Intergenerational Trauma and the Role of Family Culture

Intergenerational Trauma and the Role of Family Culture
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-03-14
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Intergenerational Trauma and the Role of Family Culture
Unit 2Transcript: Intergenerational Trauma and the Role of Family Culture
Unit 3Workbook: Intergenerational Trauma and the Role of Family Culture
Unit 4Recording: Intergenerational Trauma and the Role of Family Culture

Researches made thus far have revealed that the effects of trauma can be passed down genetically, prenatally, developmentally, and culturally. This presentation will cover the different ways trauma is passed on across generations and its impact from pregnancy to adulthood as well as holistic intervention approaches to fully address intergenerational trauma.
This session’s instructor is Duane Bowers. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Educator who works with survivors of trauma and the professionals that serve the survivors and their families by providing support, clinical supervision, and training of staff and volunteers.

Specifics of this webinar’s discussion include:

  • Defining and discerning terms related to intergenerational trauma.
  • The genetic mode of intergenerational trauma, the concept of epigenetics, the changes it creates across generations, and an experiment that illustrates how this occurs with trauma.
  • The developmental means of intergenerational trauma where trauma during pregnancy, lack of nurturing, trauma in the environment, and insecure attachment styles affect the baby’s ability to modulate anger and fear, bond, learn and develop short-term memory.
  • The concept of fetal programming where the prenatal environment results in lasting psychological imprints and susceptibility to psychological suffering later in life.
  • Insecure attachment style where an uninvolved, inconsistent, and unpredictable caregiver prompts the baby into a state of hyperarousal and fear due to its needs not being met.
  • How trauma patterning can cause the body to shift between fight/flight/freeze and shutdown, leading to a fluctuation between anxiety and depression.
  • A glimpse into the limbic brain and how trauma and how impacts the function and development of these different parts.
  • What culture is, how cultural and historical trauma develops, and how trauma shapes the beliefs and behavior of a group of people.
  • Secondary trauma as a consequence of indirect exposure to a traumatic event through close contact with the direct victim.
  • How ancestors who’ve had significant trauma inadvertently create secondary trauma by sharing their experiences to their descendants.
  • The concept of compulsion to repeat, how victims re-enact their trauma as either a victim or perpetrator, how victimhood is still present as they perpetrate, and examples of how this manifests.
  • How the family culture can perpetuate generational trauma within families through complicit behaviors, complicit acceptance, and complicit loyalty which rationalizes and normalizes abuse and trauma and prevent victims from breaking free from the cycle of abuse.
  • How addressing intergenerational trauma within a family requires a deeper understanding of the culture and dynamics within the family and all the members, not just working with the victim or perpetrator.
  • The difficult undertaking of recognizing and addressing complicities within families to effectively address intergenerational trauma.
  • The goals and steps of intergenerational trauma intervention through education, identifying the complicities and the impact of trauma, teamwork to make the necessary change, a deliberate approach to avoid past mistakes, and employing professionals in the process.
  • The elements of family resilience to build and foster to address intergenerational trauma.
  • The need for healing trauma within families for the benefit of future generations.

Questions from the webinar attendees are about:

  • Differences across sexes in terms of the effect of epigenetic changes.
  • Trauma being a norm in society.
  • How intergenerational trauma goes beyond the three generations if left unaddressed.



Other Webinars with this Speaker



Or click here to view and register for other upcoming Victim Assistance webinars and recordings on the JCH Platform.


Audience Comments

  • “Duane is knowledgeable and competent on this topic. His excitement made me excited. All in all, this was good. The 3 generations of trauma has literally shifted my whole perspective with trauma work. As a BIPOC individual, the cultural history, family culture and influence of the complicity made perfect sense. Does he do any other trainings? Let me go find him on IG!” — Brittani
  • “How one person’s experiences/culture affects several generations.” — Teresa
  • “The presenter was great and I loved his passion…” — Victoria
  • “The change in genetic markers due to trauma was very valuable. The information was presented in language that was easy to understand.” — Annetta
  • “Excellent presentation on why people are affected by their environments and trauma – taking it to another level. Really appreciated it!” — Jennifer
  • “The information in this course is fascinating! The presentation was clear and easy to follow. Well done all around. I am interested in learning more about this topic.” — Katina
  • “The information about complicit acceptance and complicit loyalty was really helpful for framing community/family involvement in perpetuating violence. I really appreciated gaining that language. I’m also fascinated by epigenetic markers so the information on all of that was really great too! This was a fantastic webinar and I hope to join more with this presenter again.” — Lex
  • “This webinar is absolutely one of the best webinars I’ve attended. Duane Bowers is knowledgeable, informative, and well-organized….” — Tracy
  • “This webinar made me think of my own family culture and how some of the trauma they were exposed to affected me. Very interesting webinar!” — Rita
  • “This was one of the better webinars that I have attended – the information on epigenetics, how trauma influences the brain, etc was wonderful.” — Jaclyn





NACP and D-SAACP Advocates can earn 1 CEU by attending this webinar through the National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP)® and the DoD Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program (D-SAACP). Founded in 1975, the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) is the oldest national victim assistance organization of its type in the United States and is the recognized leader in victim advocacy, education and credentialing.  To learn more about NOVA, visit







Additional Resources
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