening), and The Dreaming, are foundational concepts for the treatment. While these concepts are core elements of the project, this book also employs fresh contemporary theory and case studies that present ways to effectively address the deeper psychological origins and presence of trauma in our present-day preschool children, and in traumatized children throughout the world. It gives special attention to the use of therapeutic measures based in psychoanalytic thought and related modes of responding to trauma. Through many moving examples the book unites-through art, stories of The Dreaming, and the ancient gift of listening-a powerful way of approaching present-day work with Aboriginal people and their children.
The contributors' work is at the forefront of field research, clinical work, and theoretical interdisciplinary work. This book is essential to workers and teachers who deal daily with traumatized children in their communities and schools. In the usefulness of its model, the depth of its thinking, and the intensity of its methodology, Transgenerational Trauma and the Aboriginal Preschool Child breaks new ground in the treatment of trauma for people who care for children everywhere.
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