What is intergenerational trauma?
Intergenerational trauma is trauma that is experienced by subsequent generations after the traumatic event has occurred. This type of trauma can be seen in Holocaust survivors, children of immigrants or refugees, and survivors of mass violence.
So, what causes subsequent generations to experience this trauma since they were not around to actually witness it firsthand? It is usually a secondary trauma response that results from images of the trauma and retelling of the traumatic experience from members who did experience it. In addition, those that survived the trauma may themselves be living with complex PTSD, which affects the way that they interact with members of their community and their families.
This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the webinar, Understanding and Treating Collective Trauma in the Age of Covid-19, presented by Tiffany Hall, MS, LMFT.