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

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

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

Breaking the cycle of abuse and trauma is vital to our healing journey. We often carry the burden of trauma that has impacted our parents, grandparents, and ancestors. In my work, I acknowledge this burden that may exist in some of our lives. Through my services, I am committed to not only offer a variety of techniques to manage the impact, but also a safe space to acknowledge and process feelings that comes with such trauma.

— Jeanette Lopez-Urbina, Clinical Social Worker in Berkeley, CA

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

As an EMDR practitioner, I am uniquely trained to help conquer past traumas, drastically reducing stress symptoms and leftover emotional pain.

— Delaney Dixon, Counselor in Richardson, TX

Sexual trauma can really shake us to our core. Living in a sexist world after a trauma can be overwhelming as a woman. Toxic masculinity is prevalent in both work and home life – creating complex triggers in unlikely places. As our awareness of these intersections between trauma and sexism increase, we may feel up in arms, ready to start a revolution! But we need to take exquisite care of ourselves first or else we are left feeling overwhelmed, drained and hopeless. After a sexual trauma we often wonder – can we ever feel beautiful, sexual, and/or feminine again and still feel safe? Can we trust others – or even ourselves – again? The answer is a resounding yes. Through a multi-modal approach that infuses relational, experiential and body-oriented approaches I help clients overcome trauma, create healthy boundaries, increase resilience, reclaim their sense of self and create the lives they wish to lead.

— Natalia Amari, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Austin, TX

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

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

BIPOC especially BIPOC womxn have have been oppressed and marginalized for centuries and the oppression continues at micro and macro level which chips away at emotional, mental and as evident from Adverse Childhood Experiences Longitudinal Study also negatively impact physical health. Historical/ Intergenerational Trauma Focused Therapy helps to integrate these forces into therapeutic conversations with my clientele who can re-direct misplaced blame.

— Jayshree Gandhi, Licensed Professional Counselor in Piscatway, NJ

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 am a CCTP (Certified Clinical Trauma Professional). Trauma can be one of the most paralyzing feelings for many individuals to deal with. There are many proven methods and ways to learn how to better cope.

— Chad Welch, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Swansea, IL

The experience of abuse, rejection, persecution, and serious illness negatively impact one’s sense of self, of others and of humanity. Through the careful exploration of feelings and memories, a person can learn to integrate painful experiences while developing compassion and forgiveness. Learning to live with a painful past can allow someone to hope and trust again.

— Sandra Amador Mora, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Emeryville, 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

More new information is emerging about the effects of trauma on health & wellbeing. PTSD and CPTSD (complex - PTSD due to years of abuse/neglect) is when we feel hi-jacked by our senses/body connecting us back to past events that were (or seemed) life threatening. These experiences can be from Domestic abuse, events/accidents related to the lifestyle of substance abuse, and from chronic traumatic/neglectful childhood experiences. There is hope for recovery. It is time for you to heal.

— Kathleen Thompson, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

I use Lifespan Integration to address intergenerational trauma, which often results in complex PTSD and attachment wounding. LI is a body based and non-retraumatizing therapy that helps your body believe what your mind already knows: that whatever happened in the past isn't happening anymore. Using LI to take the charge out of intergenerational patterns and wounds can help you break the cycle of suffering that has been passed down for generations.

— Kelli Gordon, Psychotherapist in Seattle, WA

I have several years experience working with clients who have ancestral trauma that is impacting their life currently and in their past. I am trained in shamanic healing practices which seeks to heal at the soul level.

— Alicia Pace, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Pflugerville, TX

As a WOC, I have experienced firsthand the impact of trauma inheritance due to racial discrimination perpetuated against and perpetuated by my family. I have felt the impact of hegemonic influence and colonialism on my homeland and personal identity. I have walked an intentional path of reconnecting with my ancestry despite the abundance of erased and/or rewritten history and have found great solace in community and visiting the sacred spaces of my people that remain intact.

— Letecia Garcia, Psychotherapist in Philadelphia, PA

When I work with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People of Color) with a history of oppressive and traumatic experiences, it is essential that a component of exploring "family of origin" issues include an examination of historical and intergenerational trauma. I utilize a depth-oriented therapy process that explores historical harms and intergenerational wounds through the examination of family narrative, patterns, history and relationship to privilege and oppression.

— Camara Rajabari, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Berkeley, 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

Using a psychodynamic orientation and attachment lens, I help clients discover how low-self-esteem, or maladaptive thoughts/coping skills are linked to dysfunctional family dynamics resulting from intergenerational trauma so healing can begin.

— Sharon Flynn, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Lafayette, CA

Pain/Trauma that is not transformed is transmitted. - Richard Rohr. I help people understand how the past (personal experiences and the experiences of generations past) directly impacts our present. Many of our worldviews, beliefs, and behaviors were developed to help us survive our upbringings or are "just how I am." I help people explore their worldviews, beliefs, and behaviors to see what is actually theirs and what is actually being carried - and needs to be given back.

— La Shanda Sugg, Licensed Professional Counselor in Mason, OH

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

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

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

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