Session: Past, Present, Future: Three Communities Experiencing Generational Trauma (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

12 Past, Present, Future: Three Communities Experiencing Generational Trauma

Thursday, January 17, 2019: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Continental Parlor 7, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Immigrants and Refugees (I&R)
Nurit Fischer, MSW, State University of New York at Buffalo, Asli Yalim, MSW, State University of New York at Buffalo and Mary Keovisai, MA, MSW, State University of New York at Buffalo
Historical mass trauma research from the intergenerational perspective started in the 20th century, referring to the trauma within individuals, families and communities that have undergone atrocities and genocides (Danieli, 1998). Large scale violence and human rights violations are often followed by excessive trauma and mass migration, in the context of political, cultural, economic, physical and psychological well-being. Initial intergenerational trauma research started with the children of Holocaust survivors. Previous research has found that the persecutions, that took effect over a short period of time, were intense, centralized, and with specifically defined purpose, were found to create massive long-term trauma to the children and grandchildren of the survivors. In spite of evidence on long-term generational trauma, state-sanctioned large-scale atrocities have occurred across the world, while interventions to address this trauma have gone underdeveloped. This roundtable will examine intergenerational trauma within three different communities across more than 70 years. It will give a unique opportunity to explore the effects of the past as we see them today, to look into the current expressions as they are being studied, and to prepare for future generations which inevitably will carry the trauma. Different methodologies and interventions will be considered for individuals, families and communities experiencing generational trauma and re-traumatization due to current violent conflicts. Additionally, it will discuss racial, cultural, and social aspects, examine existing health and mental health services available, and enlighten advantages and disadvantages of the globalization and media technological advances effects on the communication and assistance available. The first discussant will present the multigenerational effects of mass-traumatic experiences from the perspective of the historical generational trauma of the Holocaust. The psychopathology and resilience perspectives of past studies among the survivors will be discussed. Examination of the current perspectives, including but not limited to grief and loss theories and emerging epigenetic theories, amongst the children and grandchildren of the survivors will provide current insight on the effects of the trauma on individuals, families and communities 70 years after the war. The second discussant will provide insight into historical and generational trauma among refugee families from Laos and Cambodia, 30 years after resettlement. Specifically looking at the adult children of refugees from these countries, we can gain further knowledge about the intersections of forced migration, intergenerational trauma, and racial/ethnic identity. The last discussant will highlight future directions for interventions with displaced Syrians who are at risk for re-traumatization due to restrictive policies and unwelcoming post-resettlement contexts. Trauma-informed, context-sensitive, and multi-level intervention models that aim to restore social cohesion, and rebuild trust and capacity may develop meaningful lives for adult Syrians as well as for today's children; tomorrow's parents. The discussant will also illustrate unique positioning of displaced Syrians in this timeline approach as a result of improvements in communication technologies and globalization.
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