Freud wrote to Binswanger on the anniversary of his daughter's death, "We will remain inconsolable. I don't care for my grandchildren anymore, but find no joy in life anymore."The author poses the question in this book; what legacy does grief, loss, trauma have upon the second and third generations? When Freud wrote "I don't care for my grandchildren anymore', what impact did his agonised grief have upon them?This book is a meditation on the ideas that have evolved in response to this question over the author's thirty years as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Her central thesis is that we must not ignore, in our psychoanalytic practice, the impact of our ancestral history, especially if our ancestors have suffered, for their anguish can return and haunt us. It is the anguished return of traumatic experience that repeats itself across the generations and affects the way the next generation is perceived.

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