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 been trauma in various treatment modalities for trauma and complex trauma.

— Vilmary Lopez, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Franklin, MA

I'm Irish-American, and over time I came to realize that the abuse in my family of origin was linked to the colonization of Ireland. Living in the U.S., I can see similar (and sometimes different) patterns among indigenous people impacted by colonization here. I have also heard from African-Americans about the historical traumatic impact of slavery on people descended from slaves. These issues are real, and I support our work toward healing and liberation.

— Caera Gramore, Mental Health Practitioner in Arlington, WA

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

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 alter perceptions and create an understanding of difficult emotional reactions that are influencing problematic behaviors.

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

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

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

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

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 Meri Rajabari, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in ,

Some of my clients have a family legacy of trauma, and are on a healing path to protect their children and future generations. Others have single-event or complex trauma that wreaks havoc in their lives. Trauma is stored in the brain-body and cannot truly heal through talk therapy or Hakomi. Methods like EMDR, SE, and Lifespan Integration (LI) are needed. I am LI- and EMDR-trained, and have helped clients finally leave traumatic events behind.

— Greta Reitinger, Psychotherapist in Portland, OR

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

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'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

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.

— Christine Bates, Licensed Professional Counselor in Oxford, MS

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

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

I have utilized CBT, DBT and Trauma Focused CBT approach in working with patients experiencing trauma. My family ancestry was shaped by WWII and the Holocaust. Being personally aware of the negative impact of intergenerational cycle of global trauma, has provided me with a unique insight into such trauma and its devastating effects.

— Sandra Nunez, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in san diego, CA

I am committed to working with ancestral and intergenerational trauma and have worked with a number of groups and families in narrative, indigenous and decolonizing practices successfully to identify sources of strength and identity in communities and families.

— Justine Polster, Licensed Clinical Social Worker