Historical trauma (HT) is a term of phrase used historians, social workers and psychologists to indicate a cumulative emotional and psychological damage caused to an individual or generation a distressing experience or event in history. These historical events may include situations of political conflict, natural disasters, the effects of war or genocide. How these events are felt, and lived, through by communities and society are crucial as the more distressing the impact is the greater likelihood there is of it leaving long-term emotional or psychological effects with individuals, within families, across generations and entire communities and societies. Practitioners call this concept historical trauma. A qualified counsellor with experience of handling cases of historical trauma focus on helping individuals with understanding their how a historical experience of event has had influence in their life as well as strategies for taking positive steps forward. This type of therapy can be helpful for a family to undertake together particularly when transgenerational trauma may be involved as this infers that not only parents but also their children and grandparents may need to address issues either individually or together.
Examples of Historical Trauma
Historical trauma can also be transgenerational trauma. This means that certain negative pattern are seen to be repeated across generation. For example the trauma of suffering parental abuse may cause historical trauma which then causes the pattern of abuse to continue across generations. Historian widely believe that acts of violence and abuse within certain societies can be associated directly with unresolved anger and grief which accompanies historical trauma experienced. Or for example societies which have witnessing traumatic events of war, genocide or death, which is a mass level trauma, may then several generations later have a tendency to higher rates of disease.