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For therapists, one of the few consolations of reading about the darkness at the heart of the Pilgrim family is recognizing that over the last several decades, the horrible secrets of such families have increasingly been exposed to the light of day. Along with advances in our understanding of trauma and abuse have come not only an understanding of what goes on in such families, but also a fuller picture of human resilience and the pathways to healing. As we’ve drawn back the curtain on family abuse, we’ve developed a far more grounded knowledge of what we can do as mental health professionals to make it less likely that the legacy of secretiveness, exploitation, and suffering in such families will extend to the next generation.

Contributing editor Diane Cole is the author of the memoir After Great Pain: A New Life Emerges, and writes for many national publications, including The Wall Street Journal. Contact: djcole86@gmail.com.

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