The Ancestor Syndrome: Transgenerational Psychotherapy and the Hidden Links in the Family Tree
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In The Ancestor Syndrome Anne Ancelin Schutzenberger explains and provides clinical examples of her unique psychogenealogical approach to psychotherapy. She shows how, as mere links in a chain of generations, we may have no choice in having the events and traumas experienced by our ancestors visited upon us in our own lifetime.
The book includes fascinating case studies and examples of 'genosociograms' (family trees) to illustrate how her clients have conquered seemingly irrational fears, psychological and even physical difficulties by discovering and understanding the parallels between their own life and the lives of their forebears. The theory of 'invisible loyalty' owed to previous generations, which may make us unwittingly re-enact their life events, is discussed in the light of ongoing research into transgenerational therapy.
Anne Ancelin Schutzenberger draws on over 20 years of experience as a therapist and analyst and is a well-respected authority, particularly in the field of Group Therapy and Psychodrama. First published as Aie, mes Aieux this fascinating insight into a unique style of clinical work has already sold over 32,000 copies in France and will appeal to anyone working in the psychotherapy profession.
time, or "forever." Sometimes, this state of affairs gives rise to dramatic situations between parents and children. For example, a son of a poor widow "who bled herself dry to bring him up and pay for his studies" might 32 The transgenerational approach feel obliged to keep his mother company continually and never dare marry or even go out with friends his own age as long as his mother remains alive. So, he either ruins or sacrifices his life, or makes a late life for himself after his
notebooks, published after his death, we discover that he wrote in a cryptic manner and that he felt tormented about being an illegitimate child, probably of a Belgian baron. In fact, in 1990, the story was verified one generation up: Herge's father, a twin, was probably the illegitimate child of a nobleman - or perhaps even a king. (Read the Tintin stories on Dupont and Dupond, who "don't understand a thing.") In certain novels and stories, you can, treading lightly, discover the shadows of the
transgenerationai approach Transgenerational and intergenerational memory revisited: living memory and ingrained memory gaps We differentiate between two kinds of family transmission, conscious/ unconscious, "assimilated" or not. "Intergenerational transmissions" are transmissions thought and spoken about between grandparents, parents and children. They include family habits, skills, ways of being: one is a doctor, a teacher, a farmer, a notary, a sailor, or an army officer from father to son;
you find real adult persons with structured and differentiated selves, and on the bottom you find those living under the grip of the family ego, unable to distance themselves from their own family life experience. Bowen also pointed to the frequent triangular conflicts in families, where two gang up against one. He developed a technique for transforming a triangular relationship into a dyad, and in doing so raised the question of anxiety transmission from one generation to another if the
towards our parents when they become old, including helping them live their final years and make the passage from life to death. "Parentification" consists of the reversal of values, creating the situation in which children, even at a very young age, become the parents of their own parents, being obliged to take care of them. Let us take a classic example, a simple one. In a certain number of families, particularly low-income or rural families, the eldest daughter often takes the role of mother,