Intergenerational Cycles of Trauma

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This workshop, presented by Sharon Melnick, PhD, delved into the development of intergenerational cycles of trauma and recommended methods to help parents with histories of addiction, abuse, and/or HIV break the pattern. Bridging cutting-edge research and clinical wisdom, attendees came away with an understanding of how parents’ own psychological dynamics are brought into the next generation.


Participants were able to:

  • identify specific phrases parents might say which indicate a lack of healing from previous trauma;
  • understand common behaviors parents may exhibit as a side effect of trauma as opposed to defensive or poor parenting;
  • learn appropriate clinical responses for addressing parents’ unresolved trauma histories in the context of the parent-child relationship;
  • recognize the impact on the clinician of working with traumatized clients;
  • create ways to remain resilient while working in challenging emotionally-charged situations; and
  • learn self-management techniques to assist parents and self in remaining calm in tense situations.



June 24, 2013

8:00-9:00 AM Registration/ Continental Breakfast
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Overview of Intergenerational Cycles
Psychological and Biological Components of Traumatized Parenting
12:00 PM – 1:00PM Lunch (provided)
1:00 PM- 4:30 PM Identifying Clinical Signs of Traumatized Parenting
Reconceptualizing Current Treatment Approaches

June 25, 2013

8:00-9:00 AM Registration/ Continental Breakfast
9:00 AM- 12:00 PM Review of Situation-Specific Interventions for Common Clinical Scenarios
12:00 PM- 1:00 PM Lunch (provided)
1:00 PM- 3:30 PM Impact on Clinician: Practical Tools for Staying Resilient



Presenter Bio


Sharon MelnickSharon Melnick, PhD is a former Research Associate at Harvard Medical School, where her award winning research contributed to elucidating the intergenerational transmission of attachments and the effects of trauma on parenting in the next generation. A clinical psychologist, she has worked with traumatized parents individually and in groups, both in private practice and at public health agencies.

She has created three trauma-informed, culturally sensitive parenting curricula that are currently in use (for mothers in substance use recovery, for teen mothers, and for homeless mothers). These curricula derive from an in depth understanding of the specific challenges and life experiences faced by traumatized and substance abusing parents and go beyond traditional parenting skills approaches to provide practical skills that help parents heal their traumas and break the intergenerational cycle.

More recently she has been trained in cutting edge stress resilience techniques and adds practical tools for regulating emotion into her repertoire of healing techniques for parents at risk. She has shared these techniques widely in the corporate world as well, being invited back numerous times to speak at organizations such as G.E., Procter and Gamble, Pfizer, Merck, National Association for Female Executives, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, and others.