Splintered Innocence: An Intuitive Approach to Treating War Trauma

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The horrific scale of destruction due to the Second World War in countries all over the world is well known. A whole generation of children grew up being exposed to the horrors of war early on in life, yet the dimension and legacy of the long-term psychological impact of these early traumatic experiences has been a sadly neglected topic in the therapeutic and mental health literature. This book is designed to help counselors and therapists working with adults and children from a variety of backgrounds who have suffered war trauma in childhood.
Splintered Innocence is firmly based on the author's own clinical practice and also draws on his innovative style of intuitive discovery and exploration of childhood war trauma. Powerful examples of case studies illustrate the disturbing extent and complex spectrum of the long-term psychological damage caused by childhood war trauma. The author considered how these cases and others like them can be understood and can themselves shape theories about how to treat patients suffering from war trauma. Practical suggestions are made for mental health professionals, counselors, and therapists working with such patients, and how the likely consequences for the new generations of children involved in current conflicts can be assessed.
This book will be invaluable to counselors, psychotherapists, and other professional working with those who have suffered war trauma in childhood, including academics, teachers, and volunteer workers. It will also be of interest to the educated general reader.
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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Nasri Jacir, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: The author offers a psychotherapeutic paradigm of looking at trauma. His work is mainly targeted at dealing with war trauma, but it can also be extended to apply to rather conventional psychotherapy.
Purpose: The book does not use the most rigorous of methods in stating its case, but through the presentation of various clinical cases, the author offers a pseudo-scientific way of looking at the uncharted field of the psychology of war and conflict. The book is primarily directed at helping the clinician working with patients from war-torn areas. Although the clinical material is mostly from post-World War II Europe, the methods, as the author points out, might well benefit people in most of the world's hot spots.
Audience: The book is appropriate for the experienced therapist as well as the layperson. Its case presentations are fascinating to read and might be interesting to anyone with a specific interest in the topic.
Features: Most of the clinical cases are engrossing and really involve the reader. Emphasis is given to the need for obtaining historical and autobiographical information when interviewing patients. The author successfully demonstrates how such information can help uncover painful traumatic war memories and how such insight can be central to any therapy. Concepts such as parallel processing and sculpting are interesting and seem to contribute to this paradigm.
Assessment: This book provides a new dimension of looking at the psychiatric patient. In the aftermath of the terror attacks in New York, it will probably be an important starting point for a field that has not been thoroughly studied.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415223621
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Heinl is a psychiatrist, psycho and family therapist in private practice in the UK and Germany, and has personal experience of post was trauma.

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Table of Contents

1 Victims without words: the shadows of war on adult faces 1
The distant thunder of history 1
The silence of the guitar 4
'Angst': the grimace of war 6
A spell of dizziness 10
Mysterious depression 14
An infant's journey 17
The dream of the white stars 22
The memory of a river crossing 24
A timeless night 26
A mourning ritual 28
2 A parallel process 30
Self-observation: the making of my own conscious links 30
3 Complexities, connections and unconscious constructs 34
The silver necklace 34
The enigma of the desert 42
A journey into the abyss of consciousness: the story of a child witness 53
4 Recognizing patterns 63
(Post-)war childhood trauma: the mosaic of psychological sequelae 63
The spectrum of polytrauma 70
Disturbances of mental organization: anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and beyond 83
5 Uncovering (post-)war trauma in childhood 88
Creating an awareness 88
The wider picture: obstacles, challenges and authoritarian abuse 99
6 To see or not to see...the unconscious: the role of intuition 108
Intuition: the struggle to comprehend 109
Perceptual thinking: the capacity of looking into the early world of trauma 113
Object sculpts: levels of meaning and space-time transformations 120
Intuition: the icon of a new thinking about thinking 123
7 Between despair and hope: the challenges of perception and prevention 133
Children in current wars 133
Building bridges: Holocaust and (post-)war trauma in childhood 139
Childhood without war: a utopian dream? 144
Splintered innocence 152
Timeless gratitude 154
Bibliography 155
Index 163
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