Publication details [#584]

Pickering, Judith. 2012. Bearing the unbearable: ancestral transmission through dreams and moving metaphors in the analtyic field. Journal of Analytical Psychology 57 (5) : 573–700. 128 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Oxford: Blackwell Publishing


The author of this paper analyses the imagery and the projective/introjective processes at stake in the analytic relation with a patient, Racheal, who has decided to face untold and unresolved intergenerational trauma as emerging from her dreams. Unwitting carriers for that which was too horrific for their ancestors to bear, descendants may enter analysis through an unconscious need to uncover past secrets, piece together ancestral histories before the keys to comprehending their terrible inheritance die with their forebears. The author illustrates the back and forth processes from dream to waking dream thoughts to moving metaphors and differentiates the moving metaphor from a living symbol. It is argued that the containment of the analytic relationship nested within the security of the analytic space is a necessary precondition for such healing processes to occur.