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 can result from a single event, but more often, it comes from a long period of challenging or even devastating circumstances. These experiences can prevent us from feeling like our lives our whole, or even that we know who we are. We will slowly and safely begin to pull on the strings that have tied you to traumatic experiences, and to figure out what happened in your life and it has impacted your ability to be yourself and live authentically.

— Kristen Crowe - Open Space Therapy Collective, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in LA, CA

Intergenerational trauma can be from your own childhood when you didn't get the attention and love you needed from your parents. You are not blamed for a dysfunctional family that you had to live in and when you become a parent you don't want to pass down those traits to your own children. You want to love, be present and enjoy the time together with them instead of avoidance, yelling, and punishment to them.

— XiaoRan(Alice) Zhao, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in , MD

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

We explore the childhood experience using our workbook The Connection Equation. The diagrams we use help people understand how their childhood programmed them to think a certain way and act a certain way with others. We aim to dismantle this programming through mindful exploration and understanding. The more you know, the more conscious you can be to reprogram your brain so that you can live the life you have always dreamed of.

— Kara Jean Brei, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Phoenix, AZ

Trauma treatment will include psychoeducation, embodiment based emotional regulation skills building, narrative creation, and memory processing. For the treatment of suicidal ideation and behavior, I approach treatment from a collaborative risk reduction and crisis prevention perspective.

— Miranda Charles, Counselor in Lafayette, LA

As a second-generation Asian-American, I understand the relationship between symptoms of depression/anxiety and intergenerational trauma. The patterns and cycles passed down from generation to generation contribute to our mental health - either negatively or positively, and we have the power to stop or continue the cycle. We can begin living an empowered life.

— Jessica Cruz, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Diego, CA

Intergenerational trauma has a significant influence on the way we process and interact with the world. Identifying generational patterns and processing historical trauma gives you more autonomy in shaping your story.

— Kameryn "Yams" Rose, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in , CA

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

As a Certified EMDR Therapist, 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

Through the modules of DBT and EMDR, we work towards accountability and control over your current choices.

— Pallavi Lal, MS, LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor in Scottsdale, AZ

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

I am an EMDR therapist and have extensive training in treating complex trauma. I worked for several years with children in the foster care system navigating the challenges that trauma presents in daily life.

— Erica Christmas, Licensed Professional Counselor in Gilbert, AZ

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

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

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

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

"Sometimes in my daily life, I lose time or have feelings that don’t match what is going on around me." Trauma can result from a single event, but more often, it comes from a long period of challenging circumstances. Often, we can only see that there is trauma through its effects, which is the feeling of disconnection or erratic feelings and behaviors, usually beyond our control. These experiences can prevent us from feeling like our lives our whole, or even that we know who we are.

— Open Space Therapy Collective, Licensed Professional Counselor in Los Angeles, CA