Emotional Inheritance: A Therapist, Her Patients, and the Legacy of Trauma by Galit Atlas, PhD
"When we learn to identify the emotional inheritance that lives within us, things start to make sense and our lives begin to change. Slowly, a door opens, a gateway between present life and past trauma."
I wasn't planning on reading AND finishing this book in one day. I was just going to sit down and read the introduction to see if this was a book I wanted to keep reading or if I would take it back to the library. But before I knew it, I was on page 100 and couldn't stop reading. The only reason I didn't finish it in one sitting is because I needed to come up for air since the subject is so intense. Otherwise I would have finished it in one sitting; I was that riveted.
Emotional Inheritance was not what I was expecting. When I picked it up, I fully anticipated a book full of psychological jargon and written in expository format. Instead, the book is written entirely in narrative format, and each chapter is the story from one of Atlas' clients as it illustrates anecdotally how someone inherited the trauma they are currently wrestling with in their lives. While many people will say the anecdotal nature and lack of cited research discredits this book, I would argue that Atlas' intended audience means she used this format to compel the reader to seek out more information in the field of epigenetics and inherited trauma. The page-turning nature of this book will mean that the reader likely will seek out more information about this field and want to learn more.
But speaking of lack of citations, my only issue with this book is Atlas' frequent references to Freud which, I get that Freud got some things right, but given his lack of credibility in our present day, it feels like there should have been more context to citing his work since many people now find him so problematic.
Overall though, I thought what made Emotional Inheritance an effective read is how it compels the reader to learn more about the way trauma is baked into our DNA.
Published: January 25, 2022
Publisher: Little, Brown Spark
Disclosure: Library Copy