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Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma

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Citation

Franco, F. (2023). Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma. Journal of Health Service Psychology, 49(4). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42843-023-00096-7

Abstract

When individuals experience traumatic events, the impact can extend beyond their own lifetimes and affect their descendants in long-lasting and sometimes unexpected ways. Intergenerational trauma refers to the transmission of trauma experiences and their psychological and physical effects across generations. Trauma transmission can occur directly through parental abuse or styles and biologically through epigenetics and the endocrine system. The proposed phased treatment aligns with complex-PTSD approaches, focusing initially on current functioning, then addressing the trauma’s root cause, and finally integrating coping strategies with heightened self-awareness. This paper highlights the importance of screening for complex-PTSD and promoting resilience in patients exposed to intergenerational trauma, emphasizing the role of shame and self-blame as barriers to seeking help.

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