What's On


Arrivals Legacy Project and Phare Counselling explore intergenerational trauma

The impact of traumatic events or experiences can ripple through generations, leaving lasting emotional and psychological effects on individuals and communities. How do you begin the journey towards healing interpersonal trauma? Arrivals Legacy Project will explore clinical, therapeutic, and spiritual healing practices in an upcoming webinar moderated by Phare Counselling co-founder Dr. Ray Hsu.

What is intergenerational trauma?

The definition of intergenerational trauma is the transfer of adverse experiences and their psychological impacts from one generation to the next. It occurs when a generation that experiences trauma passes on this psychological distress to subsequent generations. The initial traumatic event may have affected an individual, a family, or a cultural, racial, or ethnic group. Intergenerational trauma is sometimes referred to as transgenerational, multigenerational, or historical trauma.

This type of trauma can affect anyone. However, people from marginalized communities frequently experience the heightened impact of intergenerational trauma due to colonization, slavery, and other forms of systemic oppression. 

In Canada, the Indian residential school system is a major source of intergenerational trauma in Indigenous communities. Indigenous children were forcibly separated from their families and cultures and suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. This intergenerational trauma continues to impact the health and well-being of Indigenous populations.

Causes of intergenerational trauma

There is a wide range of individual and collective experiences that can be the root cause of intergenerational trauma. These can include:

  • Historical oppression or violence, such as genocide, slavery, and concentration camps
  • Personal trauma, such as physical, sexual, or mental abuse; abandonment; serious mental or physical illnesses; and poverty
  • Major events, such as wars and natural disasters

It is thought that intergenerational trauma can stem from both genetics as well as learned behaviours. Epigenetics research looks at how the environment can affect DNA. On a social level, trauma can also impact family dynamics and parenting behaviour, causing certain beliefs or practices to be passed on to children.

Healing intergenerational trauma

It is not always easy for people to identify the source of certain beliefs, behaviours, and attitudes. Emotions and feelings could be rooted in unhealed intergenerational trauma, meaning it’s important to create spaces for people to explore their family and ancestral history.

What is intergenerational trauma and the path toward healing looks different for everyone. For some, engaging in trauma-informed therapy with a mental health professional can help them understand the impact and meaning of intergenerational trauma and how to cope. For others, culturally-based treatment and practices can help with healing on a physical, spiritual, and ancestral level. An array of other healing modalities, from engaging in activism to creating supportive communities, can also complement each other in the healing journey.

Explore the Art of Healing

Join Arrivals Legacy Project on May 16, 2024, for The Art of Healing, an interactive live webinar that highlights how Arrivals addresses the meaning of intergenerational trauma and considers its potential relationship to effective clinical, therapeutic, and spiritual healing practices.

Jude Wong, Zainab Amadahy, Peter Ọlálékan Adédòkun, and Mon Iker, in conversation with Dr. Ray Hsu, will share the transformative possibilities that can be unlocked from properly honouring personal, communal, and cultural grief. 

Register for the free webinar here.

About Arrivals Legacy Project

Arrivals Legacy Project is an interdisciplinary arts organization that guides, gathers, and challenges artists to attune to the wisdom and relevance of their ancestral stories and to re-source their creative impulses from a different place of knowing. 

Through the Personal Legacy Process, artists and creators of change engage in a transformational exploration of ancestry, ceremony, and root cultural practices. This approach to collaborative responsibility draws out a common vocabulary amongst Indigenous and diverse artists, their ways of working, and their sense of themselves in a global society.

The Arrivals Personal Legacy Process was created by Diane Roberts, who is Arrivals’ lead workshop facilitator and director and dramaturg of 35+ years. Her art practice is driven by storytelling and multi-disciplinary art forms, mixing ritual song, dance, storytelling, live art, and theatre. Her intuitive style of facilitation draws on specifically crafted creative engagement tools that inspire people of all cultural backgrounds to unearth their authentic creative impulses. 

Arrivals artists have been sharing the stories they have created over the past few years through The SeedPool Gallery. SeedPool, a virtual studio for Arrivals alums to connect, co-create, and collaborate, is expected to formally launch in 2025.

Get started on your journey with Arrivals Legacy Project.

About Phare Counselling

Phare Counselling replaces the outdated therapy model with a sustainable system that removes barriers to mental health. Through personalized matches with counsellors and sliding scale fees, Phare is on a mission to make mental health more accessible, more inclusive, and more fair.

The Phare process begins with a free initial call, where a team member will learn more about your specific mental health needs. You will then be matched with the best counsellor to support your well-being journey. Phare offers in-person access to counsellors in British Columbia and online therapy across Canada, with sliding scale rates from $60 to $150

The idea for Phare was born during the COVID-19 pandemic, inspired by organizations that were providing accessible low cost counselling to frontline and essential workers. Since its inception, Phare has been providing an alternative to the typical high costs, long waitlists, and confusing processes of traditional counselling services.

The diverse team of Phare therapists has a range of specializations to meet many unique mental health needs, including counselling for ADHD, anxiety and depression, trauma, and LGBTQ2+. Phare Counseling is dedicated to helping everyone on their mental health journey through personalized, compassionate, and accessible therapy.

Find the right counsellor for you with Phare Counselling.

Author Bio

Wendy Chan is a writer and editor who is passionate about health, wellness, and self-care. She has worked in marketing and communications for nearly a decade, creating educational content for brands and companies across Canada. Since 2020, she has been a writer and researcher for Phare Counselling.

Wendy specializes in authoring informative and accessible content on mental health, wellbeing, higher education, and technology. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. You can find her in Vancouver or Toronto, depending on the weather.

Request to collaborate with Joanne Roberts's Seed
Your Name:
Your Email address:
Title of the Seed:
Arrivals Legacy Project and Phare Counselling explore intergenerational trauma
Your message to the Artist *