Concepts of Transgenerational and Genocidal Trauma and the Survivors of ISIS Terror in Yazidi Communities and Treatment Possibilities

After the attack of the terrorist organization ISIS in
2014 and the systematic attempt to destroy the
religious group of the Yazidi, the topic of
transgenerational, collective and individual trauma has
become a focus of attention in regard to this group.
Since the Yazidi have been victims of 74 genocidal
attempts for more than 800 years, the theory and
discussion of group and Transgenerational Trauma
models will be important for both research and long
term treatment planning. In general, models rest on the
assumption that some ethnic and religious groups have
in the past been exposed to mass trauma as a result of
colonialism, slavery, war and genocide over longer
historical periods. Due to collective traumatic
experiences, the secondary and subsequent generations
have passed on the trauma of their forbears to the
following generations and, in doing so, repeatedly
transformed it. Being passed down between
generations, this traumatic experience is a trauma
shared by all members of a group and made up of
elements from the past and of the present. Even several
generations after the original trauma, an increased
level of psychological symptoms have been observed,
though mechanisms of impact have not been identified
with certainty in spite of numerous proposed models,
including, most recently, epigenetic mechanisms. A
proper understanding of the way transgenerational
trauma can affect the present psychic health of ethnic
or religious collectives may help to identify new paths
to explore and new insights on how best to provide
effective treatment for psychic traumas in groups
exposed to repeated and severe violence and
persecution. Our article aims at summarizing the
different aspects and models of transgenerational
transmission of trauma and their potential application
to the Yazidi genocide, resulting treatment needs, and
propose the category of genocidal environment to
describe this and similar situations that are becoming
more frequent in spite of comprehensive international
human rights standards.
the sense of control over situations and e ؤ ect on
actions, the ability to cope with stressful incidents as
well as the ability to cultivate or nurture close personal
relationships. Traumatised individuals are oіen also
much more susceptible to the development of trauma
related but unspecific disorders and reactions such as
depression, and complications such as drug abuse, but
also to trauma specific disorders such as post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD) [2] or culture specific trauma
reactions such as nightmare death [3] and other idioms
of distress Early attempts to conceptualise trauma
transfer among di ؤ erent family generations were
inspired by studies from the 1960s which examined
continuous traumata experienced by family members
whose parents survived the Holocaust. Continously
since the 1960s, numerous studies have drawn
attention to two main findings. Part of this ongoing
traumatic stress are frequently e ؤ orts of denial of
historical reality by perpetrators and the impunity of
perpetrators that can be seen as a continuous attack on
the identity of the victim group [23,24]. Some
countries, such as Austria, have anchored the
prohibition of denial of the holocaust in specific or
even constitutional laws in the understanding that
social and psychological peace cannot be achieved
without truth. Countries like South Africa

Author(s): Jan Ilhan Kizilhan

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