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Top 10 Books About Generational Trauma

books about generational trauma

The following are some of the best books about generational trauma to help you embark on your recovery journey.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

What Is Generational Trauma?

Generational trauma, also known as transgenerational trauma, refers to the psychological and emotional impact that traumatic experiences can have on individuals across multiple generations within a family or community.

It suggests that the effects of trauma can be passed down from parents to their children, affecting their mental health and overall well-being.

When someone experiences a traumatic event, such as war, violence, abuse, or displacement, it can result in long-lasting emotional scars and coping mechanisms.

These experiences can have a profound impact on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, influencing how they interact with others and navigate life.

Generational trauma suggests that these effects can be transmitted to subsequent generations through various mechanisms. This transmission can occur through familial relationships, cultural influences, and even biological factors.

For example, parents who have experienced trauma may unintentionally pass down certain behaviors, belief systems, or coping strategies to their children, shaping their worldview and potentially perpetuating the cycle of trauma.

It is important to note that generational trauma does not mean that every individual within a family or community will experience the same traumatic events or exhibit the same symptoms.

However, there may be common patterns and themes that emerge across generations, leading to an intergenerational impact on mental health and well-being.

Acknowledging and addressing generational trauma is crucial for supporting individuals and families in healing and breaking the cycle.

This involves providing access to mental health services, promoting awareness and understanding, fostering resilience, and creating supportive environments that facilitate healing and growth.

Books About Generational Trauma

1. It Didn’t Start with You

By Mark Wolynn

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.

Related: Do I Need Therapy Quiz (+FREE Therapy Guide)

2. Heal Your Ancestors, Heal Yourself

By Allie Duzett

This is a practical book. It starts by walking through some of the recent science and studies published on the epigenetic transfer of trauma, and from there it discusses the nitty-gritty of HOW to actually do generational healing work.

Ancestral healing work is something you can do on your own, and on your own time–but this is also a book of sessions. As you follow the instructions in the book, and work through the sessions as written, you will see for yourself how your own emotional state shifts.

Related: Why Is Trauma Therapy So Hard? (+Best Trauma Healing Exercises To Support Your Recovery)

3. Breaking the Chains of Transgenerational Trauma

By Dorothy Husen

Dorothy Husen, a licensed therapist and captivating storyteller, shares how her family’s trauma passed down from parent to child and how she through mind/body psychotherapy broke the cycle and healed her family’s transgenerational trauma.

4. When Ancestors Weep

By James A Houck Jr PH D

This book follows a basic premise in that throughout history, traumatic events have wounded and immobilized people. not just in life-threatening or physical ways, but also in psychological, emotional, and indeed, our understanding of who we are as souls.

Related: 7 Trauma Release Exercises To Support Your Recovery After Trauma

5. The Burden of Heritage

By Aileen Alleyne

The Burden of Heritage: Hauntings of Generational Trauma on Black Lives is a timely addition to the literature on inter- and transgenerational trauma. The book addresses black ancestral trauma passed down the generations, highlighting the ongoing impact on black lives.

6. Generations Deep

By Gina Birkemeier LPC

Gina shares the story of inherited trauma and dysfunction that echoed through four generations of her family, demonstrating this profound truth: what isn’t repaired gets repeated. Often in ways we never could have imagined.

Related: Best 15 Inner Child Exercises: How To Connect With Your Inner Child (& Heal Your Childhood Wounds)

7. Translating Your Past

By Michelle Van Loon

In Translating Your Past, author Michelle Van Loon helps readers uncover how patterns and gaps in family histories, generational trauma, adoption, genetic clues and surprises, spiritual history, and the church help us translate our own pasts and understand why these stories matter.

8. The Remodel

By Lex A’llure

The book includes poetry, story-telling, and questions that will spark curiosity in its reader about their own journey. You will laugh, you will cry, and most importantly you will realize that no matter where you begin, who you decide to become is all up to you.

Related: Inner Child Wounds Test (+4 Attachment Imagery Exercises To Heal Inner Child Wounds)

9. Racial Trauma

By Kenneth V. Hardy

This groundbreaking book provides a comprehensive overview of the anatomy of racial trauma and the debilitating hidden wounds associated with it. Racially sensitive trauma-informed interventions and strategies that centralize race and racial oppression in every facet of the therapeutic process and relationship are meticulously highlighted, making this a must-read resource for all practicing and aspiring clinicians.

Workbooks About Generational Trauma

10. Intergenerational Trauma Workbook

By Lynne Friedman-Gell PhD, Joanne Barron PsyD

Drawing on their combined decades of experience treating trauma, Dr. Lynne Friedman-Gell and Dr. Joanne Barron have created an accessible and compassionate workbook that teaches you how to recognize and identify the effects that intergenerational trauma is having on your life.

You’ll discover a variety of easy-to-use, evidence-based strategies that will not only help you heal but also help break the cycle of your family’s trauma.

Related: Top 25 Inner Child Journal Prompts To Heal Your Inner Wounds

How Books About Generational Trauma Can Help

Books about generational trauma can be incredibly beneficial in several ways:

1. Understanding the past: These books provide a deeper understanding of historical events and their lasting impact on individuals, families, and communities. They shed light on how trauma can be passed down through generations, shaping our beliefs, behaviors, and relationships.

2. Validation and healing: Reading about generational trauma can help individuals recognize their own experiences and feel validated in their emotions and struggles. It can create a sense of belonging and relief to know that others have also faced similar challenges.

3. Empathy and connection: Books on generational trauma offer insights into the experiences of different cultures, communities, or individuals. By reading these stories, we can develop empathy and connect with people who have lived through traumatic events that may differ from our own. This understanding builds bridges between diverse groups and fosters compassion.

4. Breaking the cycle: These books often explore the effects of generational trauma on individuals and their relationships. By examining the patterns that emerge within families or communities, readers can gain insights into how these cycles can be broken. They provide a framework for personal growth and healing, as well as inspiration for change.

5. Education and advocacy: Books on generational trauma drive awareness about the long-lasting impact of historical events on present-day individuals and communities. This knowledge can help promote social justice and support efforts to address systemic issues related to trauma.


Books about generational trauma play a crucial role in promoting understanding, healing, empathy, and positive change on both individual and societal levels.

By Hadiah

Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.

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