April 1, 1998
9.21 Inches (US)
6.26 Inches (US)
1.44 Pounds (US)
$85.00 USD, £29.95 GBP
v2.1 Reference

The Indescribable and the Undiscussable

Reconstructing Human Discourse after Trauma

People—laymen and practitioners alike—face serious difficulties in making sense of each other's feelings, behavior, and discourse in everyday life and after traumatic experiences. Acknowledging and working through these difficulties is the subject of this extremely interesting and highly readable book.

After a critical look at the psychological and philosophical literature, Dan Bar-On identifies two groups of impediments. First, the indescribable, as it appears when individuals try to understand and integrate their first heart attack into their previous life-experience, when a group of pathfinders talk about their different maps of the mind and nature, or when a team of welfare practitioners tries to develop a common approach to their regional population. Second, the undiscussable, as it appears in the transmission, from generation to generation, of the traumatic experiences of the families of both Holocaust survivors and Nazi perpetrators, the book showing how their descendants can work through the burden of the past by confronting themselves and each other through a prolonged group encounter.

This book provides a unique way of looking at life experiences, individual as well as inter-personal. It proposes a new psychological theoretical framework in a way to which both laymen and professionals can relate while confronting similar issues in their everyday experiences and discourse.

The book is of especial relevance to present-day Central and East European societies, relating as it does to the problems of psychological adaptation arising from the transition from totalitarian to democratic regimes.

About the Author

Dan Bar-On was Professor of Psychology at the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Ben-Gurion University. He was also the co-director of PRIME (Peace Research Institute in the Middle East)


"I was put in mind in reading this amazing book by Dan Bar-on of a truly great painting, one that can make you cry while also puzzling you and demanding from you every ounce of wisdom even to begin to understand. Bar-On is never hesitant to re-examine (and have others critique) his own interpretations. By making his own reflections vulnerable to criticism and revision he sheds light on how his "subjects" did or did not accomplish the same and thereby may teach the willing reader this most important of skills".

"The first chapter of Bar-on's book in itself makes the book worth reading. This is the story of three Israeli soldiers and a Bedouin partner finding their way in an uncharted desert terrain, each with a different strategy. The story and its analysis is a stunning and amazingly explicit example of different perspectives, how each of the individuals learn to understand and appreciate one another, and most of all to recognize when each view is most useful depending on the situation. I highly recommend the book if only for this one chapter—there's nothing like it"
Central European University Press

9789639116344 : the-indescribable-and-the-undiscussable-bar-on
328 Pages
$85.00 USD

Other Titles by Dan Bar-On

Tell Your Life Story

Dan Bar-On
Sep 2006 - Central European University Press
$75.00 USD - Hardback

Other Titles in PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis

From Game to War and Other Psychoanalytic Essays on Folklore

Alan Dundes
Oct 2021 - University Press of Kentucky
$20.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$45.00 USD - Electronic book text

Unclaimed Experience, Twentieth Anniversary Edition

Cathy Caruth
Oct 2016 - The Johns Hopkins University Press
$32.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$32.00 USD - Electronic book text

The Myth of the Birth of the Hero, Expanded and Updated Edition

Otto Rank, translated by Gregory C. Richter, E. James Lieberman, MD, introduction by Robert A. Segal
Oct 2015 - The Johns Hopkins University Press
$32.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$32.00 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in Social, group or collective psychology


Christian Bjørnskov
Sep 2022 - The Johns Hopkins University Press
$8.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$8.95 USD - Electronic book text

Echoes of Trauma and Shame in German Families

Lina Jakob
May 2020 - Indiana University Press
$80.00 USD - Hardback
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Overcoming Conflicting Loyalties

Irene Sevcik, Michael Rothery, Nancy Nason-Clark, Robert Pynn
May 2015 - University of Alberta Press
$38.99 USD - Paperback / softback