Several of our Therapists that are seeing clients in person have now been vaccinated. In addition to offering in person appointments we are also seeing clients for online sessions via video call.
Thursday, 28 Nov 2019

Could You Be Suffering from Transgenerational Trauma?

By Dr Becky Spelman
Are You Suffering from Transgenerational Trauma? | Private Therapy Clinic

The idea of trauma being cyclical is not new. In fact, it’s an idea that’s been around for almost as long the study of psychology, itself. Rarely, does a trauma present itself without reason. There is always a root cause responsible for the mental and emotional turmoil that is felt in the present. Transgenerational trauma is an umbrella term that addresses this concept as a whole. It’s the idea that – unless the cycle is broken – behaviours and symptoms will be passed on to the next generation in the family lineage – the victim becoming the abuser who in turn creates yet more victims out of their offspring.

One of the biggest challenges in addressing these generational traumas is that they can be held tightly within the inner sanctum of the family unit – quite often for decades. This can be for a multitude of reasons. It could be that the behaviours have been so normalised that no correlation is made between adverse mental and emotional difficulties and inter-family relations. What may seem traumatic for the unattached observer may be experiencer’s idea of normal, as it is all they’ve ever known. But it could also be that the trauma is of such a sensitive nature that it doesn’t bear talking about in the open. Sexual abuse is one such instance which can bring up a lot of shame that prevents people from seeking outside assistance.

This situation also isn’t helped by a seemingly indifferent attitude of many trained professionals who deal with such cases of trauma-based mental health problems. A recent article by the Independent showed that of 4 systemic trauma-based studies an average of only 0-22% of psychiatric patients were asked a previous history with trauma.

This statistic is as alarming as it is surprising. The first line of inquiry any Therapist would be inclined to explore is to dig down to the root cause of why their client might have arrived at the place they’re at, now. From there, it becomes a lot easier to offer an effective treatment plan that will create will long-lasting and change – and not simply provide the psychological equivalent of a bandage to cover up old wounds.

The issues that can be passed on in this manner of projection and mirrored behaviour aren’t limited to a select grouping of the more unthinkable types of negative behavioural patterns – trauma comes in many guises and is quite often only recognised with the benefit of hindsight. Some of these issues can include:

Negative Styles of Parenting

Substance Abuse Issues

Issues of Emotional Attachment (Adult Absenteeism)

Personality and Moods Disorders

These are just a few examples, and as mentioned above, transgenerational trauma can be difficult to identify due to the idea of what constitutes trauma in the mind of the experiencer. For every person you ask, you’re likely to receive a different response on what trauma means to them. It is very much a subjective line of thought, and if the right – or wrong questions – were asked of someone, it might create the idea within them that they were traumatised when this isn’t, in fact, the case.

But how do you recognise this yourself?

At its heart, transgenerational trauma is a cyclical passing of behaviours from one generation to the generation, which undermines a person’s ability to have successful inter-personal relation and maintain good mental and emotional health. Look inwards towards yourself. Have you found you now exhibit some of the same patterns and behaviours that you once used to view as a negative quality in parents? Are you beginning to share some of the same world-limiting views?

About the author:

Dr Becky Spelman is a leading UK Psychologist who’s had great success helping her clients manage and overcome a multitude of mental illnesses.

***If you suspect you may struggling with transgenerational trauma/family issues and would benefit from speaking to someone about your situation, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with one of our specialists to help you find the best way to move forward. You can book yours here.

References (17thDec 2017). Should Mental Health Professionals Understand Intergenerational Trauma? Retrieved on 18th September, 2019 from,

Psychology Today (28thMay 2012). How Trauma is Carried Across Generations. Retrieved on 18th September, 2019 from,

American Psychological Association. (Feb 2019). The Legacy if Trauma. Retrieved on 18th September, 2019 from,

  • Depression
  • General
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • PTSD
  • Trauma
25 Nov 2019

The Anxiety of Climate Change: Does Your Worry Help?

Climate change has been on the world agenda for many years now. It's prompted thousands of people to offer their opinion in government and the media on what the prime causes are and how we go about addressing them. Climate change isn't a problem that is going away anytime soon. It's only looming ever more ominously on the horizon.....

23 Nov 2019

Overcoming Anxiety: An Overview of CBT

Anxiety is a normal response in many situations. It helps us gauge if we’re in danger and whether we need to get away from a particular place or person. The act of worry, fear and anxiety are survival skills that have been instrumental in us staking our claim as the dominant species on this planet.....

17 Nov 2019

Taking a Cognitive Behavioural Approach to Climate Change

So many people are concerned about the problems of climate change, but too few realise that despite having been part of the problem, they can now just as easily be a part of the solution. By taking a cognitive behavioural approach, it will enable us as a planet to start taking responsibility for the world we live on.....

13 Nov 2019

5 Signs You Could Be Suffering from Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is something we've probably all experienced at some point in our lives. A 2011 study indicated it has affected as many as 70 per cent of us. For anyone that has achieved a level of success that came to them unexpectedly, it can often be accompanied by the lingering thought that sooner or later you're going to get found out.....

10 Nov 2019

Spotting and Managing Psychosomatic Symptoms

When you break the term psychosomatic down to its component parts, it literally refers to something that is both of the mind (psyche) and the body (soma). So when psychosomatic is used to describe a particular condition, it means that the individual will be affected by both physical and mental factors.....

07 Nov 2019

The 5 Main Types of Learning Difficulties

At its base level, learning difficulties are a set of conditions that affect the way people are able to interpret, memorise and retain new information. And they extend not just to the way information is internalised but also the way they communicate it to others.....

04 Nov 2019

Helping Bipolar Patients with Group CBT Sessions

Bipolar is best characterised by episodes of mania and/or hypomania, which is followed by periods of deep depression. The manic episodes often lead to an inflated ego or sense of self-esteem and can see the individual suffering from Bipolar become extremely driven and goal-orientated.....

01 Nov 2019

5 Ways to Help Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a condition that affects people during the winter months in parts of the globe that experience colder climates and shorter days. It’s also less commonly referred to as the winter blues or winter depression and is estimated to impact as many as 29% of Brits with 8% of those people experiencing acute symptoms and the remaining 21% suffering from minor forms of SAD.....