What is Collective Trauma

Published by ninakeeler on

Collective Trauma is trauma that happens in large groups of individuals and can be transmitted across generations and communities.  It can be caused by wars, genocide, slavery, terrorism, mass bombings, mass shootings, and natural disasters. 

Collective trauma can be either experienced firsthand or witnessed.  Symptoms of collective trauma include rage, depression, survivors’ guilt, chronic disease, syndromes, denial, and internalized oppression.

I am new to collective trauma, but I cannot deny that there is something to pay attention to here as our world becomes more and more chaotic. Whether it be past traumas that are showing up in a new way or new traumas that are becoming our daily news topics, we can all probably agree there is traumatization happening across large groups of people from all backgrounds.  We would be ignorant to think collective trauma is not showing up in our therapy rooms week in and week out.

Here are three things to consider when it comes to learning more about Collective Trauma:

1. Consider educating yourself about collective trauma. 

2. Consider incorporating more questions and/or assessments in your intake process to help identify collective trauma. 

3. Consider growing and developing your skills in treating collective trauma on an individual level as well as being more active on a broader scheme in the community.   

For some of us, collective trauma may be a new concept, and for others, it is as old as time.  Either way, there is more and more talk in the trauma treatment field on how to identify and address it, and I think it is important for us to pay attention. Consider learning more, starting to assess, treat and work more with collective trauma in your trauma treatment journey.  Another vlog you might enjoy is Trauma in the Minority Population.

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