The Unsayable

The Unsayable

The Hidden Language of Trauma

Book - 2007
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In her twenty years as a clinical psychologist, Annie Rogers has learned to understand the silent language of girls who will not-who cannot-speak about devastating sexual trauma. Abuse too painful to put into words does have a language, though, a language of coded signs and symptoms that conventional therapy fails to understand. In this luminous, deeply moving book, Rogers reveals how she has helped many girls find expression and healing for the sexual trauma that has shattered their childhoods.

Rogers opens with a harrowing account of her own emotional collapse in childhood and goes on to illustrate its significance to how she hears and understands trauma in her clinical work. Years after her breakdown, when she discovered the brilliant work of French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, Rogers at last had the key she needed to unlock the secrets of the unsayable. With Lacan's theory of language and its layered associations as her guide, Rogers was able to make startling connections with seemingly unreachable girls who had lost years of childhood, who had endured the unspeakable in silence.

At the heart of the book is the searing portrait of the girl Rogers calls Ellen, brutally abused for three years by her teenage male babysitter. Over the course of seven years of therapy, Rogers helped Ellen find words for the terrible things that had happened to her, face up to the unconscious patterns through which she replayed the trauma, and learn to live beyond the shadows of the past. Through Ellen's story, Rogers illuminates the complex, intimate unraveling of trauma between therapist and child, as painful truths and their consequences come to light in unexpected ways.

Like Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery and Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind, The Unsayable is a book with the power to change the way we think about suffering and self-expression. For those who have experienced psychological trauma, and for those who yearn to help, this brave, compelling book will be a touchstone of lucid understanding and true healing.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2007, c2006
Edition: Ballantine Books trade pbk. ed. --
ISBN: 9780812971668
Branch Call Number: 618.9285836 Rog 3558ad 1
Characteristics: xv, 302 p


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penpencil22 Apr 01, 2012

"Whatever is unresolved and unsayable repeats."

penpencil22 Jun 23, 2011

"Trauma is so much like tipping a [snow] globe and watching the snow descend on the same scene in the same way."

penpencil22 Jun 23, 2011

"Part of language is always unconscious and what is unconscious insists, or repeats."


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penpencil22 Jun 23, 2011

it was... hard to read. not... intellectually hard to read. emotionally hard to read. I had to put it down a couple of times 'cause... i don't know; it was stirring something in me and it was too much to handle, but... but it was good.

I mean, personally, I think she's reading a little too much into those repetitious words and sounds. I think she's making connections that no one else would ever think twice about. I understand it, to a certain extent. I even agree with it, to a certain extent. But... I definitely think she's sometimes seeing things that really aren't there. (and no kind of sick pun intended, as the author does see/hear voices that really aren't there at times...)

Also, I'd recommend reading her first book, A Shining Affliction, before this one-- The Unsayable will make more sense after A Shining Affliction!

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