Historical/ Intergenerational Trauma

Historical trauma, or intergenerational trauma, refers to the cumulative emotional and psychological wounding of a person or generation caused by traumatic experiences or events. Historical trauma can be experienced by any group of people that experience a trauma. Examples include genocide, enslavement, or ethnic cleansing. It can affect many generations of a family or an entire community. Historical trauma can lead to substance abuse, depression, anxiety, anger, violence, suicide, and alcoholism within the afflicted communities. If you are feeling the effects of historical or intergenerational trauma, reach out to one of TherapyDen’s experts today. 

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I've had training and experience working with passed-down family of origin trauma that can create chronic anxiety, depression, anger, and in some cases C-PTSD (Complex post-traumatic stress disorder). By identifying the traumas and using somatic healing, you can be the one to break the cycle and live a better life.

— Lindsay Perry, Licensed Professional Counselor in Bellaire, TX

The majority of my 13 year career has been focused on working with people with trauma. Trauma is perhaps one of the most pervasive events that can affect how someone sees and functions in the world. I am a believer that trauma does not leave our bodies until we are able to talk about and process it, and I focus my practice around being a safe space for you to begin to talk about what has happened to you.

— Sara Busick, Licensed Master of Social Work in Meridian, ID

Childhood trauma is the worst inheritance many of us can come to own. For many it is truly a generational issue, passed down from parent to child dating back for many generations. We work to heal the child you were and address the patterns that tie into your adult life that once offered safety but now offer roadblocks and barriers to living the life you want and deserve. There are multiple paths, but each person’s journey is unique and centered on their experiences alone.

— David Cogdell, Licensed Professional Counselor

Historical and Intergenerational trauma can have a life-long effect on our lives. Why? Because you have lived your life based on the negative perceptions of your past. People who have experienced family and relationship trauma, regardless of how much they desire to avoid living out those experiences, most times come into contact with the same type of experiences. SoulPath assists client's in creating new narratives and dispelling the negative core beliefs of the past.

— TAMI ROBINSON, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Tampa, FL

Historical trauma, its transmission, and its manifestation across multiple generations were both an area of academic concentration and a personal interest, given my background as a child of people who experienced war and genocide. Many of the people I have work with have found that relief, more fulfilling relationships, and aliveness have coincided with an increasing ability to place their present-day problems against a backdrop of wider social and historic forces.

— Vuthy Ou, Clinical Psychologist in Philadelphia, PA

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk and spiritual leader said, "If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people." And because of this, one can have a lot of suffering, but there is also great wisdom that ultimately accompanies the healing process.

— Chong Concannon, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in , MD

Traumatic experiences often get passed down generations. They can leave a deep impact on the individual and the whole system. Processing those experiences and making sense of them can be a highly productive and a liberating process in which there's an opportunity to emerge feeling better, feeling free.

— Matija Petrovcic, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in Seattle,

I'm a survivor of intergenerational trauma and am experienced in supporting others in recovering from theirs. I incorporate several approaches including somatic work and reparenting. I am also 12-step recovery fluent.

— Heather Lenox, Clinical Social Worker in Charlotte, NC

Some of my clients have a family legacy of trauma, and are on a healing path to protect their children and future generations. Others have single-event or complex trauma that wreaks havoc in their lives. Trauma is stored in the brain-body and cannot truly heal through talk therapy or Hakomi. Methods like EMDR, SE, and Lifespan Integration (LI) are needed. I am LI- and EMDR-trained, and have helped clients finally leave traumatic events behind.

— Greta Reitinger, Psychotherapist in Portland, OR

Trauma is what happens to us that overwhelms our ability to cope for an extended period of time. Trauma is different and personal to each individual. I believe in the resilience of the human spirit, and that we are not the things that happen to us. I begin where the client is, focusing at first on building the skills needed to begin to thrive. When my clients are ready we focus on processing the trauma identified.

— Irene Nessium, Mental Health Counselor in Brooklyn, NY

We swore we would never treat OUR children the same way, yet many of us will repeat what was modeled for us in our childhood, often without realizing it. Harmful generational patterns include abuse & neglect, and also more subtle ones. If your parents told you to "stop crying", you learned to ignore your emotions. If they screamed and threw things during conflict, maybe you do the same. We repeat what we don't repair. If you inherited generational trauma, I can help you stop the patterns.

— Renee Cagle, Licensed Professional Counselor in Frisco, TX

In my work with racial trauma, I have seen firsthand how the trauma of parents are passed down to the children. Often, the mental illness or behavioral patterns of adults were formed when they were being raised in their homes of origin. Parents with mental illnesses are often demonized for lacking the tools that they were never given. I would like to help parents re-parent themselves; therefore stopping the cycle of trauma.

— Brittney George, Licensed Professional Counselor in , VA

Symptoms of historical trauma include denial, depersonalization, isolation, memory loss, nightmares, psychic numbing, hypervigilance, substance abuse, identification with death, and unresolved grief.

— Jon Soileau, Licensed Professional Counselor in Kansas City, MO