Escaping the Cycle: Facing and Treating Generational Trauma in Women

Escaping the Cycle: Facing and Treating Generational Trauma in Women

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Generational trauma can come from many sources, whether it’s the people who surround us, our environment, or other sources. Regardless of where they originate, the effect of these traumas can be significant. People who suffer from generational trauma carry the scars of their suffering and bear the burdens of the generations who went before them. This can lead to the development of many conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Women can experience and transmit generational trauma in unique ways. Pregnant women who experience high levels of stress change the environment of the fetus in utero, resulting in a host of problems. Stress from living with abuse, existing in zones of conflict, and even food insecurity can result in changes to the neurobiology of their infants. Women in these situations may also be experiencing generational trauma and may lack effective coping mechanisms for dealing with it.

For women in treatment and recovery from mental illness and substance use disorder (SUD), generational trauma can decrease their chances of success. At First Steps Recovery, our care team is experienced in trauma-informed approaches that address these issues. Here, women find a safe and supportive environment as well as innovative therapies that facilitate healing from generational trauma.

Unveiling the Prevalence of Generational Trauma: Women’s Silent Burden

Generational trauma occurs when a person or group of people endure a traumatic event. These events can be anything from verbal or sexual abuse to the horrors of war. However, in every case, these events affect the person or group of people long after. Those people then inadvertently pass the trauma onto future generations. This can occur by being overly cautious in unwarranted situations, by creating unnecessary rules and restrictions out of fear, or in any number of other ways.

Generational trauma is a silent burden that weighs heavily on the one who carries it. For women with SUD, the suffering can be too immense to handle. Despite its silence, generational trauma occurs in more ways than most people realize. When people transfer their fears about traumatic experiences to others, they also share the maladaptive traits that they acquired from that event. Not only is the trauma unhealthy for the person, but it also becomes an unhealthy part of future generations’ existences as well.

As experts in trauma-informed approaches at First Steps Recovery, we understand that trauma that is hidden is very real. We believe it is important that we uncover these traumas and find constructive ways to release them, both for the health of our clients and for their children. Trauma-informed therapy allows us to focus on facing traumatic experiences through compassion and empathy. This type of therapy helps people break free of lingering symptoms and find their way back to a happy, healthy life.

Understanding the Interplay: Generational Trauma and Substance Use Disorders

Generational trauma and SUDs have an intertwining relationship in the lives of our clients. Often, trauma within families perpetuates negative behavioral patterns. These patterns lead to the adoption of maladaptive coping mechanisms such as developing SUD.

When someone learns to cope with their generational trauma through addictive behaviors, we consider this to be maladaptive. Choosing to seek treatment for SUD is the first step in confronting the trauma that led to it. By doing so, women can begin to face the underlying trauma in order to achieve sustainable recovery.

Breaking the Silence: Empowering Women to Share Their Stories

Many women don’t realize it, but sharing stories with other women is important. Too often, generational trauma is perpetuated when women remain silent about the horrors they endure. Bringing these situations into the light is a way they can begin to heal from them. Revealing one’s experiences by discussing them in a safe and supportive environment can break down these traumas and leave a person feeling empowered.

At First Steps Recovery, we believe in fostering a sense of validation and connection. Processes such as individual and group counseling, support groups, and artistic therapies allow our clients to heal through the power of self-expression.

Trauma-Informed Approaches: Healing and Empowering Women

Healing does not happen overnight. When women experience generational trauma, there tends to be a lot to unpack. It takes time to overcome years, sometimes decades, of learned behaviors and maladaptive coping skills. Truly overcoming generational trauma requires hard work. For women to overcome the generational trauma they face, they need interventions that prioritize safety, trust, and empowerment. That is why at First Steps Recovery, we help women build the resilience they need to succeed in treatment. In doing so, our clients reclaim their agency, rebuild their lives, and forge a path to long-lasting recovery.

Creating a Supportive Environment: Compassion and Understanding

We also believe in creating a supportive environment for our clients. Creating a system that feels safe and gentle for clients is a top priority. One of the ways we do this is by incorporating the principles of trauma-informed therapy. This includes the development of compassionate approaches to our clients’ painful experiences.

Treatments that help to heal generational trauma have a certain emphasis. This emphasis includes helping women develop effective coping mechanisms, regulating emotions during crises, and restoring a sense of inner security. At First Steps Recovery, our treatment program focuses on several different modalities that our clients may find helpful. Some of these include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Mindfulness practices
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR)

Promoting Healing and Empowerment: Women’s Journies of Recovery

Healing from generational trauma is a transformative journey for women. No matter what therapy our clients choose, they will find their needs are the top priority at First Steps Recovery.

Here we approach each client’s needs holistically, providing them with the tools they need to reclaim their lives and break free from the shackles of generational trauma. By fostering a sense of empowerment, women can break the chains of trauma forged by past generations and find lasting recovery.

Generational trauma is when the pain of trauma is transmitted from one generation to another. For those who experience generational trauma, a good life can seem impossible to achieve. However, there is hope when you seek treatment. The truth is that facing generational trauma can seem overwhelming in the treatment and recovery process. Aside from that, women in substance abuse programs face unique challenges and hardships. Still, overcoming the cycle of trauma may be just what you need to succeed in recovery. Avoiding the pain of generational trauma may seem like the easiest solution, but opening up about it can allow you to heal. To learn more about healing generational trauma, call First Steps Recovery at (844) 489-0836 today.

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