Emotional Inheritance

A Therapist, Her Patients, and the Legacy of Trauma


By Galit Atlas

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Award-winning psychoanalyst Dr. Galit Atlas draws on her patients' stories—and her own life experiences—to shed light on how generational trauma affects our lives in this "intimate, textured, compassionate" book (Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of The Healing Power of Mindfulness).

The people we love and those who raised us live inside us; we experience their emotional pain, we dream their memories, and these things shape our lives in ways we don’t always recognize. Emotional Inheritance is about family secrets that keep us from living to our full potential, create gaps between what we want for ourselves and what we are able to have, and haunt us like ghosts. 
In this transformative book, Galit Atlas entwines the stories of her patients, her own stories, and decades of research to help us identify the links between our life struggles and the “emotional inheritance” we all carry. For it is only by following the traces those ghosts leave that we can truly change our destiny.


A Trace in the Mind

Every family carries some history of trauma. Every trauma is held within a family in a unique way and leaves its emotional mark on those who are yet to be born.

In the last decade, contemporary psychoanalysis and empirical research have expanded the literature on epigenetics and inherited trauma, investigating the ways in which trauma is transmitted from one generation to the next and held in our minds and bodies as our own. In studying the intergenerational transmission of trauma, clinicians investigate how our ancestors’ trauma is passed down as an emotional inheritance, leaving a trace in our minds and in those of future generations.

Emotional Inheritance is about silenced experiences that belong not only to us but to our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, and about the ways they impact our lives. It is these secrets that often keep us from living to our full potential. They affect our mental and physical health, create gaps between what we want for ourselves and what we are able to have, and haunt us like ghosts. This book will introduce the ties connecting past, present, and future and ask: how do we move forward?

From a very young age, my siblings and I learned to recognize what wasn’t acceptable to talk about. We never asked about death. We tried not to mention sex, and it was better not to be too sad, too angry or disappointed, and absolutely not too loud. My parents didn’t burden us with unhappiness, and they believed in optimism. When they described their childhoods, they were painted in beautiful colors, hiding trauma, poverty, and the pain of racism and immigration.

Both my parents were young children when their families left everything behind and emigrated to Israel, my father from Iran and my mother from Syria. Both grew up with six siblings in poor neighborhoods and struggled not only with poverty but also with the prejudice that came with being from an ethnic group considered inferior in Israel in the 1950s.

I knew that my father had two sisters who got sick and died when they were toddlers, before he was born, and that as a baby he was very ill himself and almost didn’t survive. His father, my grandfather, who was blind from birth, needed my father to go to work with him, to sell newspapers on the street. As a child I was aware that my father hadn’t gone to school and had worked to support his family since he was seven years old. He taught me how to work hard, as he longed for me to get an education that he could never afford for himself.

Like my father, my mother had also struggled as a baby with life-threatening illness. She had lost her oldest brother when she was ten years old, an enormous trauma for the whole family. My mother didn’t have many childhood memories and therefore those are unknown to me. I’m not sure my parents ever realized how similar their histories were, how their bond was silently tied with illness, poverty, early loss, and shame.

Like many other families, our family colluded and shared the unspoken understanding that silence was the best way to erase what was unpleasant. The assumption in those days was that what you don’t remember won’t hurt you. But what if what you don’t remember is in fact remembered, in spite of your best efforts?

I was their first child, and their traumatic past lived in my body.

There were wars where I grew up, and so often we, the kids, felt frightened, not fully aware that we were being raised in the shadow of the Holocaust, and that violence, loss, and endless grief were our national heritage.

The Yom Kippur War, by then the fifth war since 1948, broke out when I was only two years old. My sister was born on the first day of that war. Like all the other men, my father was called to serve in the army. I was left with a neighbor while my mother went alone to the hospital to give birth to my sister. The massive attack on Israel took everyone by surprise, and many wounded soldiers were rushed into the hospitals, which then became too crowded for women in labor. The women were moved to the hallways.

I don’t remember a lot from that war, but as it usually is with childhood experiences, it was all perceived as pretty normal. For years to come, the school had a monthly “war drill.” We children practiced walking quietly into the shelters, happy that instead of studying we were playing board games in the shelter and joking about the missile that might hit or the terrorists who would come with weapons and take us hostage. We were taught that nothing should be too difficult to handle, that danger was a normal part of life, and that all we needed was to be brave and keep a sense of humor.

I was never afraid at school; only at night did I worry that a terrorist might choose our house from all the other houses in the country, and then I wouldn’t be able to save my family. I thought about all the good places people used to hide during the Holocaust: the basement, the attic, behind the library, in the closet. The secret was to make sure to always keep quiet.

But I wasn’t so good at being quiet. As a teenager, I started making music, wondering if all I needed was to make noise and be heard. When I stood on stages, music was the magic. It gave voice to what I could not otherwise speak out loud. It was my protest against the unspoken.

Then, in 1982, the Lebanon War erupted and I was old enough to recognize that something terrible was happening. To the school’s memorial wall were added more and more names, this time of young people we knew. Parents who had lost their boys came to the school for the ceremony of Memorial Day. I was proud to be the one singing for them, looking straight into their eyes and making sure I didn’t cry because then I would ruin the song and someone else might have to take my place behind the mic. We ended the ceremony every year with “Shir La Shalom” (“A Song for Peace”), one of the most well-known Israeli songs. We sang for peace from the depth of our hearts. We wanted to have a new beginning and liberate our future.

I grew up on our parents’ promise that by the time the children were eighteen and had to serve in the army, there would be no more wars. But that, to this day, has not happened. I served in the army as a musician, praying for peace, traveling from one army base to another, crossing borders, singing for the soldiers. I was a nineteen-year-old soldier when the Gulf War started.

We were on the road and the rock-and-roll music we played was loud, so loud that we had to make sure we didn’t miss the sound of the sirens and could run to the shelters to put on our gas masks in time. At some point, we decided to give up on the masks and the shelters and instead ran to the roofs every time there was a siren so we could watch the missiles from Iraq and try to guess where they would fall. After each thunderous explosion, we would go back to our music and play it even louder.

We sang for the soldiers, who were also our childhood friends, neighbors, and siblings. And when they teared up, as they often did, I felt the power of touching another heart with my own, voicing the unspeakable. Our music expressed so much of what no one could say out loud: that we were scared but were not allowed to admit it even to ourselves, that we were still too young and wanted to go home, fall in love, travel far away. That we wanted normal lives but we were not sure what “normal” meant. Making music and singing out loud were meaningful and liberating. It was the beginning of my journey of a search for truths, the unveiling of the emotional inheritance within me.

Eventually, some years later, I left my homeland, moved to New York City, and began studying the unspeakable—all those silent memories, feelings, and desires that are outside awareness. I became a psychoanalyst, exploring the unconscious.

The analysis of the mind, like a mystery story, is an investigation. We know that Sigmund Freud, the great sleuth of the unconscious mind, was a big fan of Sherlock Holmes and maintained a large library of detective fiction. In some ways, Freud borrowed Holmes’s method: gathering evidence, searching for a truth beneath the surface truth, seeking out hidden realities.

Like detectives, my patients and I try to follow the signs and listen not only to what they say but also to their pauses, to the music of that which is unknown to both of us. It is delicate work, collecting reminiscences of childhood, of what was said or done, listening to the omissions, to stories untold. Looking for clues, piecing these together into a picture, we ask, What really happened and to whom?

The secrets of the mind include not only our own life experiences but also those that we unknowingly carry with us: the memories, feelings, and traumas that we inherit from previous generations.

It was right after World War II when psychoanalysts first began examining the impact of trauma on the next generation. Many of those analysts were Jews who had escaped Europe. Their patients were Holocaust survivors and later the offspring of those trauma survivors, children who carried some unconscious trace of their ancestors’ pain.

Starting in the 1970s, neuroscience validated the psychoanalytic findings that survivors’ trauma—even the darkest secrets they never talked about—had a real effect on their children’s and grandchildren’s lives. Those relatively new studies are focused on epigenetics, the nongenetic influences and modifications of gene expression. They analyze how genes are altered in the descendants of trauma survivors and study the ways in which the environment, and especially trauma, can leave a chemical mark on a person’s genes that is passed down to the next generation. That empirical research emphasizes the major role that stress hormones play in how the brain develops, and thus in the biological mechanisms by which trauma is transmitted from generation to generation.

A large body of research done at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital by Dr. Rachel Yehuda, director of traumatic stress studies, and her team reveals that the offspring of Holocaust survivors have lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that helps the body bounce back after trauma. It was found that descendants of people who survived the Holocaust have different stress-hormone profiles than their peers, perhaps predisposing them to anxiety disorders. Research indicates that healthy offspring of Holocaust survivors as well as of enslaved people, of war veterans, and of parents who experienced major trauma are more likely to present symptoms of PTSD after traumatic events or after witnessing a violent incident.

From an evolutionary perspective, the purpose of those kinds of epigenetic changes might be to biologically prepare children for an environment similar to that of their parents and help them survive, but in fact they often leave them more vulnerable to carrying symptoms of trauma that they didn’t experience firsthand.

This research is not surprising for those of us who study the human mind. In our clinical work we see how traumatic experience invades the psyche of the next generation and shows itself in uncanny and often surprising ways. The people we love and those who raised us live inside us; we experience their emotional pain, we dream their memories, we know what was not explicitly conveyed to us, and these things shape our lives in ways that we don’t always understand.

We inherit family traumas, even those that we haven’t been told about. Working in Paris with Holocaust survivors and their children, the Hungarian-born psychoanalysts Maria Torok and Nicolas Abraham used the word “phantom” to describe the many ways in which the second generation felt their parents’ devastation and losses, even when the parents never talked about them. Their inherited feelings of the parents’ unprocessed trauma were the phantoms that lived inside them, the ghosts of the unsaid and the unspeakable. It is those “ghostly” experiences, not quite alive but also not dead, that we inherit. They invade our reality in visible and actual ways; they loom in, leaving traces. We know and feel things and we don’t always recognize their source.

Emotional Inheritance interweaves my patients’ narratives and my own personal stories of love and loss, personal and national trauma, with a psychoanalytic lens and the most recent psychological research. It describes the many ways in which we can locate the ghosts of the past that hold us back and interfere with our lives. Everything we do not consciously know is relived. It is held in our minds and in our bodies and makes itself known to us via what we call symptoms: headaches, obsessions, phobias, insomnia, can all be signs of what we have pushed away to the darkest recesses of our minds.

How do we inherit, hold, and process things that we don’t remember or didn’t experience ourselves? What is the weight of that which is present but not fully known? Can we really keep secrets from one another, and what do we pass on to the next generation?

Those and other questions are explored on the path to setting free the parts of ourselves kept in captivity by the secrets of the past.

This book was born on the couch, in the intimate dialogue between my patients and me. With their permission, it introduces their emotional inheritance, unthinkable trauma, and hidden truths, as well as my own, as we move beyond the legacy of trauma. I explore feelings that are forbidden, memories that our minds forget or trivialize, and pieces of our history that our loyalty to those we love doesn’t always allow us to truly know or remember. Each story presents its own unique way of examining the past while looking forward to the future. When we are ready to unpack our inheritance, we are able to confront the ghosts we carry within.

In the book, I describe the many faces of inherited trauma, its impact, and how we move forward. Part I focuses on the third generation of survivors: a grandparent’s trauma as it presents itself in the grandchild’s mind. I look into the secrets of forbidden love, at infidelity and its relation to intergenerational trauma. I investigate the ghosts of sexual abuse, the effects of suicide on the next generations, and the remnants of homophobia in the unconscious mind. I discuss Professor Yolanda Gampel’s idea of “the radioactivity of trauma,” which is the emotional “radiation” of disaster that spreads into the lives of the generations that follow.

Part II focuses on our parents’ buried secrets. It explores unspeakable truths from the time before we were born or from our infancy. Those truths, although not consciously known to us, shape our lives. I discuss how one can become frozen from the loss of a sibling, I introduce the idea of “unwelcome” babies and their death wish as adults, and I analyze a soldier’s trauma and masculine vulnerability as revealed in the therapeutic relationship.

Part III searches for the secrets we keep from ourselves, the realities that are too threatening to know or that we can’t fully process. These are stories of motherhood, of loyalties and lies, physical abuse, friendship and painful loss, demonstrating how often something is, in fact, known to us even as it is kept in a hidden place in our minds.

The secrets we keep from ourselves are meant to protect us by distorting reality and to help us hold unpleasant information far from our consciousness. In order to do that, we use our defense mechanisms: we idealize those we don’t want to feel ambivalent about, identify with the parent who abused us, split the world into good and bad in order to organize the world as safe and predictable. We project into the other what we don’t want to feel or what makes us too anxious to know about ourselves.

It is the emotional defense mechanism of repression that trivializes our memories and strips them of meaning. Repression protects us by splitting a memory from its emotional significance. In those cases, the trauma is held in the mind as an event that is “not a big deal,” “nothing important.” The disconnect between ideas and feelings allows us to protect ourselves from feeling something too devastating but also keeps the trauma isolated and unprocessed.

Our defenses are important for our mental health. They manage our emotional pain and design our perception of ourselves and of the world around us. Their protective function, however, also limits our ability to examine our lives and live them to the fullest. Those experiences that were too painful for us to entirely grasp and process are the ones that are passed down to the next generation. It is those traumas that are unspeakable and too painful for the mind to digest that become our own inheritance and impact our offspring, and their offspring, in ways they cannot understand or control.

Most of the personal stories that I tell here are accounts of buried traumas from the past that were held silently between people, life events that were not fully conveyed but still were known by others in cryptic ways. It is the stories that have never been told, the sounds that have often been muted, that leave us undone. I invite you to come with me to break the silence, to trace and discover the ghosts that limit our freedom, the emotional inheritance that prevents us from following our dreams, from creating, loving, and living to our full potential.



Eve drives an hour, twice a week, to get to her session with me. She tells me that she hates driving, and how much she wishes someone would drive her, wait for her outside my office, and then drive her back home. She doesn’t need that person to entertain her; they don’t even need to talk. It would be more than enough for her to just sit next to the driver and listen to the music in the background.

I feel a wave of sadness listening to Eve describing herself sitting silently next to the driver. I picture the little girl she used to be, trying to be good and quiet, not to interrupt anyone, not to get in trouble, pretending she doesn’t exist.

I asked her in one of our first sessions what her earliest childhood memory was. She said, “I was five years old, waiting outside school for my mother to pick me up, and she forgot. I figured that I had to sit there and wait until my mother remembered. ‘Be patient,’ I told myself.”

A first childhood memory often conceals within it the main ingredients of future therapy. It frequently illustrates the reasons the patient seeks therapy, and portrays a picture of the patient’s view of herself. Every memory hides within it previous and also subsequent repressed memories.

Eve’s first memory conveys to me the experience of being forgotten. Slowly it becomes clear that she was often left alone with no parental supervision and that she grew up, the oldest of four children, in a family where there was much neglect and emotional deadness.

I feel drawn to Eve. She is in her forties, her long brunette hair flowing onto her shoulders, her green eyes usually covered with big dark sunglasses. Eve takes off her sunglasses as she walks into the room, then quickly sits on the couch. She greets me with a shy smile, and I notice the dimple on her right cheek. She takes off her high heels and stays barefoot, sitting crossed legged on the couch. Eve is beautiful, and in some moments, when looking at me with the eyes of a young girl, she seems lost.

I wonder if Eve’s mother eventually picked her up, and I try to imagine how Eve felt waiting there for her, hiding her fear that her mother might never come.

I ask, but Eve is silent. She doesn’t remember. In our sessions, she often becomes dissociative, gazing out the window as if she is with me but also not with me. Something about her is breathtaking, but at times she seems flat.

Eve is frequently distant; she is careful about expressing intense emotion, and she lapses into long silences.

I look at her and wonder if I, too, am assigned to be her driver, a grown-up in her life, someone who will be there on time, take control, and drive her to where she needs to be. I sit quietly, aware that it might take a while for her to look at me or say anything.

“I was with him again last night,” she opens the session, referring to her lover, Josh, whom she sees a few times a week.

Around 8 p.m. when his colleagues leave, he opens Line, the Japanese app they use to text each other, and sends her a message to come to his office. Eve explains to me that they needed a safe way to communicate.

“When Josh first suggested we use this app, I thought he said ‘Lying’ instead of ‘Line,’ and I said to myself, ‘What a strangely inappropriate name for an app.’” She laughs and then adds sarcastically, “I think there should be a network for cheaters, maybe a chat room where they share information and give each other advice, like the groups they have for new mothers. Someone should have made a business out of it, don’t you think? Millions of people are lost and confused, not sure how to survive adultery.” She smiles but seems sadder than ever.

She doesn’t look at me. “Josh and I bought a membership to SoulCycle as an alibi for meeting each other in the evenings. It’s a good excuse to come home sweaty and go right into the shower.” She pauses and adds, “Washing his smell off my body always makes me sad. I would rather go to sleep with it.”

Eve takes a breath, as if she is trying to calm herself, and then adds with a smile, “Josh thinks SoulCycle can make money from selling an ‘alibi package,’ where people can buy false memberships at a discount price.”

I smile back, even as I know that none of this is funny. There is so much confusion, guilt, and fear in her witty way of telling me things. Suddenly she is fully present and I feel the intensity of her pain. She is alive, I think, and I wonder out loud if she wants to say more about her love affair.

During our first session Eve told me that she was married and had two children. Her daughter had just turned twelve and her son was nine. She told me she had decided to start therapy because something terrible had happened, something that made her realize she needed help. Then she told me about Josh.

Eve spends a few evenings a week in Josh’s office. Josh is a creature of habit and they have a routine: first they have sex, then they order food, and when they have finished eating he drives her home.

Eve tells me about their sex, first hesitantly and then in detail.

“With Josh, nothing is in my control,” she says, looking to see if I understand what she means. She explains that in her submission to him she feels held. She feels that he knows everything about her and about her body, and that she can lose control under his domination.

“He brings me back to life, do you know what I mean?” She doesn’t wait for an answer.

Life and death, from the start, are strong forces in Eve’s narrative. We begin exploring the links between sex, death and reparation, and the uncanny ways these are related to Eve’s family history. Her mother, I learn, had lost her own mother to cancer when she was fourteen years old. For two years Eve’s mother took care of her dying mother but a part of her died with her. Eve and I will slowly realize how through sexual submission she gets in touch with her longing to be taken care of, to stay alive and to repair a traumatic past.

Eve looks at her watch and starts putting on her shoes, preparing for the end of the session. Then she leans back and says quietly:

“When we are done and Josh drives me home, I become emotional. I love having sex with him and I love when he drives me.”

There is another moment of silence, and she says, almost whispering, “I look at him holding the steering wheel, a serious look on his face, and I think that he is the most handsome man I have ever met. And I want to kiss him but I know it’s not a good idea; after all, we are not in his office anymore, and we make believe that he is my car-service driver.

“He drops me off a few blocks from my building, and when I say good night my heart breaks a little. I really don’t want to go upstairs, back into the highway of my life. Josh knows exactly how I feel, and without me needing to say anything, he tells me, ‘Don’t forget how much I love you. I’ll see you on Wednesday. It’s very soon; it’s sooner than you think.’

“I make a face and he knows that I think Wednesday is years from now and that I will have so many feelings and thoughts that he won’t be a part of until Wednesday, and he says, ‘I’m on our app. I’m here, even if I’m not physically with you.’”

She puts on her sunglasses. “This is usually when I stop feeling anything and leave the car.” I see that she becomes disconnected in order to leave him, and that she does it again right before my eyes as she tells me about it. I lose her to a long silence before she leaves.

Many of my patients come to see me because of my professional writing and teaching on the subject of sexuality. I see men and women who feel destroyed by a partner’s affair, others who had or are having affairs, and those who are lovers of married people. Their stories are different and their motivations are diverse, but all these people reveal themselves to be tortured as they struggle with their own secrets or with the secrets of the people in their lives.

While I am aware of the transactional aspect of every relationship, I also believe in love. I believe in the power of attachment between two people, in loyalty as one of the basic foundations of trust, and I consider destructive and creative forces to be part of every relationship. We love and at times we also hate the people we love; we trust them but are also afraid of the injuries and hurt they might cause us. One of the goals associated with growth is the ability to integrate positive and negative feelings: to hate lovingly, to love while recognizing moments of disappointment and anger. The more we can know and own our destructive urges, the more able we become to love fully.


  • "An intimate, textured, and compassionate exploration of intergenerational trauma, how it is carried and transmitted within families, and how it can be skillfully invited in, recognized, attenuated, and perhaps resolved through the therapeutic relationship, metabolizing what has hitherto not been named or nameable."—Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of The Healing Power of Mindfulness
  • "Beautiful, artistic, and elegant. Dr. Atlas skillfully uses stories from her practice to explore the archeology of transgenerational trauma. The descriptions of the therapeutic process pull you in; you come to know both patient and therapist. In doing so, you cannot help but reflect on your own journey. Emotional Inheritance is a gem for anyone, but it is an essential read for those seeking to understand trauma, therapy, and the healing process."—Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD, coauthor (with Oprah Winfrey) of the #1 New York Times Bestseller What Happened to You?
  • “Atlas’s heady and beautiful book offers much insight, as well as tools for beginning to unpack the stories we’re living, stories that aren’t actually ours to live.”—Oprah Daily
  • "Dr. Atlas writes with profound living compassion for those who have carried, in their bodies, minds, hearts, spirits and souls, the most often unspoken and secret traumas of their own hurt elders. As a first-generation American child growing up in my tough family of war refugees, deportees—the ethnically cleansed, struggling immigrants, I humbly assert that I know about generational traumas in depth. I recognize Dr. Atlas as one who writes in full knowing detail—about what I call in my work, ‘the generational wound."—Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés Reyés, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves
  • "With elegance, Galit Atlas explains the troubling and nourishing aspects of our emotional inheritances. She deftly shows why the hurts and stuckness that can plague us can be faced and, yes, dissolved. Contemporary psychoanalysis at its best. And good storytelling, too."—Susie Orbach, author of Fat Is a Feminist Issue
  • "An illuminating book. The stories Dr. Atlas shares reveal the potency of our inherited wounds, showing how the experiences of our ancestors shape our lives in quiet but far-reaching ways, and how we all have the potential to heal."—Lori Gottlieb, author of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone
  • "Galit Atlas has given us a gift with her book Emotional Inheritance. With warmth and compassion, she is able to show the reader the ways our present challenges could be linked to our inherited past. Using patient stories and her own experiences, we are taken on a journey of discovery. By sharing these stories, she gives us a glimpse behind our own curtains and helps us understand that if we are open to the possibility of hope, now might be the right time to break the silence our ancestors have held for so long."—Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness
  • "A powerful, lucid, deeply empathic exploration of the legacy of generational trauma, Emotional Inheritance makes clear that Galit Atlas is not only a gifted psychoanalyst, but a gifted writer as well. I loved this book and was stirred by it.”—Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance
  • “This book is full of great wisdom, expertise, and humanity. An important, terrific, gripping read.”—Dr. Anne Alvarez, author of Live Company
  • “Emotional Inheritance offers extraordinary insight to readers who feel stuck in life-long patterns and sense they are haunted by ghosts from their family's past. Dr. Atlas deftly shares her own history and that of her patients, while seamlessly weaving in the relevant psychological research. Dr. Atlas's book reads like a propulsive page-turner, while also offering deep psychological insights about inherited trauma and family secrets. This book will undoubtedly change lives and help readers unlock their unfulfilled potential.”—Christie Tate, author of Group
  • “Galit Atlas takes up Tolstoy’s assertion—‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’—as she narrates the ways in which traumas are uniquely held within families. Dr. Atlas tells the layered stories of her patients, as their traumas reverberate with her own history of trauma and loss. The intimacy of the storytelling captures the recognition and repair that Dr. Atlas undertakes with her patients. Together they exhume the secrets and the ghosts that carry and bury trauma, pulling the reader into the present through the past, in order to break into the potential that is the future. Such potential is not a simple, sunny vale. Unhappy families are not made unthinkingly happy. But as Dr. Atlas demonstrates through her graceful generosity, bringing secrets and ghosts into the daylight offers the potential for new stories, more life, and the liberation called happiness.”—Ken Corbett, PhD, author of A Murder Over a Girl
  • “A truly wise and daring book, Emotional Inheritance is an utterly compelling account of how the unconscious passage of trauma from one generation to the next is revealed in psychotherapy. With her special gift for evocative narrative, Dr. Atlas makes us present as witnesses to powerful stories of sorrows held in secret, of children who carry those sorrows forward, knowing without knowing what darkens their lives. Illuminating the meaning of such histories with splendid insights, this book will deeply satisfy whoever has wondered what psychoanalysis can offer in the present world.”—Dr. Jessica Benjamin, author of The Bonds of Love
  • “Galit Atlas's Emotional Inheritance is insightful, perceptive, and provocative—but also tender, touching, and personal. Talented clinicians are not always talented writers, but Dr. Atlas is, and her stories will stay with you. The world of epigenetics is in its infancy for most of us, but Dr. Atlas uses ordinary language to explain how we are born with psychological legacies that we cannot escape, but which we can, with her help, understand.”—Juliet Rosenfeld, author of The State of Disbelief

On Sale
Jan 25, 2022
Page Count
288 pages
Little Brown Spark

Galit Atlas

About the Author

Galit Atlas, PhD, is a psychoanalyst and clinical supervisor in private practice in New York City. She is on the faculty of the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis. She is a faculty member of the National Training Programs (NTP) and the Four Year Adult training program of the National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP). Dr. Atlas has published three books for clinicians and numerous articles and book chapters that focus primarily on gender and sexuality. Her New York Times publication "A Tale of Two Twins" was the winner of a 2016 Gradiva Award. A leader in the field of relational psychoanalysis, Dr. Atlas is a recipient of the Andre Francois Research Award and the NADTA Research Award. She teaches and lectures throughout the United States and internationally.

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