Title

“Get Over It”: How Past Cultural Traumas Get Transmitted to Future Generations.

Conference Strand

Practice, Strategies, Techniques, and Interventions

Abstract

Current research on the genetic transmission of memories is providing new insights into the long-term effects that historical cultural trauma (i.e., slavery, internment camps, and holocaust) has on people of color today, and how we can expect future generations to be impacted. We will discuss what these new findings will mean to our work as counselors and social change agents.

Description

Our profession has long understood the impact that historical cultural trauma has on the development of the collective memories of marginalized groups. These traumatic experiences are transmitted through intergenerational storytelling and/or through vicarious exposure. Now, a growing amount of research is advancing our understanding of how historic traumatic experiences affect current generations despite the absence of personal experiences. Findings from an Emory School of Medicine study provided evidence of “transgenerational inheritance” – that traumatic events can affect the DNA and brain structure of subsequent generations, especially when members are exposed to current social oppressive experiences. Similar studies have been able to track the extent that these memories are handed down with the most recent finding being 14 generations. These findings have significant implications for our work as professional counselors, counselor educators, and social change agents.

This workshop will include a brief introduction to the literature on transgenerational inheritance of trauma, followed by an open discussion of how this understanding can improve therapeutic outcomes, our approach to multicultural and social justice training, and our advocacy efforts.

This workshop is intended for counselor educators, students, and practitioners, who are interested in advancing their awareness and knowledge of how historical events, coupled with current sociopolitical issues, can shape the behaviors, emotional responses and worldview of marginalized clients. This workshop will address a number of conference strands, including Practice, strategies, techniques, and interventions; social change, leadership, and advocacy; ethical issues in professional counseling; and teaching, training, and supervision.

Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the biological process and adaptive purpose of intergenerational transmission of traumatic memories.
  • Develop a more holistic understanding of how the inheritance of cultural trauma memories impacts targeted groups.
  • Identify new and practical strategies with our work as counselors, counselor educators, and social change agents.

Evidence

Alexander, J. C. (2004). “On the Social Construction of Moral Universals: The ‘Holocaust’ from War Crime to Trauma Drama.” Pp. 196–263 in Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity, edited by Jeffrey C. Alexander, Ron Eyerman, Bernhard Giesen, Neil J. Smelser, and Piotr Sztompka. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Brennan, T. (2004). The Transmission of Affect. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Champagne, F.A. & Meaney, M.J. (2006). Stress during gestation alters postpartum maternal care and the development of the offspring in a rodent model. Biol. Psychiatry 59, 1227–1235.

Dietz, D.M. (2011). Paternal transmission of stress-induced pathologies. Biol. Psychiatry 70, 408–414.

Eyerman, R. (2001). Cultural Trauma: Slavery and the Formation of African American Identity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Franklin, T.B. (2010). Epigenetic transmission of the impact of early stress across generations. Biol. Psychiatry 68, 408–415.

Hoffman, M., & Kruczek, T. (2011). A Bioecological Model of Mass Trauma: Individual, Community, and Societal Effects Ψ. The Counseling Psychologist, 39(8), 1087-1127.

Hinton, EA., Li, DC., Allen, AG. & Gourley, S.L. (2019). Social isolation in adolescence disrupts cortical development and goal-dependent decision-making in adulthood, despite social reintegration. eNeuro, 23, 6(5).

Houri-Ze’evi, L., Teichman, G., Gingold, H., Rechavi, O. (2019) Stress resets transgenerational small RNA inheritance. Cell, 165, 1

Kidron, C.A. (2003). Surviving a distant past: a case study of the cultural construction of trauma descendant identity. Ethos 31:513–44

Format

Individual Presentations

Biographical Sketch

Samuel Sanabria, Ph.D., LMHC, NCC, CST is an associate professor of clinical mental health counseling at Rollins College and specializes in development of moral and prejudicial attitudes towards sexual minorities. Samuel has over 15-years of clinical experience working with individuals, couples and families on issues regarding racial, sexual, and gender identity development.

Sarah Moore, B.A. is a graduate student in the Rollins College Graduate Program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Cory Walsh, B.A. is a graduate student in the Rollins College Graduate Program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Location

Session Two Breakouts: Hampton A

Start Date

2-7-2020 1:00 PM

End Date

2-7-2020 2:15 PM

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Feb 7th, 1:00 PM Feb 7th, 2:15 PM

“Get Over It”: How Past Cultural Traumas Get Transmitted to Future Generations.

Session Two Breakouts: Hampton A

Current research on the genetic transmission of memories is providing new insights into the long-term effects that historical cultural trauma (i.e., slavery, internment camps, and holocaust) has on people of color today, and how we can expect future generations to be impacted. We will discuss what these new findings will mean to our work as counselors and social change agents.