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 have extensive experience working with C-PTSD as a result of intergenerational trauma. I have been privileged to watch many of my clients be the first in their families to break cycles of abuse and find new, healthier ways of relating to themselves and others. I've seen the positive impact it has had on their friendships, intimate relationships, parenting, and especially their relationship with themselves.

— Nichole Spjut, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Fort Mitchell, KY

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

When I am working with Black, Indigenous and other People of Color with a history of trauma and oppression, it is important, to me, to address the historical context of the family through trace and culture. I explore the harm and trauma from a historical lens to understand the family dynamics. The abuse of our ancestors and their pain is within our bodies, our minds and our spirits. We can explore this together, if you are willing.

— Chioko Grevious, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Sacramento, CA

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

Many times our own individual issues are rooted from many generations of trauma that are passed on to our present reality. I work with individuals and families to dive into the trauma that has been passed down from generation to generation. I address the issues pertaining to historical trauma that has impacted our racial/ethnic group and work on connecting to how it impacts our current mental health. My main goal is to help you break those cycles that have carried on for generations.

— Julio Garibay, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Gardena, CA

Intergenerational trauma feels like a big, scary term, I know. It basically defines the experiences that have traveled through your family like a pattern, or the issues that might have gone unresolved and affected everyone in your family, through the generations. I approach trauma work with special attention to attachment, somatic work and dual awareness. We can walk through the past while staying firmly rooted in the present and planning for how you want the future to look.

— Hailey Hughes, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Austin, TX

Trauma can affect people in different ways. I work with clients struggling with acute, chronic, or complex trauma.

— Tomoko Iimura, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in ,

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

Generational trauma can impact how we relate to one another, because it impacts the way that we see ourselves, the view of the world, and how we interact with the world. It is a trauma that happened to someone before you on your generational line and then is passed on through behaviors. This could impact the way that this parent views love, relationships, money, and so much more.

— Elisa Blair, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Diego, CA

Historical/Intergeneration Trauma is a specialty that is near and dear to my heart! Specifically I am trained in many Trauma focused therapies and utilize a variety of approaches to collaborate with you to recognize triggers, work together to have deep self compassion for your experience, and create intentions and intuitions that support you in healing and being a well ancestor. This is a brave and courageous endeavor and I have dedicated my personal and professional life to the cause.

— Amy Lynch, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Littleton, CO

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

Did you know that, according to the EMDR Institute, there is biological evidence to suggest that intergenerational trauma is hereditary? The stress that comes from the trauma and adversity of generations before you CAN affect your stress. You are not your ancestors, and their story does not have to be your story. We can't control all the fucked up problems of the world, so let's focus on what is in OUR control. Let's work together to identify what advocacy looks like for you and heal.

— Tracy Vadakumchery, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in New York, NY

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

Using the psychodynamic theory, childhood experiences are explored to explain emotions and behaviors. Most childhood trauma causes an irregularity in emotions. It is likely trauma is suppressed and never dealt with leading to affect other areas of life, for example: romantic relationships, self-esteem, anxiety, and more. Using art therapy, talk therapy and mindfulness exercises to surface suppressed thoughts leads to healing.

— Greiny Rodriguez, Licensed Master of Social Work in New York, NY

Trauma has a way of altering the way you see yourself and your life due to the way it is stored in the brain and body. Healing looks different for everyone. If we work together, I can help you process in a way that is healing and meaningful for you. I utilize a trauma-informed approach, and have specific experience providing therapy to survivors of intimate partner violence.

— Erica Kopf, Professional Counselor Associate

Sometimes, as much as we know what we want to shed from our upbringing, from our relationships with our caregivers, we just can't seem to let it go. We learn new ways to do things, to grow, do better, and maybe to forgive or set boundaries, but the "stuff" is still there. I'd love to help you explore what's holding you back, heal what's been hurt, and help you find an authentic way to move forward in a way that works for you.

— Crystalyn Jass Kirkpatrick, Licensed Professional Counselor in Dallas, TX