Trauma and Recovery

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Judith Lewis Herman
Publication date: 1 January 1994
Publisher: Rivers Oram Press/Pandora List

Pages: 302
Explore the psychological consequences of the full range of traumatic life events. Integrating clinical and social perspective without sacrificing either the complexity of individual experience or the breadth of political context, ‘Trauma and Recovery’ brings a new level of understanding to a set of problems usually considered individually.

Judith Herman draws on her own research on domestic violence, as well as on a vast literature on combat veterans and victims of political terror, to show the parallels between private terrors like rape and public traumas such as terrorism. At the heart of the book is an approach to recovery that demands that the therapist depart from a stance of moral neutrality, working slowly toward integration rather than catharsis.

Herman’s analysis and conclusions challenge most conventional wisdom: for example, she shows how private experiences like incest and public trauma such as terrorism share fundamental similarities of disempowerment and denial; and she describes how childhood abuse has far more profound effects on personality than has been believed.