In the previous post I discussed trauma and related symptoms and when it can happen. In the case of trans-generational trauma, the original unaddressed trauma is carried over from a previous generation to the current and future generations through their descendants. And for those coping with this kind of trauma, the symptoms such as anxiety, phobias, addiction and autoimmune reactivity can be confusing to address since they are not based in the person's own life history or experiences.
Although various methods of counselling have been used for over a hundred years, most people living in past centuries did not seek out this kind of help or even understand the importance of psychological and emotional health. The traumas they experienced, especially emotional and psychological ones, were dealt with internally and eased with the passing of time. This was not always effective and some people carried the wounds and patterns of trauma throughout their life and modern research is discovering how these can then show up in their children and their grandchildren. Energy-based modalities such as homeopathy can reach a deeper, more global level than medications or talk therapies and offers some unique solutions to resolving our inherited traumas.
I would posit that we all carry some traumatic resonance from our ancestors to varying degrees. There have been recent historical situations that have left traumatic imprints on large numbers of people such as WWI & II and the holocaust, enslavement and slavery, civil wars, and many other wars and conflicts. On a smaller scale there are witnesses and refugees of genocide, colonial suppression, political totalitarian control, invading military forces, and terrorism. And on a personal level, there might have been domestic abuse, sexual abuse, bullying, addiction, poverty, inequality, lack of medical care and isolation due to mental or physical illness. However, when we are not the original person who experienced a trauma, it is difficult to recognize the problem and seek out treatment. Far too often it becomes a confused mishmash of symptoms that are 'all in our head' unless we learn about the family history, yet the sad and unpleasant stories are often hidden, forgotten or suppressed. Without conscious memories, many therapies have limited ability in treating such cases.
This is further compounded by 'collective' trauma where the traumatic psychological effect is shared by a group of people and even an entire society. This can result in a collective sentiment and create a shift in that society's culture and actions. The rehabilitation process is difficult when it has to include so many people. In this case, the trauma usually remains chronic and repeats in future generations and a whole society may experience an ongoing culture of suffering to some degree.
What we know now about inheriting trauma
Rachel Yehuda of the Mount Sinai hospital conducted a recent study that suggests the genetic imprints of traumatic experiences are passed from one generation to another epigenetically and not just through learned behaviours. (Epigenetics refers to external modifications to DNA that turn genes 'on' or 'off' yet do not change the DNA sequence.) The idea is that molecular tags attach to certain genes after traumatic experiences, and this can turn them 'off' afterwards. The researchers in the Yehuda study looked at a region of one gene known to be affected by trauma and that involves the regulation of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. When the tags are present and are switched off, this directly affects the ability to cope with stress by altering the number of stress hormones synthesized. It was assumed that trans-generational trauma was transmitted only by changes to DNA or social influences but this study suggest it is also the epigentic tags that can be passed from one generation to the next which can reduce resilience to re-experiencing trauma. This means in some cases when the environmental conditions are conducive, the tag can alter the gene but does not always turn off and cause problems, and this can begin to explain why some descendants are affected while others are not.
Other studies have also shown that trauma can be passed from parent to child. A study of mothers with major depressive disorder found that their daughters and even their granddaughters were more likely to suffer from depression as well. Another study in 2011 found that PTSD symptoms and behaviours were more prevalent in descendants of Holocaust survivors as opposed to Jewish individuals that were not the offspring of direct survivors.
The use of homeopathy to alter the cycle of trans-generational trauma
When emotional trauma becomes overwhelming and we reach a point where we can’t cope and don’t have the tools or skills to find our way through, we can enter a state where our sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive and we can get stuck in 'fight or flight' mode far longer than our body is designed to maintain. This leads to depletion and disruption of the normal functions of our system. When we are in this state for too long we can become susceptible to present-day traumas that then compound the problem. When we have an extreme level of trauma, known now as PTSD, the re-experience of trauma may arise involuntarily and in unwelcome moments or places, and this can have profound effects on our lives.
It is best if we do not hide, avoid, self-medicate or push away our feelings of pain and discomfort, yet it is difficult to experience the pain again, and to release it while we do so. This process requires an enormous level of non-judgment and acceptance that we can not always rationally and intentionally reach. The homeopathic session is meant to encourage a place of safe exploration and resolution. Thankfully with the understanding of how epigenetics is dependent on the environment to alter DNA tags, and that trauma does not result in structural DNA changes, this means there is always the potential to change or return the gene to the original expression as the trauma is released. We don't have to carry all that 'baggage' around with us.
Homeopathy is able to work directly on the basic symptoms of trauma such as stress and anxiety, and is known to help with chronic issues related to fears, phobias, addictions as well as autoimmune disorders. In such confusing and complicated cases as trans-generational trauma, the process is the same regardless of whether there is a medical diagnosis of the problem. The process includes looking at the case history, the current symptoms, the areas of suffering and exploring the inner experience to facilitate a greater awareness and knowledge of the self. Remarkably it has been observed that by going through the homeopathic healing process, immediate family members not receiving treatment are also affected, as well as those close to us and even those we work with. Healing and resolution can radiate outwards, and it all begins with the choice to make a difference in our life.
How does holistic treatment support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? Having a life long study in the principles of nature and healthy living, Lauren Trimble is happy to share her knowledge and experience. The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity & developing consciousness in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to her current holistic practice. If you enjoyed this article find out more at Birdsong.
Homeopath and Holistic Practitioner.