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Concept of trauma in respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Causes of trauma

Critical appraisal of the intergenerational communication of trauma

Critical analysis of the effects of intergenerational trauma across the lifespan

Critical evaluation of the therapeutic approaches to facilitate healing and recovery of individuals and communities


Reference list


Trauma and loss is a recognised concept since the European invasion. From the mentioned time, it is considered as the undeviating upshot of the commotion of the cultural wellbeing. Besides, this magnitude seems to have an intergenerational effect. Additionally, there is a severe impact of the intergenerational trauma Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal population. It also seems to be having a similar impact on the linguistically or culturally diverse population within the nation. In this respect, the study will be focused on the concept and causes of trauma with relevance to the Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal population of Australia. Besides, with respect to developmental theory, intergenerational communication of trauma will be critically appraised in the study along with its effect across the lifespan and therapeutic approaches for the recovery and healing of the communities and individuals.


Concept of Trauma in Respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Trauma generally refers to the circumstances or the experiences that relate to emotional distressing and painful. As per the opinion of Miller (2018), it leaves the people helpless in terms of coping with the current issue. In addition to this, it can also be described as the situation that goes beyond the realm of common experiences of a human being. However, as argued by Townsend et al. (2018), in some of the cases, trauma seems to prevail occasionally and can also adapt to the common experiences of a human being. Besides, in most of the cases, trauma is being experienced by the people directly and it also involves a major threat in terms of people relating with others.

In respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, trauma is being faced in terms of ongoing violence, racism, and disadvantages within the domain. Other than that, there are several forms through which trauma is being faced by the mentioned group of population. It involves massacres, conflicts along with the disposition of traditional resources as well as lands. However, as pointed by Dobia & Roffey (2017), trauma can take a severe shape in the life of the mentioned population or other groups of the population within the domain. As per the statement of Bennett & Woodman (2019), sins performed by a father are to be creating a direct impact on the lifestyle of the children. From this analysis, it can be depicted that the trauma is likely to possess an intergenerational effect on each other. As aboriginal and Torres Strait islander and aboriginal population are discriminated, therefore, all the generation of the mentioned population seems to face intergenerational trauma.

Causes of Trauma

Trauma among the Aboriginal population and the Torres Strait Islander seems to be prevailing mostly from the discrimination faced within the society. As per the opinion of Tinkishea et al. (2019), discrimination within the society seems to build mental pressure among the population leading to mental trauma. Conflicts regarding the disposition of land and traditional resources also lead to the main concern of trauma among the population. In addition to this, as per the illustration of Lin & Suyemoto (2016), the increasing disease among the population along with the increasing starvation also leads to the main concern of trauma. Other than that, undermining the traditional identity along with the traditional languages, cultural practices and spirituality also leads to the aspects of trauma. As per the statement of Isobel et al. (2019), undermining of the traditional practices questions the existence within the nation. Hence, it leads to the significant cause of trauma among the population.

On the other hand, the breakdown of the individual’s healthy patterns along with the life of the community leads to the trauma. Other than that, as commented by Bachem et al. (2018), racism along with discrimination led to the common cause of trauma. Racism along with discrimination along with the domain of Australia and other nation has become one of the common causes. It is also considered to be avoidable aspects and the impact is being faced by all the generations. Other than that, the indigenous population seems to be having a separate form of government. However, as stated by Sirikantraporn & Green (2016), destruction of that governmental form along with community organisation and leadership leads to the aspect of trauma among the individuals. It is because, in the cruel world, where the group is constantly being discriminated against, the people feel powerless and helpless. It also creates a difficult path for them to survive within the desired domain. Hence, these causes lead to intergeneration trauma among the mentioned group.

Critical Appraisal of The Intergenerational Communication of Trauma

Developmental theory tends to explain the psychological, social, emotional and biological development as the stages over different age divisions such as old age, adulthood, adolescent and childhood. As per the illustration of Babcock Fenerci, Chu & DePrince (2016), the theory is mostly focused on the single category of identification. For instance, it can be focused on the aspects of sexual orientation and race. It is also focused on the outcome based on the specific category. Based on this analysis it can be depicted that the theories of development are focused on the different stages of livelihood based on the specific category. Besides, Piaget's theory of cognitive development trends to describe the stages of intellectual growth and cognitive development of a child (Dalgaard et al. 2019). This theory depicts that the thinking pattern of a child tends to revolve around the category of the population. Knight (2017) stated that cultural and traditional practices and beliefs influence the thinking pattern of a child.

Besides, it also reveals that a child tends to connect logically based on the traditional and cultural belief followed by the previous generation. This aspect depicts that there is an interconnection between the different generations of a specific category. It further comes to the conclusion that trauma possessed by the previous generation due to discrimination and racism of the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is likely to be communicated to the child population. On the other hand, Bowlby's attachment theory reveals that the development of a child through social and emotional aspects is based on the primary caregiver (Sangalang, Jager & Harachi, 2017).

This theory reveals that the development of a child is based on the attachment and relationship that is likely to be possessed by the child as a grownup adult. As per the opinion of Coleman (2016), the thought process possessed by the caregiver is likely to influence the thought process of the child. In this respect, it can be illustrated that trauma and depression faced by the caregiver are also likely to affect the child and its thinking process. On the other hand, Erikson's theory of psychosocial development also involves the stages that relate to the communication of trauma. As per the theory, psychological development passes through eight stages starting from birth and ending in the death (Demetriou et al. 2018).

The theory also depicts the development based on the environmental, biological and social factors. Each stage consists of a separate crisis or trauma. However, as depicted by Yehuda & Lehrner (2018), trauma is each of the stages helps in developing a more healthy and positive lifestyle. Besides, developmental theories also suggest proper ways of mitigating the issues based on the prevailing aspects. Therefore, the different stages that the developmental theories deal with pave a clear pathway of communicating the aspects of trauma to the mentioned population.

As the theories deal with the racism, sexual orientation, culture and other aspects, therefore, the theories of development will be effective in communicating the causes behind the trauma among the mentioned group. As per the illustration of Costa, Yetter & DeSomer (2018), communicating the cause of the trauma is further effective in analysing the issue more deeply. Other than that, it will also be effective in analysing the ill effect of trauma and helps in analysing the population with more ease. Besides, as the theory deals with the intergenerational aspects, therefore, communicating the intergenerational aspects of trauma will be more appropriate using the mentioned theories.

In the case of Aboriginal population or the Torres Strait Islander, the untreated trauma faced by the previous generations is passed onto the next generation and likewise further generations. As per the opinion of Stewart (2019), as the trauma is left untreated, therefore, it creates a traditional trauma or a matter of concern within the population. Therefore, describing the different stages of life through developmental theories along with the effects of different stages, trauma can be communicated regarding the different stages.

Critical Analysis of The Effects of Intergenerational Trauma Across the Lifespan

Intergenerational trauma or trans-generational trauma seems to be a result of untreated trauma. The stress related to the untreated trauma is further passed on to the future generations resulting in the trans-generational trauma. As per the illustration of Reeves & Stewart (2017), intergenerational trauma is mainly perceived within one family or within one group of population. For instance, the aboriginal population or the Torres Strait Islander seems to be dominated and discriminated by the other people within the society for a very long time.

As per the views of Schultz et al. (2016), the effect of trauma or stress faced by the population due to the result of discrimination or ignorance is left untreated and is passed to the next generations. However, these traumas have some severe effects on the minds of the populations. It also leads to unexpected behaviour among the populations that seem to be destructive for one as well as for the others. Besides, intergenerational trauma is not the outcome of a targeted aspect against a particular community or individuals. It results in the whole set of governmental policies that aims at targeting a particular community or an individual.

For instance, it can be analysed that mainly children were being traumatised when the government took the initiative to take them from their parents. In addition to this, as per the statement of Costa, Yetter & DeSomer (2018), many children also faced horrible abuses in these instances leading to trauma and several unexpected behaviours among them. However, this intergenerational trauma seems to be having a severe effect on the whole lifespan of the individuals. As per the opinion of Sangalang, Jager & Harachi, (2017), several destructive behaviours seem to be a common effect of this type of trauma. Self destructive behaviour leads the individual to self harm or suicides in most of the cases. In most of the cases, self-destructive behaviour often results from past experience. Remembering the pain suffered in the past often creates an urge within the individuals to destroy them self.

Other than that depression and anxiety is also an effect of trans-general trauma. As a result of the fact, individuals are always in a bad mood and fail to communicate with other people properly. Gradually, they seem to be isolating themselves and leading a lonely life. In other cases, as pointed by Babcock Fenerci, Chu & DePrince (2016), family violence also results from this trauma. Other effects that seem to be rising from the trauma include homicidal thoughts, suicidal thoughts and addictions to forget the pain and sufferings in the past life. Hence, the effect of trauma seems to be unavoidable in the whole lifespan.

Critical Evaluation of The Therapeutic Approaches to Facilitate Healing and Recovery of Individuals and Communities

One of the best approaches in terms of recovering individuals from the aspects of trauma involves having a soothing conversation with the therapist of mental health. As per the analysis of Sirikantraporn & Green (2016), talking to a therapist in the section of mental health helps in decreasing the pressure that has been built for years within the mind of the individuals. Less mental pressure can be effective for the individual in thinking straight. Besides, as pointed out by Costa, Yetter & DeSomer (2018), less mental pressure can also be effective in treating the aspects of anxiety and depression.

It is because the main reason for anxiety and depression results from excessive mental pressure. Therefore talking to an expert will be effective in reducing the mental pressure because effective communication will be helpful for the individual to communicate the reason behind the trauma and for the therapist to know the actual cause behind the trauma. Often as stated by Jager & Harachi, (2017), talking about the past experience makes the heart light. Other than that, family therapy can also be an effective technique in preventing the continuation of the behaviours among the young generations within a family.

This therapy aims at the acknowledgement of the negative behaviours prevailing within a family and preventing the behaviour from a further performance by the other members. Therefore, with the help of this therapy, the connection between the historical trauma and the current behaviour can be destroyed. Besides, as opined by Reeves & Stewart (2017), the therapy is also effective in terms of suggesting proper alternatives along with coping mechanisms for providing support as well as support to the individuals along with its family members. Approaches of traditional healing seem to be effective with the help of conventional healing approaches. As per the mentions of Dalgaard et al. (2019), traditional approaches to trauma treatment are also effective in terms of treating trans-generational trauma. This approach also works in the resignation of the patient's needs before curing the trauma.

Addressing the needs of the patients helps in the proper procedure of treatment and will also be effective in treating the trauma from the root cause. Besides, it also helps in recognizing the patient themselves that helps in developing self love while mitigating the thoughts of self harm. It will also be helpful in recognising the holistic needs that can be best in working together and mitigate the issue from its root cause. Other than that, it can provide the individual with a normal life and can also facilitate positive thinking. Hence, the mentioned therapeutic approaches can be effective in treating trauma properly.


From the above study, it can be concluded that trauma can lead to several consequences among the lives of the individuals. Mostly, the population dominated within the society based on the aspects of race, culture, sexual appearance and others seems to suffer from trauma. This type of population includes Aboriginal population along with the Torres Strait Islander. This type of population seems to be dominated by the governmental rule within the society leading to the major cause of trauma among them. Other than that anxiety and depression also leads to the major cause of trauma or self harm within the mentioned population.

Through the developmental theories that tend to reflect upon the different stages of the lifespan, the trans-generational trauma can be communicated within the mentioned group. Besides, it affects suicidal cases along with depression and anxiety. However, trauma can be treated with the proper help from the mental therapist. Traditional approaches along with conventional approaches of treatment can help the individuals in dealing with the aspects of trauma. The treatment helps in stopping the behaviour of the individual that results from past experiences. Hence, through proper approaches, trauma can be treated and can also be prevented from further occurrence.

Reference list

Babcock Fenerci, R. L., Chu, A. T., & DePrince, A. P. (2016). Intergenerational transmission of trauma-related distress: Maternal betrayal trauma, parenting attitudes, and behaviors. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 25(4), 382-399.

Bachem, R., Levin, Y., Zhou, X., Zerach, G., & Solomon, Z. (2018). The Role of Parental Posttraumatic Stress, Marital Adjustment, and Dyadic Self‐Disclosure in Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma: A Family System Approach. Journal of marital and family therapy, 44(3), 543-555.

Bennett, B., & Woodman, E. (2019). The Potential of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy for Treating Trauma in Australian Aboriginal Peoples. The British Journal of Social Work, 49(4), 1041-1058.

Coleman, J. A. (2016). Racial differences in posttraumatic stress disorder in military personnel: Intergenerational transmission of trauma as a theoretical lens. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 25(6), 561-579.

Costa, D. L., Yetter, N., & DeSomer, H. (2018). Intergenerational transmission of paternal trauma among US Civil War ex-POWs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(44), 11215-11220.

Dalgaard, N. T., Diab, S. Y., Montgomery, E., Qouta, S. R., & Punamäki, R. L. (2019). Is silence about trauma harmful for children? Transgenerational communication in Palestinian families. Transcultural psychiatry, 56(2), 398-427.

Demetriou, A., Makris, N., Spanoudis, G., Kazi, S., Shayer, M., & Kazali, E. (2018). Mapping the dimensions of general intelligence: An integrated differential-developmental theory. Human Development, 61(1), 4-42.

Dobia, B., & Roffey, S. (2017). Respect for Culture—Social and Emotional Learning with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth. In Social and Emotional Learning in Australia and the Asia-Pacific (pp. 313-334). Springer, Singapore.

Isobel, S., Goodyear, M., Furness, T., & Foster, K. (2019). Preventing intergenerational trauma transmission: A critical interpretive synthesis. Journal of clinical nursing, 28(7-8), 1100-1113.

Knight, Z. G. (2017). ‘If I leave home, who will take care of mum?’Intergenerational transmission of parental trauma through projective identification. The Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 40(2), 119-128.

Lin, N. J., & Suyemoto, K. L. (2016). So You, My Children, Can Have a Better Life: A Cambodian American Perspective on the Phenomenology of Intergenerational Communication about Trauma. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 25(4), 400-420.

Miller, M. G. (2018). Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives. Pedagogy+: The Art of Teaching, (3), 50-51.

Reeves, A., & Stewart, S. (2017). Healing the spirit: Exploring sexualized trauma and recovery among Indigenous men in Toronto. Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res, 24(1), 30-60.

Sangalang, C. C., Jager, J., & Harachi, T. W. (2017). Effects of maternal traumatic distress on family functioning and child mental health: An examination of Southeast Asian refugee families in the US. Social Science & Medicine, 184, 178-186.

Schultz, K., Cattaneo, L. B., Sabina, C., Brunner, L., Jackson, S., & Serrata, J. V. (2016). Key roles of community connectedness in healing from trauma. Psychology of violence, 6(1), 42.

Sirikantraporn, S., & Green, J. (2016). Special Issue Part 1 Introduction: Multicultural Perspectives of Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 25(4), 347-350.

Stewart, S. (2019). Family Counselling as Decolonization: Exploring an Indigenous Social-Constructivist Approach in Clinical Practice. First Peoples Child & Family Review, 14(1), 43-55.

Tinkishea, E. A., Teka, H., Awash, T., & Gebre, S. (2019). GORING TRAUMA IN A PREGNANCY RESULTING UTERINE RUPTURE: A CASE REPORT. Ethiopian Journal of Reproductive Health, 11(2), 5-5.

Townsend, C., McIntyre, M., Lakhani, A., Wright, C., White, P., Bishara, J., & Cullen, J. (2018). Inclusion of marginalised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples with neurocognitive disability in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Disability and the Global South, 5(2), 1531-1552.

Yehuda, R., & Lehrner, A. (2018). Intergenerational transmission of trauma effects: putative role of epigenetic mechanisms. World Psychiatry, 17(3), 243-257.

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