Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Friday,
Feb 12th
Home Leisure Arts, Culture & More How PTSD can transcend generations

How PTSD can transcend generations

E-mail Print PDF

This is most definitely a ghost story, but just as definitely is not about “ghosts” as they ordinarily come to mind.

Instead of visitations of disembodied spirits, Maryland psychologist-turned-novelist Michael Mil- graum addresses wounded spirits — and the ghosts he refers to are those of our past, even our ancestral, experiences.

Post-traumatic stress and its attendant psychological complications can come from any number of unfortunate events in our past — abuse or neglect as children, sexual abuse, encounters with excessive grief or violence.

These legacies of past trauma — ghosts, if you will — can be stubbornly destructive forces in people’s lives. They can very literally ruin lives.

But they can also be overcome.

Never Forget My Soul is a fictional explanation for how such a cure can be accomplished, as well as an illustration of how such trauma can be generated and later manifested.

The book has a lot to say about the value and power of group therapy — shared treatment between individuals with differing yet similar psychological conditions. It is a practice that many fear and just as many make fun of, perhaps out of discomfort.

In fact, group therapy can be a very uncomfortable experience — as the story makes clear — because for it to be effective it requires open and honest discussion of some of the most embarrassing, traumatic or even horrific experiences of our lives.

Milgraum draws both upon his experience as a psychologist and his skills as a storyteller to create characters and situations that are plausible and engrossing.

Readers see how the aftershocks of events that happened years or decades ago still linger today. Readers see the characters’ resistance and struggles through therapy and, at least in some cases, discover how their therapy can and does result in actual cures.

The Jewish reader will find even more depth than this, since the author also effectively illustrates how post-traumatic stress can be a multi-generational dynamic.

One of his central characters is the son of Holocaust survivors. His experiences growing up with parents who survived unspeakable horrors will be not only believable but familiar to the many American Jews who grew up in exactly those circumstances.

Ultimately, Never Forget My Soul is about healing, and the author has made a wise choice in how to convey his message. He has turned to fictional characters and situations, as opposed to actual case histories, to make his point intellectually and emotionally accessible to his readers.

In the end, the message comes across very well indeed.

Copyright © 2012 by the Intermountain Jewish News

Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 September 2012 11:42 )  

IJN e-Edition

This is only a taste! Get full access to the IJN via our e-Edition, only $14.04 for IJN Print subscribers.

E-Edition subscribers get access to a complete digital replica of the IJN, which includes all special sections.

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Shabbat Times

JTA News

Sanders, Clinton clash over whether to establish ties with Iran

Ron Kampeas (JTA) — Bernie Sanders and Hillary Rodham Clinton sharply differed over whether to establish diplomatic relations with Iran. Meeting in Milwaukee Thursday night for the latest debate in the race... [Link]

American Jewish leaders meet with Egyptian president

Ben Sales (JTA) — Leaders of the American Jewish community met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo. During the two-hour meeting Thursday, the delegation from the Conference of President... [Link]

‘Son of Sal’ serial killer, who murdered two Jews, convicted

Ben Sales Salvatore Perrone killed two Jewish shopkeepers in 2012, and faces 75 years to life in prison. ... [Link]

Israeli mikvahs must allow non-Orthodox conversions, Supreme Court rules

Uriel Heilman (JTA) – In a landmark decision, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that mikvahs in the country must open up to non-Orthodox conversion rites. Until now, Israeli mikvahs have denied access for conversion... [Link]

Nine laureates to share in Dan David Prize

Ben Sales The three prizes are given by the Dan David Prize Foundation annually in the categories of past, present and future. ... [Link]

Israeli Airbnb guest refused by British host because of ‘aggressive settlers’

Julie Wiener (JTA) — An Israeli man said a British Airbnb host refused to rent an apartment to him because, the host said, Israelis don’t respect “basic human rights.” Ben Kelmer, a Tel Aviv photographer, ... [Link]

Anti-Semitic educational videos pulled from NY schools

Julie Wiener NEW YORK (JTA) — A New York state legislator is calling on all state districts to avoid using an educational publisher whose videos inaccurately depict Judaism. On Wednesday, New York State Assembly... [Link]

Netanyahu appoints new Shin Bet chief

Julie Wiener (JTA) — Nadav Argaman, the Shin Bet security agency’s deputy director, has been appointed to the No. 1 position in the Israeli security service. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Thu... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942
email@ijn.com • larry@ijn.com • lori@ijn.com