Generational Trauma: How We Can Heal Our Selves Through our Ancestors

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The idea that emotional trauma can be passed from generation to generation has intrigued me for years. Undoubtedly, being the daughter of two Holocaust survivors played a huge role in my lifetime work of helping adults heal from childhood trauma. My parents’ generation was a stoic one; They were neither driven nor inclined to explore (let alone discuss) the painful experiences of their own early lives. A colleague of mine once suggested that a good portion of my professional journey has been to help others get the insights and respite I was never able to help my parents achieve from their own grim memories.

I worked in the Hispanic community of Southern California as a therapist for years. As part of my dissertation research, I compiled statistics of traumatic experiences that were uncovered during hypnotic age regression sessions. Statistically, the highest percentage of trauma involved sexual abuse (of both male and female). This research also revealed a rather high instance of the affected female subjects reporting that their mothers had also been abused. This further advanced my thought processes around these lines.

Scientific Support

The concept that emotional trauma can be handed down from our parents in a similar way one inherits their eye color, is not without scientific support. In a study by the University of Zurich, researchers discovered not only can extreme and traumatic events change a person, but they can also impact their children, a generation or two later, through RNA strands.

In this study, mice were exposed to traumatic experiences that sparked depressive-like symptoms and behaviors. These behaviors were transferred to the next generation, through the RNA in sperm; While the offspring had never been exposed to the trauma, these mice still exhibited depressed states, even into the third generation!

Generational trauma patterns can be depicted as a heavy chain of links, dragged (unconsciously) from one family line down to the next. And one of the greatest benefits that can be achieved by doing the inner work needed to recognize and heal is – you release your children from lugging these links into the future, thereby liberating them from the generational chain.

Can This Work Both Ways?

I have also conjectured: As a result of doing this deep healing work, my age regression clients perform a kind of exoneration for their own parents, thereby releasing them from the generational chain, even when deceased. Parents often feel guilty that they have somehow damaged their children by passing on their own fears and unresolved issues. Perhaps they have -- but sometimes it wasn’t intentional, as they themselves carried their own weighty burden (chain) without knowing how to heal. In my parent’s Pre-Oprah Greatest Generation they were taught essentially: Just stuff it down and get over it!

Enter Ariann Thomas, a healing professional currently residing in Northern California, who developed a modality that guides individuals into past generations, allowing them to communicate with their genetic ancestors in order to gain insight and healing. I met her in an online Mastermind forum and immediately resonated with her message and mission.

Thomas, originally from Ohio decided to pursue a career in justice. She headed west after graduating with a law degree and clerked for the Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, eventually operating her own law practice for 10 years before moving to Oregon where she was an Assistant Attorney General in the Oregon Department of Justice.

She was forced to retire quite early from her profession due to a chronic illness. When medical treatment could not resolve these issues, Thomas sought out alternative therapies, including acupuncture, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Chinese herbs, Reiki (a form of energy healing) and over time she felt almost fully healed. Being in the world of alternative healing opened her mind to a new world of thought and she sensed that there was still a missing piece.

As part of her healing process, she recognized the need to face the many unresolved issues of her childhood. Being from a very large family of such dysfunction, most of her siblings and extended family were barely speaking to one another. It had been revealed that most of her siblings had been victims of years of incestuous sexual abuse.

Revelations from the Distant Past

In her exceptional book, Healing Family Patterns: Ancestral Lineage Clearing for Personal Growth, Thomas recounts how via a fervent desire to desire to reconcile her divided family, and to complete her healing path, she drew on the many disciplines and philosophies she had experienced, as well as her own Native roots. Entering a deep meditative state, she implored Spirit to show her the way to help her and her family heal from their collective pain.

She was guided to a female ancestor over 20 generations back where the women were tired of being oppressed and terrified that if they asserted themselves they would be punished by their men folk. The female ancestors formed a ritual in the forest, calling upon the power of God/Goddess to manipulate and dominate their men through sexual prowess. While they were only operating out of their own fears and powerlessness, this functioned as a kind of curse that ultimately backfired in that in contributed to a pattern of dominance and victimization for subsequent generations.

Not only did Thomas feel a noticeable shift after experiencing this technique, a few days later her sister called and told her that she had had a sudden breakthrough in her therapy only days after the meditation, without knowing about Thomas’ experience. This has slowly but surely led to much healing and forgiveness in the family, also without their needing to personally participate in the clearing process. This was one of many family patterns she went on to address in subsequent sessions, including an almost miraculous relieving of a congenital health condition.

If the idea of being able to go back in time to converse with an ancestor to discover the source of a personal or family issue seems far-fetched, one can find consensus in the science of quantum mechanics as far back as the 1950’s. Hugh Everett, a noted physicist theorized that time must be simultaneous and that at certain nexus points in life, the choices one makes determines the parallel universe they occupy. This is covered in much more detail in my e-book, Parallel Lives. Making better choices seem to cause a positive domino effect throughout time and space, at a quantum level.

Thomas explains that “When we heal our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual traumas, illnesses and short-comings we will affect all our family members because family patterns don’t exist in a vacuum. They affect us all. We are related particles and matter in this world of quantum physics.

She currently guides many individuals in Ancestral Lineage Clearing in one-on-one and group sessions, as well as currently training individuals around the world in her unique method.

The work you are willing to do on yourself to gain consciousness about your motives, discovering personal and genetic sources not only enrich your self-knowledge and life quality, but can also greatly enhance the lives of those genetically connected to you over past, present and future generations.