September 11: Trauma and Human Bonds

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Susan W. Coates, Jane L. Rosenthal, Daniel S. Schechter
Analytic Press, 2003 - Psychology - 293 pages
Drawing on research from a variety of domains - clinical studies of trauma, developmental psychopathology, interpersonal psychobiology, epidemiology, and social policy - September 11: Trauma and Human Bonds addresses especially the fundamental relationship of human bonds to trauma and underscores the manner in which developments in all these fields are coming together in complementary ways that sustain a key finding: that trauma must be understood in its relational and attachment contexts.  The quality of early emotional attachments, differences in attachment styles to family milieus, and the psychological qualities that enable traumatized parents to avoid traumatizing their children are among the topics through which these contexts are explored.  From their various disciplinary vantage points, the contributions converge to show how human relationships can either provide an anodyne to trauma or serve as the vehicle of its transmission.
 
As Susan Coates observes, a major legacy of 9/11 is the realization that "there are no simple truths in the world of trauma studies, no easy-to-remember anodynes or pharmacologic magic bullets or depth-psychological schematizations that will hold true for a majority or even a sizable minority of cases."  Yet, in delineating the multiple connections between human relations and trauma, and in elaborating these connections from multiple disciplinary perspectives, the contributors to September 11 have taken a decisive first step to consolidate new knowledge about trauma and to demonstrate how it can assist clinicians who encounter diverse responses to trauma in their day-to-day work.  A sobering reminder of shared human vulnerability in the face of devastating events, September 11 is also a heartening reminder of resiliency in the face of overwhelming loss and of the healing potential of human connection.
 

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This is a classic! It is the first book written by clinicians who worked with famililes in New York at the time immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks as well as neuroscientific and epidemiologic researchers, and public health policy experts. The clinical examples are extraordinary and the book introduces the reader to the era of trauma research that followed. A must have for the clinician, trauma researcher, teacher, interested lay reader and historian alike. 

About the author (2003)

Susan W. Coates, Ph.D., is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Director, The Parent-Infant Program, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.

Jane L. Rosenthal, M.D., is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Faculty, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.

Daniel S. Schechter, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry (in Pediatrics), Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; Medical Director, Infant-Family Service, New York-Presbyterian Hospital; and Director of Research, The Parent-Infant Program, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.

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