By Michaella Huck, The Sundial, February 3, 2020
Over the past decade, clinicians and scholars have intensely studied and treated the effects of intergenerational trauma suffered by communities of color (i.e. one generation to the next — be it individual or collective) that is passed onto future generations. Intergenerational trauma is defined as the transmission of historical oppression and its negative consequences across generations.
There is significant evidence of the impact of intergenerational trauma on the health and well-being for communities of color — specifically African American/Black people. For clinicians who attempt to provide cross-cultural clinical treatment to individuals who have a long history of generational trauma (e.g. African American/Black folk), the clinician needs to have a strong grasp of cultural awareness\; cultural humility, cultural relevance in addition to employing a critical lens when providing treatment to this population.
Clinicians who focus on treating solely the presenting symptoms such as anxiety and depression without giving consideration to the socio-political-historical components are destined to fail as services. Exploring intergenerational effects as being not only psychological, but also social, neurobiological, biological and cultural, is of the utmost importance.