Understanding different types of trauma can help healthcare providers take into consideration a more holistic approach to healing as part of trauma-informed-care.
Let’s look at three different types of traumas: collective, historical, and generational.
Collective-trauma refers to a shared traumatic event(s) that involve large groups of people and can be transmitted across generations and communities. Families may share collective traumatic events in addition to entire societies. Natural disasters, war, genocide, slavery, famine, pandemics, recession, acts of terrorism and community violence are examples. The effects-of-collective-trauma can change the ways in which one thinks, feels, and acts. It can also have an important impact on decisions such as the way in which one works, goes to school, or parents.
A person does not need to be directly experienced a collective traumatic event to be impacted on some level. Watching the news and scrolling through social media can trigger emotionally charged responses. Those who are directly responding and listening to others’ accounts of trauma such as first responders, supportive friends, family, and community members can experience vicarious-trauma. Sometimes, shared pain leads to solidarity that promotes healing because individuals may defend against a common experience and find meaning in their grief together.
Historical trauma is intergenerational trauma experienced by a specific cultural group that has a history of being systematically oppressed. The term “historical trauma”, first introduced by Dr-Maria-Yellow-Horse-Brave-Heart is described as a “cumulative emotional and psychological wounding” from massive group trauma across generations. Examples include slavery, genocide, colonialism, forced relocation, and other historically traumatic events.
Effects-of-historical-trauma includes chronic emotional and physical pain, high mortality rates, depression, anxiety, substance use, child abuse, and intimate partner violence.
Generational trauma (also known as inter-generational trauma) refers to trauma that is passed down through generations in families and can also be seen in societies. If an ancestor within the family has experienced extreme and prolonged stress from trauma, that stress from the first generational family member passes down through the family history. Descendants can show symptoms of intergenerational trauma such as anger with triggering events, self-destructive behavior, depression, survivor guilt, internalized oppression, and low self-esteem. Descendants may have struggled with their mental health throughout childhood, reporting that they have “always felt depressed, irritable, etc.”
Examples: mistrust of people or systems due to oppressive and abusive practices, heightened emotions responses such as being over-protective, fearful, and anxious (e.g., parenting) due to own traumatic events.
Research suggests that there are biological consequences from intergenerational trauma, in addition to psychological and behavioral impacts. Intergenerational trauma impacts how one reacts to stress, regulates mood, behavior, and even can impact DNA by impacting how genes function which is known as epigenetic change.
To learn more about collective, historical, and intergenerational trauma, check out these resources:
Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC
We’re Here to help
Our wellness experts will be happy to take care of you. You can CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment now or call (612)223-8898.
We’re united by our commitment to providing effective, relevant, and innovative mental health support at all stages of your journey. Click Here to find out more about who we are, where we come from, and how we live out CARE’s mission every day.
The professionals at CARE are actively collecting and creating resources to help with what you need. We’re Here for You.
CARE COUNSELING LOCATIONS
Edina : 3601 Minnesota Dr., Ste.575, Edina, MN 55435
Bloomington : 7400 109th Street West, Bloomington, MN 55438
Loring Park : 310 Clifton Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Mankato : 1650 Madison Ave, Suite 102, Mankato, Minnesota, 56001
Maple Grove : COMING SOON
Mendota Heights : 1155 Northland Dr., Mendota Heights, MN 55120
Minneapolis : 204 W Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN, 55404
Plymouth : 4100 Berkshire Ln N, Suite 250, Plymouth, MN 55446
St. Louis Park : 7601 Wayzata Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55426
Please contact Thera-PAY, our billing provider (218) 301-3164