Primal wound, The

Understanding the adopted child

Written by Nancy Newton Verrier
Price: £14.95
Publisher: CoramBAAF
Publication date: 2009
ISBN: 978 1 905664 76 4
The Primal Wound Front Cover
About the book

Best seller

Since its original publication in 1993, The Primal Wound has become a classic in adoption literature and is considered the adoptees’ “bible”. It is a “must read” for adopted people, adoptive families, birth parents and adoption professionals.

The Primal Wound has revolutionised how we think about adoption. Over the years, thousands have read this classic and found in it profound insights and revelations on what being adopted means to adopted people.

In this first UK edition of the book, Nancy Verrier, a psychotherapist and adoptive mother, elaborates on what she calls the “primal wound” – the wound that results when a child is separated from his or her mother – and the trauma that it causes. She examines the life-long consequences this can have for adopted people, as they are growing up and into adulthood, underpinning this with information about pre- and perinatal psychology, attachment, bonding, and the effects of loss.

This is a demanding book. It can be a difficult and painful read because of the emotions it evokes in all members of the adoption triad. But it can also bring relief as it can be a great help in acknowledging, understanding, and validating the wounds created by the trauma of separation between mother and child. This understanding can help adopted people, adoptive parents and birth parents. It can provide validation for the experiences and feelings of adoptees, who have often felt misunderstood; it can bring solace to birth mothers, who have long been denied the truth of their loss; and it can be a source of information for adoptive parents, so that they can better understand and respond to their children.

The Primal Wound offers adopted people validation for their feelings, explanations for their behaviour, and a context in which to situate and make sense of their experiences. It is a must for anyone struggling with unexplained feelings and insecurities caused by adoption, and has been described as “life changing”, “a light bulb experience”, “a revelation” and “a journey of discovery”.

The insights which it brings to the experiences of abandonment and loss will contribute not only to the healing of adoptees, adoptive families and birth parents, but will bring understanding and encouragement to anyone who has ever felt abandoned. This is essential reading for anyone involved in adoption.


Get The Primal Wound & Coming home to self for £25


From Amazon users

5 out of 5 stars – Feb 2014
This book explains in detail the hurt and effect on an infant by the separation from the birth mother. May be difficult reading if you are about to adopt but very useful to understand why a child may not immediately bond with its new mother

5 out of 5 stars – Nov 2013
The most important book to read for all who love, work with or are adopted children or adults. It is painful to read for adoptive or birth parents and I had to read it several times before I really understood and believed the trauma my child had experienced with a very early adoption. Must be a great relief for adopted young people and adults to finally understand their feelings of "dis-ease". The issue of fear of abandonment is so important and must be acknowledged and attended to.