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Healing transgenerational trauma

What is transgenerational trauma? 


I came across the terms 'transgenerational' and 'intergenerational' trauma and noticed some ambiguity in their definitions. Although they are relatively new concepts, both terms share a common theme: they describe the transmission of trauma from one generation to the next.


Who is affected by transgenerational trauma?


Almost everyone can be affected by transgenerational trauma. We often think of it as a result from significant events like wars, but it also occurs on a very personal level, such as losing a child or a parent. Even seemingly minor incidents, like a car crash or broken bones, can be part of repeated patterns that didn’t start with us.


For instance, I heard a story about a family with eight generations who all experienced some type of accident on their way to school. This pattern was traced back to a little boy who learned he had lost his father on his way to school and struggled to enter the building. When we notice a recurring pattern within the family tree, we can consider it part of transgenerational trauma.


Looking at it this way, we can see that almost anyone can be impacted by it. It's also important to note that siblings or family members might not all take on the same trauma patterns.


What leads to transgenerational trauma?


Unprocessed events and emotions contribute to the creation of transgenerational trauma. If a traumatic experience remains in the body without being released, it alters perceptions and thoughts, creating an energy that is likely to be passed down through generations. This can be seen as unfinished business, waiting to be acknowledged, processed, and released.


As time passes and the trauma repeats, it can accumulate and grow to a point where it becomes overwhelming for future generations. It can become a significant burden, making it crucial to recognize and address.

How to know if you carry transgenerational trauma.


If you have experienced a traumatic event in your life, it is very likely you were not the first one. Sometimes, digging into your family history can reveal that others before you had similar experiences. Creating a genogram, a family tree that includes all the dates, traumas, illnesses, and other significant events, can help you see patterns more clearly. This can provide valuable insights into how trauma may have been passed down through generations to reach you.


generational hands billy brown photography


Addressing transgenerational trauma can be simple or complex, depending on its depth and the individual's willingness to let go. In my experience, becoming aware and changing behaviour isn't always enough. For instance, a parent who was beaten and decides to treat their child with respect will make a significant change, but this might not fully resolve the trauma.


Transgenerational trauma can skip generations and is more complex than changing an aspect. It isn't always confined to direct family members, indicating that it functions like a system. Therefore, in my work, I include anyone who has influenced the individual. This is evident in cases of adopted children, where healing work needs to cover both biological and adoptive families, even if they never met their biological relatives.


Sometimes, a specific act can help free transgenerational trauma. I recall a story I heard, not my own, of a couple who struggled to conceive despite no fertility issues. The woman learned about a traumatic event from the Crusades affecting her family through a conference. The entire audience chanted a nursery rhyme to bring peace to the babies who had been massacred at that time. A year later, she gave birth. Such acts of acknowledgment to bring healing to past pain can sometimes shift transgenerational trauma.

 

What does the science say


Research carried out through epigenetics advances slowly, but it has revealed the profound impacts of significant events that happened to our ancestors passed down to the descendants including you.

 

How can transgenerational trauma be passed on?


Through memory, emotions, thoughts, perceptions, behaviours, and energy.


For instance, a parent who becomes emotionally distant after losing a child might inadvertently convey a sense of loss to the surviving child. Consequently, this child may internalize feelings of neglect, resulting in ingrained patterns of behaviour and emotional response. As they grow, they may pass on similar tendencies to their own children, perpetuating the cycle through various channels.

 

Why should I choose energy work for addressing transgenerational trauma?

 

I specialise in family constellation, therapeutic massage, and Essenian-Egyptian therapies, all of which fall under energy work and are effective in addressing transgenerational trauma. My journey taught me that recognising or understanding its origins isn't sufficient. Our bodies store memories emphasising the need for body-focused techniques. Through this approach, I can delve deeper into the layers of transgenerational trauma.


It's often challenging to pinpoint its exact origins, making it difficult to fully release its effects. However, energy work provides the freedom to explore these depths. It has the ability to uncover hidden dynamics that may not be immediately apparent. Sometimes, what seems like a surface-level dynamic masks deeper underlying issue, which when brought to light allows deep healing.

 


Remember, we do our best with the resources available to us. If we're unable to completely release the cycle of transgenerational trauma, we can provide our children with the tools, so they have the option to carry on the work if they desire. At times, the trauma is too complex to address within a single generation.


Do I need to address it?


You don't have to, but you may discover how it can impact you significantly. Exploring this avenue may help improve your life, including your family dynamic and the relationship with your children and partner or might resolve an issue you are encountering.


Jenny


 
Jenny Briard black and white photo
Jenny Briard

I am an international trauma therapist specialising in energy work. I work with transgenerational trauma, childhood trauma, and other issues where people feel stuck, offering both online and in-person sessions. For more information visit jennybriard. com.

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