The study, carried out by Dr. Miri Scharf and Prof. Ofra Mayseless from Haifa University’s Education Department, detects unprocessed, indirect signs of post-trauma, or problems in communication and interaction systems, among second-and-third-generation descendants of Holocaust victims. For more info read HERE.
The transmission of the holocaust trauma is further studied and discussed in this paper by Dr Kellermann, the Chief Psychologist of the Israeli national support group for holocaust survivors: PAPER.
The notion that traumatic experiences influence the children of survivors is not entirely new. Writing in Nature, Virginia Hughes notes that people who were traumatized during the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia tended to have children with depression and anxiety, for example, and children of Australian veterans of the Vietnam War have higher rates of suicide than the general population.
Inheriting Emotional Memory
Scientists Michael Meaney and Moshe Szyf have proven that the experiences of female rats could change the DNA passed on to children without altering its sequencing. Now scientists in Zurich have shown that the father also contributes to passing on the effects of trauma to his offspring.
The recent study published in Nature Neuroscience conducted by neuroscientist Isabelle Mansuy and her colleagues at the University of Zurich in Switzerland showed that the offspring of mice who experienced high levels of trauma experienced high levels of stress and depression. The sperm of traumatized mice had a higher expression of microRNA (small RNA) linked to anxiety, depression, and stress. The scientists showed that the stress and depression were passed on genetically, rather than socially, by injecting sperm into mice who had not undergone trauma.
The fact that emotional trauma can be inherited is part of understanding the science of “epigenetics.” This is the study of how environmental factors can affect how our DNA is expressed. Remember health isn’t really about what genes you inherit – it’s whether your genes express themselves or not – and that is controlled by factors in the environment which are in our control: diet, exercise, lifestyle and psycho-emotional factors.
But what if in fact you are suffering emotional trauma – and you inherited the trauma from your parent – or as in the case of holocaust survivors – from your grandparents?
Family Constellations Therapy
So Family Constellations therapy was designed to deal with inter-generational trauma and was developed by Bert Hellinger a German psychotherapist born in 1925 and it is called Family Constellations Therapy.
Constellations therapy is not just psychological work, but energetic. The therapy works in a group roll-playing environment. When it is “your turn” members of the group are picked – one to play you, one to play your mother, another plays your father, others play your siblings and extended family and so on.
The therapist then helps the role players interact in a way which clears unresolved issues, trauma,and misunderstandings which our ancestors were never able to do.
It is a stunning therapy and one which leading integrative practitioner Dr Klinghardt personally runs himself. See www.klinghardtacademy.com for more details.