The experiences from one’s childhood and their parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods build on each other to create their unique perspective. With that many lifetimes of moments, there are bound to be many that are significantly traumatic.  

Even though an individual did not directly experience the trauma, it is still impactful.

Adverse experiences change the course of one’s history. A grandmother who was abused will parent differently than one who grew up in a loving, caring home. This parenting style may then be unconsciously mimicked by her daughter when she has her own children. And the cycle continues. 

Ancestral trauma isn’t limited to parenting styles. It is infused into every thought, feeling, action and interaction, essentially becoming ingrained into one’s body, mind and spirit. Past family trauma has the ability to temper one’s present and future.

Healing ancestral trauma is vital for living a positive and productive life. This begins by embarking on a journey of self-discovery and self-awareness. Curated strategies that promote mental health awareness in the workplace will help employees break the cycle and experience a life free of the effects of ancestral trauma

Ancestral trauma affects employees differently and can negatively impact their abilities and relationships at work. As a leader, you can help your team develop the necessary self-awareness with the guidance of an expert mental health keynote speaker. A professional with extensive knowledge and experience in intergenerational healing will offer proven techniques, insightful advice and empathetic support throughout the process.  

Undertaking this journey of healing intergenerational trauma will ultimately empower individuals to become the best version of themselves. On this transformational path, your team will learn about the effects of trauma and how situations past generations experienced still impact their experiences today. As a deeper understanding of ancestral trauma is unearthed, the healing process can begin.

Healing Intergenerational Trauma by Identifying Its Root Cause

Intergenerational trauma refers to trauma that is inherited and experienced by individuals as a result of historical events, such as childhood trauma or that of one’s parents, which leaves a lasting impact. The effects of trauma can reverberate through generations until the past becomes so entwined with the present it feels impossible to untangle.   

Unearthing the hidden threads of ancestral trauma is the first step towards healing. When one acknowledges the interplay between past and present, it becomes possible to understand the profound impact of intergenerational trauma and learn how to recover from it. This journey of discovery leads to happier employees and a more productive workplace.

Untethering the Past from the Present

Healing one’s childhood trauma begins by recognizing its root causes. It is integral to understand how ancestral trauma creates a ripple effect that builds until it eventually washes over the present and crashes toward the future. Having this insight allows individuals to halt its progression.

The intergenerational healing one does today will impact their careers, families, and future relationships. By understanding family trauma and engaging in transformational self-discovery and self-care, the cycle can effectively be broken.

Finding the Roots of Ancestral Trauma

Healing ancestral trauma requires a journey of self-discovery toward a deeper understanding of its root causes. Delving into the childhood trauma experienced by prior generations is the first step toward healing. By unearthing the cause of the trauma, one can disrupt history and begin a process of self-transformation that will positively impact future generations.  

The consequences of intergenerational trauma can be devastating when left unexplored and unchecked. Emotional distress, maladaptive coping mechanisms and relational difficulties may arise in employees simply as a result of situations experienced by their ancestors. 

Recognizing the Effects of Intergenerational Trauma at Work

Trauma is unbelievably tricky. It progresses through individuals with various mechanisms, such as behavior modeling, attachment patterns and even epigenetic changes. It has been discovered that changes in the expression of genes (epigenetics) can occur in those who have experienced significant trauma. It is then postulated that these changes are ultimately passed to future generations. This means that an individual’s trauma may actually alter their genetics. 

Knowledge sparks healing.

By understanding trauma’s influence, its power can be disrupted. This begins with identifying common behavior patterns that arise out of intergenerational trauma.

4 Essential Strategies for Supporting Employees Through Healing Childhood Ancestral Trauma

Leaders who recognize the root causes of intergenerational trauma are integral and can create a safe space for employees to engage in the healing process. Once the interwoven threads are unraveled by employees, leaders can begin implementing practical techniques to disrupt its impact on the workplace. 

Following this list of curated strategies that promote healing will help employees develop the ability to break the cycle and experience a life free of the effects of ancestral trauma. The impact the individual healing process will also offer in the workplace is tremendous.

1. Delving into historical narratives and patterns.

Every individual is shaped by diverse historical narratives, dynamics and patterns, many of which go back generations. By encouraging employees to delve into their historical roots and gain an understanding of how past trauma shapes the present, leaders can initiate a profound healing process that benefits both employees and the organization. Doing so provides employees with a safe space for self-reflection and introspection. The opportunity to honestly examine how past trauma affects one’s life today, can unravel its impact and catalyze transformation. A leader who supports mental health awareness in the workplace and has a true understanding of how one’s past affects one’s present and future, creates a culture of inclusivity where every employee feels safe to be authentic. 

2. Prioritizing self-care is key to healing ancestral trauma.

Replenishing physical and emotional resources is of utmost importance to overall well-being. While a leader cannot erase ancestral trauma for employees, they can encourage self-care measures to heal from its effects and guide employees into breaking the cycle. This important work begins by prioritizing activities that nurture resilience, such as mindfulness, exercise and other creative outlets. Creating opportunities to infuse solace in the workplace environment allows employees to focus on self-care for the mind, body and soul, which is critical for the recovery process. 

3. Seeking the guidance and support of an expert.

Inviting an expert in intergenerational trauma to speak with your team can offer strategies and guidance to optimize the healing process. It may feel uncomfortable for employees to delve into personal experiences with a stranger, but this support delivers the resources and tools needed to heal. Offering education about intergenerational trauma and other types of professional support can awaken an understanding in employees that their symptoms are not their fault. Rather, they are the ripple effects of ancestral trauma. To supplement the mental health resources offered in the workplace, employees may consider therapy, including trauma-specific intervention, to aid in processing experiences, developing coping mechanisms and healing intergenerational trauma. Leaders can create an inclusive workplace environment where these employees feel safe discussing their efforts to heal without fear of judgment.

4. Discover individual strengths to build resilience and thrive.

Guiding employees into exploring their innate resilience and strength will lead to developing effective coping mechanisms that can mitigate the effects of stress. Being aware of each individual’s needs and deploying strategies to develop resilience is integral to creating a culture of well-being and mental health awareness in the workplace. Additionally, demonstrating support for individuals as they embark on a meaningful healing journey is integral to its success. 

Breaking the Cycle and Creating a Transformational Narrative

Every individual has the power to transcend ancestral trauma and improve the narrative of their life. Leaders who offer employees the support, resources and guidance necessary to recognize the roots of trauma will aid them in disrupting its power and redirecting it to develop a positive arc that continues to improve life (and work) today, tomorrow and for years to come. This begins with leaders working to gain a deeper understanding of individual experiences, perspectives and challenges related to past trauma and creating an environment where every individual feels safe being their authentic selves.

Conquer Stigma, Shame and the Fear of Judgment

Workplace dynamics are complicated. Some employees may resist discussing the healing process due to a perceived stigma of trauma or feelings of guilt and shame. This can be mitigated by establishing a safe and non-judgmental environment where everyone feels comfortable delving into their emotions without reprisal or not discussing them at all, should they choose. Opening up about the effects of past trauma can be traumatizing in itself. Ensuring every voice is heard and feelings are validated without dismissing or trivializing any experiences is integral to cultivating a workplace culture of respect, transparency and equity. 

Overcoming Denial and Fear of Repercussions

A state of denial is where many individuals prefer to remain. The fear of repercussions from discussing trauma is strong, and it may feel easier to avoid it entirely. This reluctance may stem from anxiety about the consequences of sharing or a desire to deny that past trauma plays a role in their life. 

Create a safe space for allowing employees to engage in constructive conversations about family trauma by implementing the following strategies:

  1. Create a comfortable time and space that ensures privacy and fosters an inviting atmosphere where individuals feel comfortable to openly share and discuss their experiences.
  2. Engage in active listening and genuinely empathize with individual perspectives, promoting a supportive and compassionate environment. 
  3. Encourage self-reflection by supporting individuals as they explore the effects of trauma, empowering them to gain insights and promote personal growth.
  4. Encourage employees to engage the services of a professional who can guide them through the healing process.

Dealing with Unexplored or Unrecognized Trauma

It is entirely possible that some employees may not be aware of the existence of intergenerational trauma, or they deny its impact. In order to overcome this, it is important to raise mental health awareness in the workplace through education, sharing personal experiences and encouraging self-reflection. 

Recognize that addressing trauma may feel daunting and intimidating. Taking small steps, practicing open-mindedness and seeking support from trusted experts will aid in conquering fear and sparking conversations that cultivate a positive and productive workplace culture.

Untangling Complex Family Dynamics

One of the most challenging obstacles to overcome are the extraordinarily intricate complexities of family dynamics. Discussing ancestral trauma has a way of bringing even hidden dynamics to light. Encouraging employees to seek professional support can aid in navigating these challenges. An insightful therapist will guide an individual through any minefields, establish effective communication and healthy boundary-setting and foster healing. As employees untangle their complex family dynamics and begin healing from trauma, it will have a positive impact on their ability to be positive and productive at work.

Uncovering Hidden Wounds to Embrace Healing

A transformational journey of healing from intergenerational trauma is bound to unearth a multitude of hidden wounds. Before they heal, these wounds must be closely examined and treated. The process may be painful, but the end result will be worth it.  

Offering employees the time, space and support to work with an expert to aid in uncovering and treating these hidden wounds is key to successful healing. In the workplace, this support may come in the form of a mental health keynote speaker who will offer insights around how family trauma affects the workplace and helps employees feel empowered to break the cycle and live their best lives.