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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Trauma doesn't come from nowhere. It is tied to family, community, and national history. It is connected to the long and many faceted systemic oppression that causes so much trauma. For me, most trauma is connected to the intergenerational. This is why in my work with clients I connect present experiences of symptoms related to trauma to past relationships, family history, community history, and more.

— Renya NeoNorton, Marriage & Family Therapist

Generational trauma is traumas we identified and inexperience through how the systems in which we live identify and treat us. It lives on through implicit and/or nonverbal communication but is felt deeply. Once we sought understanding of this trauma, we are empowered to tell our stories, and seek self-compassion, we can start to heal and thrive.

— Trish McKenna, Therapist in St. Louis Park, MN

Specifically related to spiritual/religious, Latinx, and indigenous people.

— Melisa Arroyo, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in San Antonio, TX

Inner child work may help with those experiencing intergenerational trauma. Inner child work helps explore unprocessed childhood emotions and feelings that currently impact one’s life and understanding, managing, and/or reducing triggers. One desire for inner child work may be to identify wounded areas and/or unmet needs of the child, learn to advocate, protect, or show compassion for the child, create a safe enough space to invite the child to play, and integrate the child with the adult self.

— Shavonne James, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Long Beach, CA

For many of us, particularly those of us who are members of oppressed groups, the trauma we have experienced in this lifetime is only a piece of the puzzle. Our ancestors and the pain and unhealed wounds of their suffering can also be in our nervous systems, minds, bodies, and spirits affecting our psychological and physical health. I will always hold this truth in our work together and if you are interested we can explore those historical elements together.

— Megan Satterfield, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Austin, TX

Complex trauma and PTSD can make daily life challenging and confusing. Relief can come from developing coherency around traumas, and understanding how your nervous system is reacting and why. An empathic therapist, like myself, can help shift perceptions and create an understanding of difficult emotional reactions that are influencing problematic behaviors.

— Tera Buerkle, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Lexington, KY

My top three areas of expertise are ADHD, Anxiety, and Trauma. I have worked consistently over the years with many clients helping them in these areas to achieve their goals. Anxiety can psychologically damage the brain. Traumatic events can also be psychologically damaging and seeking out help is a great way to heal. I have had expertise in this area for many years helping with both the steps to help you with coping strategies and medications. Contact me today and I will be glad to help you.

— Olajumoke Akinyele, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Atlanta, GA

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

It may feel impossible now, but you can be the change and heal generations of trauma. You can bring peace to yourself and those around you. You can be true to who you are and not feel ashamed. And I can help you get there. I’ll help through this process, tailoring each step to your unique needs and circumstances. You deserve healing, and your family, ancestors, and generations to come do too.

— Stephanie Pappas, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Irvine, CA

There are things that are yours, and things passed down, but sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference. Epigenetics show that trauma can be passed down as many as 7 generations. From generation to generation, traditions, beliefs, fears, values, traumas, are often so interwoven in the fabric of one's family, it is as if they are transmitted through osmosis. Somatic therapy can help you decide what you want to keep, and what you want to pass back.

— Kim Torrence, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Rockville, MD

Years of grappling with trauma has shown me something beautiful. Yes, we inherit post-traumatic stress. But we inherit post-traumatic growth too! We can rewire the ways our wise adaptive minds read information. Soothe the fear. Reeducate the vigilance. Keep potential trauma from becoming embedded. Trauma comes to our bodies through relationship, but healing does too. When we reshape how we safely show up in world, we heal & reveal our full Selves & pave the way for healthy whole-hearted children

— Sarah Kendrick, Mental Health Counselor in Portland, OR

That weight on your shoulder will go away. We will talk about some new ways to think and look at this painful story. We will give you skills to manage your thoughts and feelings. You will build confidence as this process unfolds. And then one day you will be on the other side of this life experience. You will be able to talk about it with out crying. You will feel strong again. Your dreams will stop. You can then exhale and feel calm again. You can look forward without these painful experiences

— Julie Williams, Counselor in Royersford, PA

Through my work at an LGBTQ-focused community center, I offered therapy to community members, many of whom were dealing with complex trauma and a history of dysfunctional family relationships.

— Leticia Berg, Psychotherapist in Ann Arbor, MI

If you have historical trauma/ intergenerational trauma that continues to haunt you and you would like to work through it. Art therapy and energy medicine can be very helpful in addressing and releasing historical trauma. I work with my clients to create a safe space and give them tools so that we can address old traumas in a kind and gentle way that respects your body, mind and spirit.

— Celine Redfield, Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

I am systemically trained, and I often work with adult clients who experienced child abuse, divorce, family conflict, cutoffs/estrangement, etc. I am experienced with exploring how intergenerational patterns are impacting my clients in the present. I use ACEs to screen for childhood trauma.

— Easin Beck, Marriage & Family Therapist in Phoenixville, 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

Each and every one of us has been through a lot. Your suffering matters. It has brought you where you are now, and you're completely allowed to move forward living your best life even with a sense of woundedness. But your wounds don't have to be your everything. Let's lighten that load and create some space for a new kind of story.

— Trina Bolfing, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX