Most psychological research studies today account for the relational problems of African American heterosexual couples’ inability to stay together in terms of contemporary factors such as female-headed households, mass incarceration, racial achievement gap in academic performance, infidelity, etc. These factors are symptoms of a more foundational problem. The intergenerational traumatic impact of slavery and its aftermath (e.g., Jim Crow) is the source for these couples’ inability to stay together.
This book will be restricted to historical traumas originating under slavery. The practices implemented during slavery disrupted bonding and secure attachment between adult heterosexual couples. A deeper psychohistorical understanding of this intergenerational disruption will help us understand current issues among African American men and women.
The book will move beyond individual and couple dyad perspective and bring family system concepts to bear in understanding the transgenerational transmission of trauma and its contemporary manifestations in intimate relationships. The purpose is to answer this question: What are the psychohistorical effects of psychological slavery on attachment and trust in the intimate relationship among African American men and women?
This book will utilize sociological and psychological theories drawn from functionalism, neofunctionalism, attachment theory, family systems, and other relevant literatures to develop a psychohistorical analysis of relational problems of heterosexual African American couples today having transgenerational roots in slavery. Attachment theory will be used to explain attachment and trust ruptures in contemporary intimate relationships and their psychohistorical roots. Emotionally focused therapy is the suggested treatment approach that may help the couple repair attachment ruptures.