By Neal Brodsky and Judy Gotlieb LMFT's January 2016
We have been noticing the powerful impact of family trauma and history on the functioning of individual children and on parents. As family therapists, we learned to ask someone who said she was depressed -- "Who is depressing you?" To this we would now add "What is depressing you, making you anxious or unable to focus?"
The influence of a great grandparent's flight from persecution and subsequent immigration, the alcohol problem of a grandfather or grandmother, the grief of a mother who mis-carried multiple times.....all of these historical events may have affected your ability or that of a family member to reach for happiness and fulfillment in life, and even to ask for help until what feels like the most desperate circumstances insist you must.
While we cannot do anything about historical occurrences, we can help adults act today to face family trauma and history, teasing out "What is yours that you want to move forward with" and "What you want to leave behind."
Fathers, Sons, and Families
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