Healing Intergenerational Trauma

voices of your village Apr 09, 2020



Happy Podcast Day, Villagers! Wow, do I have a special episode for you this week! I had the absolute pleasure to sit down with my new friend and inspiration, Dr. Lynyetta Willis. Dr. Lynyetta is a psychologist and family coach. She had a private practice for a number of years where she specialized in trauma, family work, parenting, and grief. Then, when she transitioned into coaching she narrowed down who she helped by deciding what was really important to her and reflective of her journey. So now she works with smart, successful women and their families to help them break away from “stable misery.” 

Lynyetta’s journey starts back when she was very young. The family she grew up in was great, but the tools they used to raise her were outdated and unhelpful. So, she wants to break cycles and build new legacies that she will be proud to pass on to her kids. 


“I help people to shift how they show up in their relationship, shift how they show up in themselves, so that they can say: ‘You know what? I am going to stop this cycle.’”


We started our chat by having Lynyetta give me her interpretation of intergenerational trauma. She told me that she has found when a lot of people think of trauma they are thinking of physical abuse. However, she widens that frame of mind. “The way that I like to look at it now is: When we are born we get a gift and the gift is a tree- a family legacy tree,” explained Lynyetta. “And this tree bears two types of fruit: legacy blessings and legacy burdens.” Legacy blessings are the traits we deem to be helpful, and legacy burdens are what we deem unhelpful as we grow and get older.

Some of these aspects can begin as a burden and grow into a blessing, and vice versa. When we grow and have these intergenerational cycles, those burdens are staying burdens. These unhelpful habits and patterns just keep getting passed down generation after generation. When we look back and say, “This is going to stop with me, I don’t care what genetics say” that is where the positive change happens.

I find this to be such an empowering message. I started therapy in my early twenties because I did not want to pass along my trauma. And now I know that I can work through anything, trauma doesn’t have to own me. Lynyetta and I agree that the first step of this process, the recognition that you want to break your intergenerational trauma cycles, is an act of bravery.


“There is this fear, when we talk about what we want to change, that we are shaming what our parents did.”


Then I asked Lynyetta our million-dollar intergenerational trauma question: How do you find the trauma that is hidden? Because for so many of us it is not as obvious as to what burdens we are carrying. She agreed that this is hard work and went on to say, “I created a framework called the PATH-present-evolution framework and it really ties in well with this conversation, because a lot of what we say is: ‘You’re yelling so that means you are triggered, so find out what that is about and stop.’ And sometimes that is true. But, there are so many other places where these things hide within us.”


“Getting past intergenerational trauma is a relay race, we run it together.”


This process of transforming who we are, and being relationship revolutionaries, is a relay race. Form a community with people you trust and remember that you’re only going to go so far before passing your work on to your kiddos. When you break a cycle and build a legacy, it is an act of courage. It is courageous because not everyone is going to like it and it’s not always going to go perfectly But, stay the course. Form a vision of why you are doing this work so when things get crazy you can always return to your why.

For more resources and more of Dr. Lynyetta go to HealingStableMisery.com and download the right Roadmap for you, or visit her at her homepage drlwillis.com. And for our full episode and complete, glorious conversation click on the episode above! Thank you, Lynyetta, for sitting down with me today for such a delicious, healing chat.


“Healing generational trauma is not about perfection, celebrate the progress.”


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