Understanding and Healing from Post-Traumatic Stress: The Weight of Past and Ancestral Trauma

Many of us carry the weight of past traumas, sometimes without even realizing it. Post-traumatic stress can stem from personal experiences, but did you know that trauma can also be inherited from previous generations? This concept, known as ancestral trauma, suggests that the unresolved trauma of our ancestors can influence our mental and emotional well-being today.

Healing from past traumas is essential for moving forward. As Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a leading expert in trauma research, notes in his book The Body Keeps the Score, “Trauma results in a fundamental reorganization of the way mind and brain manage perceptions. It changes not only how we think and what we think about, but also our very capacity to think.” This reorganization can hinder our ability to pinpoint what specifically is holding us back, leaving us feeling stuck.

Research has shown that addressing and releasing past traumas can be incredibly beneficial. According to a 2021 article from Psychology Today, “Therapies such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and somatic experiencing can help individuals process and integrate traumatic memories, leading to significant improvements in mental health.”

Ancestral trauma, while a more complex concept, has also gained recognition in recent years. A study published in Nature Neuroscience found that the descendants of trauma survivors might exhibit stress responses similar to those of their ancestors. This intergenerational transmission highlights the importance of not only addressing our own traumas but also understanding the broader historical context that may impact us.

Healing these deep-seated wounds can lead to profound personal growth and liberation. As Mark Wolynn, author of It Didn’t Start with You, explains, “When we take steps to heal what lies beneath our surface, we often find that the blockages in our lives—whether they’re emotional, physical, or spiritual—begin to shift. This process allows us to live more fully and freely.”

Acknowledging and addressing both personal and ancestral traumas can pave the way for a more fulfilling life. If you find yourself unable to pinpoint what’s holding you back, consider exploring your past and seeking professional help. Healing is not just a personal journey but a path to transforming future generations.


• Van der Kolk, B. (2014). The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.
• “Understanding and Healing Trauma.” Psychology Today, 2021.
• Yehuda, R., & Lehrner, A. (2018). Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma Effects: Putative Role of Epigenetic Mechanisms. Nature Neuroscience.
• Wolynn, M. (2016). It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle.

#PostTraumaticStress #TraumaHealing  #AncestralTrauma #MentalHealth #HealingJourney #TraumaRecovery #IntergenerationalTrauma #MentalHealthAwareness  #Traumainformedcoaching #EmotionalWellbeing #PersonalGrowth  #MindBodyConnection #TraumaInformed #SelfHealing #HealingFromWithin