Freeing Ourselves from the Ghosts of Our Past (DVD)

previously titled “FACING UNMOURNED LOSS & TRAUMA: BUILDING RESILIENCE”, this video is now available for purchase or download as “Freeing Ourselves from the Ghosts of Our Past” on the website.

When clients don’t confront and mourn their losses and family tragedies, they become stuck, fixed in time and unable to move forward. In this riveting narration of the life and work of pioneering family therapist Norman Paul, Monica McGoldrick teaches us how to help clients examine, explore, and ultimately break free from the unacknowledged and unmourned losses in their families, so that they may live fully in the present.

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A 27-minute film created by Monica McGoldrick, about clinical work, to help clients deal with unmourned loss and trauma.

The film draws on the work and life of Dr. Norman Paul.

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This video explores creative ways to address unmourned loss in psychotherapy. It offers a glimpse of the work of one of the most original developers of the family therapy field, Norman Paul, and illustrates his ideas through an exploration of his own genogram and an interview with his sister. His ideas and his techniques are inspiring and the painful history of his own family offer insights for us all in dealing with the pain of unmourned loss. This framework can help clinicians in the 21st century to support clients in acknowledging their painful losses in the past in order to be more present and to ensure their future. Available from

Most contemporary therapeutic models de-emphasize the past, leaving clinicians and their clients stuck chasing symptoms in the present. Further, individual-oriented treatments overlook the role of family systems in the origin and perpetuation of emotional pain and suffering. Having brought genograms alive in her clinical work with thousands of families, McGoldrick appreciates the individual’s place and experience within the family system across time. Trauma in the family is always in the rear-view mirror, transformed and resolved only when it is finally acknowledged and addressed.

Only later in life did Norman Paul learn about the secrets and ghosts locked away in the unspoken recesses of his family’s history. Murder, suicide, infant death, family upheaval and disintegration cast a pale over him, lifted only after fastidious research revealed the true origin of his family’s and his own pain. By watching this richly-narrated story of his family, you will learn to work more effectively from a systemic perspective with clients impacted by unacknowledged and unmourned loss. McGoldrick’s genograms of Paul’s family will deepen your ability to use this powerful tool in your own family therapy. Finally, you will learn to appreciate the critical impact of past painful events on the present, so that you can assist your clients in confronting the pain locked in their families of origin.


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Weight 1 lbs


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