Episode 11 - Dr. Shelly Wiechelt: Cultural and Historical Trauma: Affecting Lives for Generations

Monday, January 12, 2009, 12:03:52 PM

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People experience trauma in varying ways, from both trauma that occurs within their own lives, to trauma that is transmitted to them from cultural, historical, and intergenerational experiences. In this podcast, Dr. Shelly Wiechelt defines cultural, intergenerational, and historical trauma and discusses its impact on the lives of individuals and their communities.

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Average Rating: 4.6 stars (14 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 5stars  the historical trauma i experienced , Wednesday, January 10, 2018

By Imani :

I enjoyed this podcast. I Have learned the ideal message of historical trauma, in which I can relate to. Growing up in a predominantly non-minority neighborhood, my mother has always taught my sister and I about our history within the black culture. Growing up I experienced the same names my ancestors have been called such as the “N word, a monkey, blackie”. Growing up as a child I was hurt and fell into depression, and I was flabbergasted about my racist experience . Though I have overcame this trauma, this shaped how I looked at myself, my self esteem and such. On the other hand, my mother always encouraged my curls, the different shades our people come in, along with my people success, and as a young child trying to love who I was, and being told by my peers other wise traumatized me. For the past 10 Years I have learned to overcome those names, although I don’t forget it. I use this historical trauma to encourage young people and older people to love themselves and I give them the same advice I used to overcome my depression. Looking back I don’t blame the cruelty coming from the children, I blame their environment because that’s where it’s learned from and passed down. I loved this podcast so much because it had me reflect about me overcoming my trauma and how I can past down the encouragement of rebuilding my culture of loving who we are and never being afraid to be the best people that we can be. Even now the indirect trauma that occurs until this day, for example the African American child who was used as a model to display a sweater that says “the coolest monkey In the jungle” though some may argue the innocence of making the t shirt, it is highly offensive because African Americans were belittled and called monkeys, therefore that sweatshirt may bring up the historical trauma of what African America s have overcome. I thank Doctor Shelly for such insight and enhancing my knowledge about cultural trauma.

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Average Rating: 5stars  important information, Saturday, October 29, 2011

By Lea A. :

This podcast really taught me a lot. I have always been interested in culture and oppression. I believe many people do not know about other cultures and even about their own. It is so important for us, as social workers, to be aware of where people come from and what their struggles have been. One thing I took away from this podcast is that it is going to be challenging as a social worker to try to help individuals who may be experiencing historical trauma, especially if they do not even know that they are. It will be difficult to find acceptable ways to do this, since the subject of culture is usually a sensitive one. The information in this podcast really has me thinking about these challenges

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Average Rating: 5stars  incorporating past with present, Wednesday, October 12, 2011

By Anonymous :

This was a very informative and intriguing podcast. I think it is a very important topic to explore as many clients that we could potentially be working with could present symptoms of one diagnosis, but in reality it is experiencing this trauma. It is also great to hear and explore because as social workers, it is important to incorporate trauma perspectives when working with different cultures and populations. This podcast really brought up the great points of different forms of trauma that can affect the individual, the family system, and the community. I thought the different examples given were great. It was interesting to really understand the differences in trauma whether it is historical, inter-generational, or across the community. It was very interesting to hear how an original trauma such as the Holocaust affects the different generations within that one culture. It was interesting to hear how the original trauma is experienced from the first generation and the second generation is also affected by the same trauma. It was interesting to hear how the second generation and beyond experience the original trauma but in a different way such as accumulated grief, anxiety, and depression stemming from the original trauma. This podcast really helped to understand that original trauma can have profound effects on an entire culture and community. I thought it was very interesting to hear about the intervention known as “communal grieving” as presented about the Native American tribe that experienced trauma. It was great to learn that as social workers this could be the problem the client is facing and the healing process is social workers helping to recall where the client came from. From there they can build off the resiliency and face the trauma properly. This was very informative and helped in better understanding a different trauma perspective.

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Average Rating: 5stars  cultural and historical trauma: eye opening, Saturday, July 24, 2010

By Chelsea Bango :

I found this podcast to be extremely eye opening! I have heard more times than I can count people saying that happened so long ago why cant they just get over it, or you did not experience the event, why are you upset? I never knew how to respond or what to think about comments like these in regards to people who are Jewish, African American, Native American, etc. After listening to this podcast, it is clear to me how the feelings, experiences, and effects of traumatic events such as the Holocaust, and other culturally traumatic events are carried down from generation to generation. I think this information, on top of doing my own research on this area, will help me have a better understanding and ability to interact on a professional level with individuals, or groups of individuals who may be experiencing cultural or historical trauma.

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Average Rating: 4stars  cultural and historical trauma, Friday, July 23, 2010

By Megan Orband :

Past trauma can have a profound effect on individuals, families, and communities. Dr. Shelly Wiechelt provided a very insightful and thought-provoking discussion on historical and cultural trauma and how the accumulation of trauma produces a compounding effect across generations. Historical and cultural trauma can be manifested in later generations due to unresolved grief and loss of culture in their predecessors. It certainly makes sense that individuals and/or communities who have experienced historical or cultural trauma can then pass that trauma onto their offspring in the form of medical, psychological, and/or spiritual symptoms. It is interesting that those who did not experience the original trauma are not aware that their symptoms are related to what happened so long ago and professionals cannot link their issues to a specific trauma. Dr. Wiechelt states that cultural healing is important for groups who have experienced either historical or cultural traumas. Communal grieving is an example provided by Dr. Wiechelt and is important because it helps to rebuild a group’s culture and structure of culture to help people resolve their trauma at a cultural level. It is important for social workers to gain a full picture of individuals/communities historical backgrounds in order to identify historical and cultural trauma experiences which may be the cause of their presenting problem.

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Average Rating: 4stars  cultural & historical traumas, Friday, February 26, 2010

By Meaghan E. :

This podcast presentation was very interesting and did a great job of underlining the importance of not only looking at a client’s current situation. Instead, as a future social worker, I must work to acknowledge and understand a client’s history and background, as these are critical pieces of one’s story. It is so important to look at past events that may have occurred within a culture, and that may now be negatively affecting current generations. As Wiechelt states, our clients may not recognize that something from their past (perhaps even before they were born) may now be contributing the symptoms they are exhibiting now. We want to help clients to recognize their strengths and where they came from. Further, Dr. Shelly Wiechelt also discusses the major differences between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Historical Trauma and the ways in which symptoms are manifested in individuals, families, and communities.

I had never heard of the term “frozen grief” but I believe it is a major theme of Dr. Shelly Wiechelt’s podcast. This is the idea that grief is unresolved as individuals are incapable of expressing their feelings of loss and trauma. In turn, this can lead a culture to experience intense trauma and stress. Ultimately, the experience of the original trauma is transferred to the children. The idea of cultural and community healing is one that has been highlighted several times with the MSW program here at UB. A culture can work to heal trauma by focusing on its resilience and its strengths. This can help to rebuild a culture that has experienced collective trauma, which is crucial for groups that have experienced these immense cultural traumas.

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Average Rating: 4stars  review for sabota interventions 521, Tuesday, February 16, 2010

By Alana Cordaro :

While listening to this podcast, I couldn't help but think about an internship I did in undergrad at an outpatient substance abuse facility. Many of the groups consisted of minorities, particularly African Americans and Native Americans. Many of them had mentioned having many of the symptoms of historical trauma that Shelly was talking about, but I didn't really make the connection that they could be experiencing anxiety, depression, domestic violence, etc because of the trauma they or their previous generations had experienced. It makes sense now that experiencing a traumatic occurrence would lead to such conditions, and that could lead to self-medicating by way of substance abuse. Even though the substance abusers did not experience the trauma of slavery, segregation, or all the hardships of being pushed out of their land that the Native Americans went through, they are still dealing with the after effects, and are often confused as to what it means to be apart of their culture. On top of this predisposition to have any of these conditions, they experience their own various life traumas, it is no wonder they have substance dependencies. This podcast really put things in perspective, and made me more aware of the various ways people deal with trauma, and that once the trauma is over, there is still a great deal of healing to be done for generations to come.

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Average Rating: 4stars  episode 11 review, Thursday, February 11, 2010

By Sharron MSW Student :

Dr. Shelly Wiechelt’s podcast on Cultural and Historical Trauma was very insightful for it offered a clear definition on the differences between Historical Trauma and Post traumatic stress disorder. According to Dr. Wiechelt cultures that have been exposed to historical trauma often experience dismal side effects associated with cultural genocide throughout generations. Moreover, the inability for members within the Jewish, African American, Japanese and Native Indians cultures to process the cultural denigration they experienced over generations can often lead to frozen grief which manifests itself in psychological or physiological symptoms. As a result it is important that we become informed about intergenerational trauma and compounding traumatic events transmitted unconsciously from outside forces. After all it is essential that cultures impacted by cultural genocide be encouraged to regain their history and share in communal grief around the original trauma often deemed beneficial.

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Average Rating: 5stars  cultural and historical trauma - insights considered, Monday, February 08, 2010

By Shawn O'H. :

This interview with Dr. Shelly Wiechelt was extremely enlightening and informative. She discusses the phenomenon of cultural and historical trauma, explaining the possible impact on people across time and across generations. Her explanation of problems based on past traumatic events and examples including the Lakota genocide in the late 1800s and the Holocaust make the concept of historical trauma easy to understand. The concept of "frozen grief", due to unresolved grief and avoidance of talking about the traumatic event(s), was unknown to me, and I appreciate that listeners were informed about the effects on culture and individuals across generations. It was also enlightening to learn of possible remedies because people may not know that historical trauma is the foundation of their problems with depression, anxiety, etc. So, it is logical that helping them recognize the wounding to their culture that occurred in the past and to help them attach to the strength of their culture would be beneficial. - Having experienced people in the South who are anti-Yankee and discriminate against Yankees, I now realize that cultural or historical trauma may be a valid explanation of those behaviors. Thank you, Dr. Wiechelt, and interviewer, Sue Green, for providing this enlightening and interesting podcast!

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Average Rating: 4stars  cultural and historical trauma, Saturday, February 06, 2010

By Sally H :

I thought this podcast did a good job of illustrating the ways in which collective cultural trauma can accumulate over time. I found Wiechelt’s ideas for healing cultural trauma particularly appealing. If intergenerational trauma is the result of a violent loss of culture and tradition, then it follows that acknowledgement of past wrongs, communal grieving, and reclaiming cultural identity would be especially therapeutic.

Also, I think it’s really important to differentiate between examples of cultural trauma. The intergenerational trauma that I have experienced as the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, is entirely different than cultural trauma experienced by Native Americans, which has been compounded by ongoing oppression and cultural genocide. Whereas Jews by and large have been able to reestablish our communities and traditions, Native Americans have been forcefully prevented from such healing opportunities, with clearly more devastating results. I think this is a critical distinction.

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Average Rating: 5stars  historical trauma and health disparities across generations , Tuesday, February 02, 2010

By Mary B. :

I found this podcast to be exceptional and would like to thank Dr. Wiechelt for her work in historical and cultural trauma. Dr. Wiecheklt talked about the Native American people and how they have suffered for generations from historical trauma. The Native American people are still suffering and trying to heal from the trauma they experienced as a culture many years ago. Health disparities are seen across the culture in both the young and elderly. Heart problems and Diabetes are two of the health disparities in the Native American culture. I have been privileged to work with the Native American people for several years. I have learned from this culture and have gained an understanding of how historical trauma has effected their culture as individuals, community, and family. Dr. Wiechelt spoke of frozen grief and how communities are coming together to heal. This is an important piece to the healing process for Native Americans along with trying to regain their cultural identity as people. I learned more about the Native American culture by listening to this podcast and again want to say thank you to Dr. Wiechelt and to Sue Green who conducted the interview.

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Average Rating: 5stars  informative presentation, Monday, January 25, 2010

By Dawn W. :

I found this presentation informative in providing an introduction to the topic of historical and cultural trauma. I am a firm believer in the concept that the past never goes away. I think it's important to remember that we all have a history and it is helpful to learn about each person's history as we work with them. An example was mentioned in regards to the Holocaust. I think another example would be the American Civil War. People who experienced that episode in history were certainly traumatized by those events. I imagine that there were a lot of unresolved grief then, too, that carried down through the generations. Another example of personal trauma that could be carried down through the generations could be abuse suffered by one person and then that person in turn teaches an ineffective way of coping to their children or their depression stemming from that abuse could be felt by their children. This podcast provided a wonderful opportunity to explore the ideas of cultural and historical trauma that could otherwise go unnoticed.

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Average Rating: 5stars  great, Thursday, December 03, 2009

By Ivey :

Insightful, …cultural traumas are essential to there being a DSM IV that is culturally sensitive so were not prematurely placing labels on people

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Average Rating: 5stars  thank you, Saturday, September 12, 2009

By Roseanne Jackson :

This is very thought provoking and I know this will alter the way that I percieve the people that I will be working with.

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