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Integrate historical, cultural, racial, and other forms of collective
and/or intergenerational trauma

Cultural, racial, and historical trauma generally emerge collectively and manifest intergenerationally among people who share a circumstance(s), experience(s), and/or social identity. Such experiences can be perpetrated/perpetuated at the interpersonal, community, collective, systemic, and structural levels.


With the acknowledgment that certain public policies and institutions in America continue to cultivate acculturative stress and vulnerability among and disproportionately disenfranchise individuals, families, communities, and groups that have experienced these and other forms of collective trauma, CTIPP advocates for the implementation of trauma-informed policies and practices that seek to promote thriving by reducing re-traumatization and repairing the indelible impacts of historical, cultural, racial, and other forms of trauma that have rippled through the generations to impact people’s brains and bodies in the present.

Key Concepts/Terminology:

  • Collective trauma: psychological reactions to a traumatic event or series of events impacting an entire society carried as part of collective memory and shared sense of identity

  • Cultural trauma: indelible marks impacting—and possibly changing the identity of—a collectivity following being subjected to a severe event or series of events

  • Historical trauma: the cumulative emotional harm of an individual or generation(s) connected to a collectively traumatic experience or event

  • Racial trauma/race-based traumatic stress: the stressful mental impact and/or emotional injury related to encounters with racial bias and ethnic discrimination, racism, oppression, and hate crimes

  • Systemic trauma: the practices, contextual features, and procedures implemented by institutions/environments and/or their leaders that directly or indirectly give rise to and/or maintain psychological, emotional, economic, spiritual, physical, and/or sexual harm to particular individuals or specific groups of people

  • Transgenerational/intergenerational trauma: the transmission of trauma and related effects to subsequent generations


  • Prioritize interventions that facilitate healing by integrating traditional cultural practices and approaches to healing to build cultural knowledge, identity, pride, and resilience

  • Enact policies that curtail oppression, exploitation, and coercive control to prevent further trauma

  • Fund and support capacity-building and community mobilization efforts that honor community power and expertise and engage the leadership of community stakeholders and people with lived experience

  • Be responsive to the evidence on individual and collective impacts of decarceration and abolition of the prison industrial complex

  • Restructure school disciplinary systems to eliminate punitive practices and move toward more restorative justice approaches to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline

  • Consider equitable and restorative ways to promote access and resources among those who have experienced such collective trauma (e.g., baby bonds, universal basic income, reparations, etc.)

  • Increase access to resources and supports that draw on culturally-centered, strengths-based, healing-centered approaches that address and prevent such forms of trauma and advance health equity

  • Replace immigration policies that call for criminalization, family separation, deportation, and incarceration

  • Promote continuous cross-sector education and dialogue on systemic discrimination and oppression

  • Prioritize change in trauma-impacted communities that have been made most vulnerable by systems

  • Require providers that collect federal/state dollars to engage in trauma-informed practices

  • Increase workforce capacity to recognize and respond to signs and symptoms of such collective trauma

  • Diversify the workforce through incentives that support those who identify within groups that have experienced collective trauma to obtain positions of leadership/employment in underrepresented fields

  • Promote cross-sector collaboration to eliminate and prevent health and wellness disparities

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