In The Burden of Heritage: Hauntings of Generational Trauma on Black Lives, Aileen Alleyne explores the unheeded dimensions of individual and collective identity trauma. She expands on her striking concept, the ‘internal oppressor’, that inhibits self-belief, full agency, and potential. She reworks the psychoanalytic concept of ‘hauntings’, separating it from Freud’s interpretation as unconscious repression, and instead presents it as a living and conscious element of the black trauma burden. To break the cycle of generational trauma, Alleyne suggests an active process of separation from archaic attachments, and engagement in intentional modes of transformation.
Alleyne makes use of her own experiences throughout, alongside therapeutic suggestions, approaches, and theoretical handles for steadying the practitioner in the consulting room. The book weaves the personal, historical, sociopolitical, and theoretical, and includes countless observational examples, clinical vignettes, and case material.
The Burden of Heritage offers effective tools to practitioners who work therapeutically with black and minority ethnic clients, and highlights ways to strengthen critical enquiry for deeper conceptual and theoretical understanding of generational trauma.