Maybe it IS your Grandmother’s Worst Nightmare

Ernest L. Rossi’s book The Psychobiology of Gene Expression is a pretty heavy read for the lay person, but it carries an important message for each of us. His basic hypothesis, in very simple terms, is that there is a connection between one’s psychology and physical health. More specifically, there is evidence that suggests that psychological processes such as hypnosis can be effective in switching off genes that express themselves as disease. Such may be an explanation for spontaneous remissions (that is diseases disappearing with no medical or scientific understanding as to how that happened). The fields of psychoneuroimmunology and psychophysiology have been around for at least 20 years and have ample evidence of the mind-body connection.

Recently, a student in the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work introduced me to something similar that sounded like psychological DNA to me. The term is transgenerational trauma. The understanding is that the effects of severe trauma is passed on to child and grandchild. Often parents who were traumatized as children had children who had symptoms of having been traumatized. It was thought that it was because of poor parenting skills. It is now believed that it may be epigenetically transmitted. That is, symptoms of trauma arise from nongenetic influences on gene expression. Think of the implications!

This could be an explanation for things like generalized anxiety disorder in which a person feels anxious for no apparent reason. A child is fearful, has nightmares and monsters under the bed. (The child is then actually traumatized by being scolded and sent back into the bedroom.) Is it possible that some parents have been suspected of child abuse because the child expresses symptoms of having been abused but had not themselves been abused?

So why do I write this when I have so little information or knowledge. It is because it calls me to have more compassion for those experiencing the symptoms, especially to have compassion for children who have explainable fears and terrors. Also, I would say, have compassion for yourself, since your fears may not be your own. There are processes for helping people overcome the effects of trauma, even if they don’t know what the trauma was. Some energy workers and body workers can help release the grip of symptoms. Neuro Linguistic Programming practitioners have skills in working to relieve such symptoms without requiring any information about their cause or genesis.

There is connectedness that exists not only within but among human beings. There is the mind-body connection within us. And now we are discovering that the connection is also among us. There is a line in a Native American chant that says, “What I am is holy, holy are we. Body, thoughts, emotions connecting you and me. Great Spirit circles all around me.” We are connected.

About the Author

Larry Wells

Larry Wells has Master Degrees in Divinity and Social work and is a Certified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner and Consultant. He is part of the part time faculty at the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work, and the Northern Kentucky Social Work department. People have life difficulties because of histories, circumstances, and the fact of having to live with people. NLP has proved to be very effective in helping to positively change the way people experience those histories, circumstances and people, as well as finding more peace and joy in life.

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