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Third book published by Port Maitland psychotherapist

Port Maitland author Ilonka Venier Alexander with a copy of her third book - Growing Up Alexander – My life with a psychoanalytic pioneer.
Port Maitland author Ilonka Venier Alexander with a copy of her third book - Growing Up Alexander – My life with a psychoanalytic pioneer. - Contributed

Author tells story of her grandfather - a leading American psychoanalyst of the 20th century - and his interference and influence in her life

PORT MAITLAND - Port Maitland author Ilonka Venier Alexander says the most difficult aspect of writing her third book was the uncovering of buried and repressed feelings and memories of unpleasant times during her childhood.

Despite the fact that Venier Alexander ‘s mother had two other children, she was treated as an only child. Her half-siblings lived with her stepfather. Her grandfather, Franz Alexander, placed her in a boarding school at the age of seven and would visit through the years with presents of watches from Geneva and clothes from Saks Fifth Avenue.

She refers to her third book, Growing Up Alexander – My life with a psychoanalytic pioneer, as “honest and intimate.”

It tells the story of her grandfather, the leading American psychoanalyst of the 20th century, and his interference and influence in her life.

Venier Alexander refers to him as a powerful man at the head of the family, powerful in the world and in his field, who, despite this, makes major mistakes that cause dysfunction for decades.

“Ultimately it is the story of hope and compassion and the letting go of anger and disappointment,” she said, adding that an analyst in London is going to use the book as a textbook in his family dynamics class.

She has conducted research since 2009 for the book, reviewing archival material given to her by family. She’s travelled to Europe and throughout the United States for interviews.

She has also accessed records through the Vatican, the Red Cross in Europe, the Czech hospital archives, and archives from various universities where her great-grandfather and grandfather obtained their degrees. She received “immeasurable help” from the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis as well.

Other books by this author

Ilonka Venier Alexander’s first book, The Life and Times of Franz Alexander – from Budapest to California, was published in 2015.

Her second book, Love and Survival in Budapest: The Memoir of Artur Renyi, was published in 2017.

For more information on these and her third book (available for $30), contact the author by email: llonka300@gmail.com

Venier Alexander will be presenting a reading in April at the Yarmouth Library. Date and time to be announced.

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