It Didn't Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

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A groundbreaking approach to transforming traumatic legacies passed down in families over generations, by an acclaimed expert in the field
 
Depression. Anxiety. Chronic Pain. Phobias. Obsessive thoughts. The evidence is compelling: the roots of these difficulties may not reside in our immediate life experience or in chemical imbalances in our brains—but in the lives of our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. The latest scientific research, now making headlines, supports what many have long intuited—that traumatic experience can be passed down through generations. It Didn’t Start with You builds on the work of leading experts in post-traumatic stress, including Mount Sinai School of Medicine neuroscientist Rachel Yehuda and psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score. Even if the person who suffered the original trauma has died, or the story has been forgotten or silenced, memory and feelings can live on. These emotional legacies are often hidden, encoded in everything from gene expression to everyday language, and they play a far greater role in our emotional and physical health than has ever before been understood.
 
As a pioneer in the field of inherited family trauma, Mark Wolynn has worked with individuals and groups on a therapeutic level for over twenty years. It Didn’t Start with You offers a pragmatic and prescriptive guide to his method, the Core Language Approach. Diagnostic self-inventories provide a way to uncover the fears and anxieties conveyed through everyday words, behaviors, and physical symptoms. Techniques for developing a genogram or extended family tree create a map of experiences going back through the generations. And visualization, active imagination, and direct dialogue create pathways to reconnection, integration, and reclaiming life and health. It Didn’t Start With You is a transformative approach to resolving longstanding difficulties that in many cases, traditional therapy, drugs, or other interventions have not had the capacity to touch.
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About the author

Mark Wolynn is a leading expert on inherited family trauma. He is the winner of the 2016 Silver Nautilus Award in Psychology. As the director of The Family Constellation Institute in San Francisco, he has trained thousands of clinicians and treated thousands more patients struggling with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive thoughts, self-injury, chronic pain, and illness. A sought-after lecturer, he leads workshops at hospitals, clinics, conferences, and teaching centers around the world. He has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, the Western Psychiatric Institute, Kripalu, The Omega Institute, The New York Open Center, and The California Institute of Integral Studies. His articles have appeared in Psychology TodayMind Body Green, MariaShriver.comElephant Journal and Psych Central, and his poetry has been published in The New Yorker. www.markwolynn.com.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Apr 26, 2016
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781101980378
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Mental Health
Psychology / Psychotherapy / Couples & Family
Self-Help / Personal Growth / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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 “An extraordinary, eye-opening book.”—People
 
2018 National Health Information Awards, Silver Award
 
“A rousing wake-up call . . . this highly engaging, provocative book prove[s] beyond a reasonable doubt that millions of lives depend on us finally coming to terms with the long-term consequences of childhood adversity and toxic stress.”—Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow
 
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris was already known as a crusading physician delivering targeted care to vulnerable children. But it was Diego—a boy who had stopped growing after a sexual assault—who galvanized her journey to uncover the connections between toxic stress and lifelong illnesses.
            The stunning news of Burke Harris’s research is just how deeply our bodies can be imprinted by ACEs—adverse childhood experiences like abuse, neglect, parental addiction, mental illness, and divorce. Childhood adversity changes our biological systems, and lasts a lifetime. For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, or who cares about the millions of children who do, the fascinating scientific insight and innovative, acclaimed health interventions in The Deepest Well represent vitally important hope for preventing lifelong illness for those we love and for generations to come​.
 
“Nadine Burke Harris . . . offers a new set of tools, based in science, that can help each of us heal ourselves, our children, and our world.”—Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed
 
“A powerful—even indispensable—frame to both understand and respond more effectively to our most serious social ills.”—New York Times
Fascinating patient stories and dynamic exercises help you connect to healing emotions, ease anxiety and depression, and discover your authentic self.
 
Sara suffered a debilitating fear of asserting herself. Spencer experienced crippling social anxiety. Bonnie was shut down, disconnected from her feelings. These patients all came to psychotherapist Hilary Jacobs Hendel seeking treatment for depression, but in fact none of them were chemically depressed. Rather, Jacobs Hendel found that they’d all experienced traumas in their youth that caused them to put up emotional defenses that masqueraded as symptoms of depression. Jacobs Hendel led these patients and others toward lives newly capable of joy and fulfillment through an empathic and effective therapeutic approach that draws on the latest science about the healing power of our emotions.
 
Whereas conventional therapy encourages patients to talk through past events that may trigger anxiety and depression, accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy (AEDP), the method practiced by Jacobs Hendel and pioneered by Diana Fosha, PhD, teaches us to identify the defenses and inhibitory emotions (shame, guilt, and anxiety) that block core emotions (anger, sadness, fear, disgust, joy, excitement, and sexual excitement). Fully experiencing core emotions allows us to enter an openhearted state where we are calm, curious, connected, compassionate, confident, courageous, and clear.
 
In It’s Not Always Depression, Jacobs Hendel shares a unique and pragmatic tool called the Change Triangle—a guide to carry you from a place of disconnection back to your true self. In these pages, she teaches lay readers and helping professionals alike
 
• why all emotions—even the most painful—have value.
• how to identify emotions and the defenses we put up against them.
• how to get to the root of anxiety—the most common mental illness of our time.
• how to have compassion for the child you were and the adult you are.
 
Jacobs Hendel provides navigational tools, body and thought exercises, candid personal anecdotes, and profound insights gleaned from her patients’ remarkable breakthroughs. She shows us how to work the Change Triangle in our everyday lives and chart a deeply personal, powerful, and hopeful course to psychological well-being and emotional engagement.
A “courageous, compassionate, and rigorous every-person’s guide” (Christina Bethell, PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) that shows the link between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and adult illnesses such as heart disease, autoimmune disease, and cancer—Childhood Disrupted also explains how to cope and heal from these emotional traumas.

Your biography becomes your biology. The emotional trauma we suffer as children not only shapes our emotional lives as adults, but it also affects our physical health, longevity, and overall wellbeing. Scientists now know on a bio-chemical level exactly how parents’ chronic fights, divorce, death in the family, being bullied or hazed, and growing up with a hypercritical, alcoholic, or mentally ill parent can leave permanent, physical “fingerprints” on our brains.

When children encounter sudden or chronic adversity, stress hormones cause powerful changes in the body, altering the body’s chemistry. The developing immune system and brain react to this chemical barrage by permanently resetting children’s stress response to “high,” which in turn can have a devastating impact on their mental and physical health as they grow up.

Donna Jackson Nakazawa shares stories from people who have recognized and overcome their adverse experiences, shows why some children are more immune to stress than others, and explains why women are at particular risk. “Groundbreaking” (Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance) in its research, inspiring in its clarity, Childhood Disrupted explains how you can reset your biology—and help your loved ones find ways to heal. “A truly important gift of understanding—illuminates the heartbreaking costs of childhood trauma and like good medicine offers the promising science of healing and prevention” (Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart).
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