Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 59 Issue 2 (June 1986), Pages 113-203

A fresh look at genealogical bewilderment (pages 133-140)

The concept of genealogical bewilderment is re‐examined in the light of empirical evidence gathered over the past 20 years. It is concluded that, where the quality of surrogate family relationships is sufficient to meet the child' emotional needs, then there is no reason why ancestral knowledge should be a prerequisite of mental health. It would appear that individuals with a spontaneous urge or sometimes even a compulsion to search for their biological relatives are not uncommonly suffering from emotional deprivation. However, this is not to deny the reality of healthy genetic curiosity in children cut off from their roots.

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