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. 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 Elephant Journal and Psych Central, and his poetry has been published in The New Yorker.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Published on
Apr 26, 2016
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Psychology / Mental Health
Psychology / Psychotherapy / Couples & Family
Self-Help / Personal Growth / General
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Researchers have shown that survivors of accidents, disaster, and childhood trauma often en endure lifelong symptoms ranging from anxiety and depression to unexplained physical pain, fatigue, illness, and harmful "acting out" behaviors.
Today, professionals and clients in both the bodywork and the psychotherapeutic fields nationwide are turning to Peter A. Levine's breakthrough Somatic Experiencing® methods to actively overcome these challenges. In Healing Trauma, Dr. Levine gives you the personal how-to guide for using the theory he first introduced in his highly acclaimed work Waking the Tiger. Join him to discover: how to develop body awareness to "renegotiate" and heal traumas by "revisiting" them rather than reliving them; emergency "first-aid" measures for times of distress; and nature's lessons for uncovering the physiological roots of your emotions."

Trauma is a fact of life," teaches Peter Levine, "but it doesn't have to be a life sentence." Now, with one fully integrated self-healing tool, he shares his essential methods to address unexplained symptoms of trauma at their source—the body—to return us to the natural state in which we are meant to live in.
Introduction:  A Tiger Shows the Way
Chapter One:  What is Trauma?
Chapter Two:  The Causes and Symptoms of Trauma
Chapter Three:  How Trauma Affects the Body
Chapter Four: Twelve-Phase Healing Trauma Program:  A Guide to the Audio Exercises
Chapter Five:  Sexual Trauma:  Sexual Trauma:  Healing the Sacred Wound
Chapter Six:  Spirituality and Trauma:  Pathway to Awakening
Helpful Tips and Techniques for Preventing Trauma
Additional Resources
About the Author
About Sounds True
Trauma is the most avoided, ignored, denied, misunderstood,
and untreated cause of human suffering. When I use the word
trauma, I am talking here about the often debilitating symptoms that many
people suffer from in the aftermath of perceived life-threatening or overwhelming
experiences. Recently, trauma has been used as a buzzword to
replace everyday stress, as in, “I had a traumatic day at work.” However,
this use is completely misleading. While it is true that all traumatic events
are stressful, all stressful events are not traumatic.
Unique to Each Individual
When it comes to trauma, no two people are exactly alike. What proves
harmful over the long term to one person may be exhilarating to another.
There are many factors involved in the wide range of response to threat.
These responses depend upon genetic make-up, an individual’s history of
trauma, even his or her family dynamics. It is vital that we appreciate these
differences. Simply knowing that certain kinds of early childhood experiences
can severely diminish our ability to cope and be present in the world
may elicit compassion and support rather than harsh judgment, both for
ourselves and for others.
Perhaps the most important thing I have learned about trauma is that
people, especially children, can be overwhelmed by what we usually
think of as common everyday events. Until recently, our understanding of
trauma was limited to “shell-shocked” soldiers who have been devastated
by war, victims of severe abuse or violence, and those who have suffered
catastrophic accidents and injuries. This narrow view could not be further
from the truth.
The fact is that, over time, a series of seemingly minor mishaps can
have a damaging effect on a person. Trauma does not have to stem from a
major catastrophe. Some common triggering events include:
• Automobile accidents (even fender benders)
• Routine invasive medical procedures
• Loss of loved ones
• Natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes
Even falling off a bicycle can be overwhelming to a child under certain
circumstances. We will discuss those circumstances later. For now, I will
simply say that almost all of us have experienced some form of trauma,
either directly or indirectly.
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 Depresszió. Szorongás. Krónikus fájdalom. Fóbiák. Rögeszmés gondolatok. Vajon lehetséges, hogy e nehézségek gyökereit nem az életünk során átélt élményeinkben vagy az agyunk kémiai egyensúlyának felborulásában kell keresnünk, hanem a szüleink, a nagyszüleink, sőt, akár a dédszüleink történetében? A bizonyítékok elsöprő erejűek. Az elmúlt néhány év során végzett tudományos kutatások alátámasztják azt, amit már régóta sejtettünk: a traumás élmények örökölhetők. Lehet, hogy az, aki az eredeti traumát elszenvedte, már meghalt, vagy a történet feledésbe merült, az emlékek és az érzések azonban tovább élhetnek. Bele vannak kódolva a génjeinkbe, és felbukkannak a mindennapi nyelvhasználatunkban. Az örökölt családi traumák területének úttörőjeként Mark Wolynn több mint húsz éve végez terápiás munkát egyénekkel és csoportokkal. Örökölt családminták című könyvéből megismerhetjük módszerét, az alapnyelvezet feltárásán alapuló megközelítést. A diagnosztikai célú leltárkészítés révén feltárhatjuk a mindennapos szóhasználatunkban, a viselkedésmintáinkban és a fizikai tüneteinkben alakot öltő félelmeket és szorongásokat. A kötetben bemutatott technikákkal feltérképezhetők a generációkra visszakövethető élmények, a vizualizáció és a közvetlen dialógus eszközei pedig segítenek kiépíteni az utat, melyen haladva helyrehozhatjuk az életünket és az egészségünket. Kideríthetjük, hogy a traumás örökségek hatása sokkal fontosabb szerepet játszik az érzelmi és fizikai egészségünkben, mint eddig gondoltuk. A szerző módszere lehetőséget nyújt olyan régóta fennálló nehézségek leküzdésére is, amelyek sok esetben ellenállnak a hagyományos terápiás és gyógyszeres kezeléseknek. Mark Wolynn az amerikai The Family Constellation Institute alapítója és igazgatója. Számos pszichiátriai képzési központban, klinikán, kórházban és intézetben tanított. Cikkei az Elephant Journal és a Psych Central című szaklapokban, költeményei pedig a The New Yorkerben jelentek meg. Jelenleg a San Francisco-öböl közelében él. 
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