The Table Video

Marie Hoffman

Born to Relate: In Trauma, Transformation, and Transcendence

Associate Professor of Psychology, New York University / Co-founder of the Brookhaven Center for Counseling and Development
May 10, 2014

Marie Hoffman (New York University, Brookhaven Institute) suggests that the human heart seeks relationship from conception. In utero twins seek contact with each other far more than contact with the womb. Psychoanalysis, influenced by Freud’s underlying Judaic narrative, has always placed relationship at the center of human brokenness, cure, and destiny. A child, being entirely dependent on its caretakers, clings to that tie with ferocity. If any aspect of the tie is not satisfactory in the actual relationship, the child will create an unconscious tie through identification, which becomes part of the relational template used for life. We call this attachment to bad internal objects. From this unconscious place, the parental figures “haunt” the life of a child turned adult, who cannot understand why they are behaving like a parent, or attracting others to themselves who treat them like their parents did. Because of the hunger for a relational tie, the “sins of the fathers are visited to the children.” When these patterns emerge in the treatment relationship, the new relationship with a caring other slowly brings release from bondage to “the old man” and creates a berth for new relating to the therapist, to others, and to God in a “new creation.” An outgrowth of this healing is the seeking of relationships in which the restored person, in gratitude, serves God by making a difference in the lives of others.

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