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Intergenerational Trauma

This Wed, Jan 27, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day , which has me thinking about intergenerational trauma.

There are so many experiences of our ancestors that continue to impact us on an individual level. Whether that’s something deeply traumatic like the Holocaust, the Great Depression, or a war, or something more insidious like racial trauma, substance abuse, or disrupted attachment, these burdens can get passed down through multiple generations.

Sometimes these are cultural or familial values that are explicitly modeled and passed down. But other times they can be more invisible burdens. I encourage you to explore your family’s history from a trauma perspective, and to ask yourself what it means for you to have grown up in this family with these wounds. What are you still carrying that might not be yours to carry? Are there any burdens you can shed? What values are important to you that might differ from your family of origin? Remember that it is possible to heal from trauma, and increasing awareness and understanding is the first step.

Looking Glass Counseling has made a donation to Jewish Family and Children's Services as part of our monthly giving program.


Vicky Brandt, LMHC is the owner of Looking Glass Counseling. She has over 14 years of experience working as a psychotherapist, both in private practice and community mental health settings. She has taught as adjunct faculty in the master's programs at Boston College and Lesley University.

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