She would meditate or lie down to sleep, and it would begin. Racing heart. Clenched stomach. Impending sense of doom. Several times, she sped to the emergency room, fearing a heart attack. Yet, each time, her heart was fine.
So why was this happening?
Because the stillness allowed her mind and body to alert her to hidden trauma.
In your own therapy practice, you likely have clients who are stuck for no apparent reason –– stalled by unexplained fears, mysterious symptoms, and anxiety. Maybe they feel guilt alongside pleasure. You might be puzzled by their relentless hypervigilance, persistent depression, anger, or inability to break harmful patterns. These clients –– just like mine ––may be living out a cycle, unaware of the effects passed on from generation to generation.
This cycle is intergenerational trauma –– a phenomenon where wounds are passed through the generations by way of behavioral patterns, language and even genetic material.
The truth is, we can’t move forward while the chains of familial tragedy, trauma or secrets keep us tethered to a painful past. Our limits have been set without us knowing it.
Sometimes, even experienced therapists might not pick up on the veiled signs and complexities of inherited trauma. In-depth training simply hasn’t been offered broadly, leaving too many of us at a loss when clients are limited in this way.
Here’s the problem: we aren’t dealing with something rare…but it is sneaky and insidious. Intergenerational trauma is widespread, and it’s ravaging the health, well-being, and personal relationships of families everywhere.
As therapists, it’s up to us to bridge this gap. To study the far-reaching effects of these covert injuries, learn how they manifest, and guide others to put an end to the cycle of trauma and reclaim joy.
The anguish of inherited wounds continues to erupt in our communities and around the world. We can be part of the solution.
Every one of us has clients who are tired of suffering, who are ready to lay down the chains of the past and embrace a more hopeful future.
Your clients are waiting for your help.
- You (or someone you know) are struggling to free yourself from the past and change the cycles that play out in your family.
- You’d like to gain a better understanding of intergenerational trauma and its effects on attachment, physical well-being, and healing.
- As a therapist, you want to identify generational wounds and support clients in a compassionate process of recognition and repair.