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. 

Meet the specialists

Claudia was trained at the Ackerman Institute for the Family with a specialization in family systems theory. Claudia's approach to family therapy begins with a look at intergenerational patterns, and includes her expertise in trauma recovery.

— Claudia Narvaez-Meza, Psychotherapist in Los Angeles, CA

It can be hard to keep the past in the past. If you have been through difficult experiences you may have noticed that it still impacts you in ways today - sometimes ways that seem unrelated and sometimes in ways that seem very obvious. EMDR can't erase what happened to you, but it can help "turn the volumne down" on the past. After a successful series of EMDR sessions you will still be able to remember what happened, but it won't be able to control your life anymore.

— Jennifer Roach, Counselor in Everett, WA

Trauma - Single event or childhood trauma. Including victims of war, domestic violence, assault, and intergenerational trauma past down from the generations before you.

— Holly Pearlman, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in SHERMAN OAKS, CA

I have specialized training in dealing with trauma and PTSD. Trauma and PTSD are treatable and you can find freedom from the pain of it. I use somatic resourcing and release strategies as well as a combination of CBT and EMDR. I also use a lot of trauma education so that you build a better understanding of your symptoms because understanding the trauma and PTSD symptoms is part of the healing from it.

— Marna Cathleen, Counselor in Eugene, OR

I am most effective with people that really want to explore their past, and how it got them to where they are now. People that have found healing coming to me are usually people that have experienced trauma or difficulties growing up.

— Natalia El-Sheikh, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Castro Valley, CA

Even before I became a therapist, my personal family recovery taught me the power of intervening on cycles of abuse/neglect and misinformation. Brainspotting and Internal Family Systems therapy are powerful healing modalities to address childhood trauma, even if it goes back many generations.

— Christie Bates, Licensed Professional Counselor in Oxford, MS

As an EMDR trained clinician, I support individuals who have experienced various types of traumatic events and who are dealing with strong and distressing memories that have an impact on their lives.

— Greg Bodin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

I've had 5 years of training in trauma therapy from my Supervisor, Juliane Taylor-Shore, LPC-S, LMFT-S. Trauma can take many forms, from single-event car accidents and combat to more insidious long-term developmental trauma. My integrative approach uses EMDR as well as deeper methodologies like attachment theory and Interpersonal Neurobiology.

— David Hixon, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Austin, 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 Lynchburg, VA

I help clients heal from adverse past emotional, physical, and sexual experiences using trauma resourcing and mindfulness-based, somatic counseling. Working slowly to create collaboration, safety, and resiliency, past traumatic events are processed in mindfulness, reworking the past experience in safety.

— Stuart Malkin, Counselor in Portland, OR

I have extensive training and experience in working with historic, intergenerational, and complex trauma through my time providing mental health services for NARA, NW and Wolf Pack Consulting and Therapeutic Services (where I continue to work). As a relationship therapist, I understand how impactful historical/intergenterational trauma can be on a relationship system and focus much of the work on helping the couple/family identify this trauma and create strategies to minimize it's impact.

— Alexa Adams, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

I use the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) to work with historical and intergenerational, complex trauma. The NARM approach fosters deep work that can yield greater self-understanding, compassion and life energy.

— laurie berson, Clinical Social Worker in Austin, TX

Genocide, racism, antisemitism, poverty and white supremacy are examples of historical traumas that cause suffering in generations proceeding the initial trauma. Sometimes, the connection is not apparent at face value. I encourage clients to expand their narrative of "what happened to me" to include "what happened to those who came before me." This intergenerational perspective can create space for greater appreciation of how you got here and give you freedom to make alternative choices.

— Stefanie Landau, Psychologist in Somerville, MA

All trauma has a root. Many of our experiences are much deeper than we have reasoning or even memory. Research shows that we have memories and DNA effects of trauma from between 3 to 14 generations before us. Treatment is both body based and narrative focused. Healing our present often includes healing generations of trauma, abuse, and systemic oppression.

— Kristin Martinez, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Whittier, CA

Patterns of low-self-esteem, body-image issues, depression, anxiety, boundary-issues are all passed down between generations, often without people meaning to or even being aware that they are passing down their pain. I use Clinical Art Therapy, EMDR, and Developmental Needs-Meeting Strategy to help my clients to heal and break the cycle.

— Rachel Del Dosso, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Camarillo, CA

I help immigrants, refugees, as well as first-generation-born Americans uncover, understand, and overcome their own personal and ancestral history, such that it can be transformed.

— Ariane Eroy, Ph. D., Psychologist in San Francisco, CA

When it comes to trauma, it is important to recognize how it is interlaced within ourselves and our relationships and interactions with others. While aiming to understand how trauma impacts our lives and bodies, my goal is to help my clients identify and understand existing trauma in order to heal. Those feelings can be moved and shifted to prevent us from remaining stagnant.

— Evelia Ilarraz, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Oakland, CA

The culture you were born into has a deep impact on who you are and how you interact with the world. These inherited views, values, and understanding of life and relationships can support you, but can also contain harmful patterns from past generations that no longer serve you in the here and now. Through exploring our origin stories we can begin to heal the wounds that have been passed down to us, honoring where we come from while moving forward.

— Al Hoberman, Creative Art Therapist in New York, NY

Much of the work I do with clients centers around "carried over" trauma and "limiting beliefs". We talk a lot of breaking cycles and saying "it ends with me", while also honoring their ancestors and elders struggles and triumphs. I believe that just as there is "intergenerational trauma" there is also "intergenerational wisdom".

— Leah Constantz, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Somerville, MA

Developmental trauma, complex trauma, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, toxic relationships, codependency

— Olivia Stadler, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Trauma can be inflicted by one-time or recurrent events. Symptoms of trauma can arise immediately after an incident or lay dormant for several years. Entrusting your care to another individual in the wake of trauma can be terrifying. With that understanding, our trauma therapists provide maximal empathy and safety as we support you in working through your pain.

— Happy Apple Center for Anxiety, Depression, & Couples, Psychotherapist in New York, NY