PodcastSeason 1


What Is Inherited Trauma and How Does It Impact Your Life? + Break the Cycle With Insights From Mark Wolynn

S1 E6 60 minutes

If you only listen to 1 episode of the Forever Break podcast, this should be it.

Even if you've never heard the term "epigenetics", you might have a habit, fear, or anxiety you just can't explain. In this episode, discover how these woes could be inherited from your ancestors and learn how to break free by adopting mindfulness.

Lianne & Corey dive straight into a detailed interview with Mark Wolynn, the leading expert in the field of inherited trauma and author of award-winning book "It Didn't Start With You".

By asking the right kind of questions, Mark explains how to identify unresolved traumatic events from our parents' and grandparents' lives, and even from our own early childhoods, that can impact our DNA and produce symptoms and behaviors we simply can't explain.

Amazingly, Mark keeps this fascinating and complex topic light on the science and easy to understand by newbies like our hosts.

Prepare to have your mind blown and few cases of the goosebumps as Mark shares almost spooky yet undeniably impacting stories of inherited trauma in his and his clients' lives.

You won't be the same after listening to this.

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Get To The Point

0:28 What to Expect Summary of episode 6

1:13 Quick Quote By Carl Jung

1:45 Taking Centre Stage Epigenetics. What does this relatively new field of study say about your family tree?

3:13 Expert Interview Intro Background on interview guest, Mark Wolynn

4:02 Expert Interview Mark Wolynn on inherited trauma - what is it, how it could be impacting your life, and how to break free

9:56 Wow Moments Mark shares the goosebump-worthy story of inherited trauma in his first patient

56:14 Interview Digestion Key takeaways from interview

58:20 Take It Further Recommended books and resources

Show Notes

Epigenetics: the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.

It's important to understand epigenetics not only to be aware of what our ancestors have passed on to us but also to know what you will pass down to the next generation. Being mindful of your thought patterns could give your future children a better start to life.

Key Interview Takeaways

  • We all have an urgent, core language we think is ours but is often a generational language. If we find ourselves saying things like "I'll go crazy", "I'll be locked up", or "I'll do something terrible", those things may have happened to our parents or grandparents. If a trauma never heals, that language persists in our family history and in our awareness.
  • Epigenetics is the idea that the stress response of parents and grandparents can transfer forward and pass down to the offspring. The structure or sequence of the DNA doesn't change, but gene expression can.
  • In his book, It Didn't Start With You, Mark teaches how to be detectives and dig up rocks that need to be turned over to identify unresolved problems. Ask questions like is this anxiety ours? Did this depression start with us?
  • Other types of trauma to be aware of are early childhood trauma, birth trauma, and in utero trauma. For example, early traumas like parents breaking up, or a mother losing a family member during pregnancy can cause the child to have difficulties feeling safe and secure in life.
  • There are two types of trauma language to listen for - generational trauma language. (e.g. "I'll hurt somebody" or "I'll be ostracised") and developmental trauma language to do with attachment (like "I'll be abandoned" or "I'll be rejected").
  • Several scientific studies are being conducted on reversing trauma.
  • To heal, we need positive experiences that can calm down the stress response. Whether trauma is inherited or something that happened to us in utero or in our childhood, it can be stopped through positive experiences like daily practicing mindfulness, gratitude, generosity, patience, or compassion. We can regulate the stress response and change our trauma brain.
  • Find more information on www.markwolynn.com.

Connect With Mark Wolynn


The Family Constellation Institute

Mark Wolynn is a leading expert in the field of inherited family trauma. Based in San Francisco, he trains clinicians and helps people struggling with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive thoughts, self-injury, chronic pain, and illness. A sought-after lecturer, he leads workshops at hospitals, clinics, conferences, and teaching centers around the world.

Winner of the 2016 Nautilus Book Award in psychology.

It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle2016
This groundbreaking book shows how the traumas of our parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents can live in our unexplained depression, anxiety, fears, phobias, obsessive thoughts and physical symptoms - what scientists are now calling "secondary PTSD." Readers are led through a process of self-discovery and healing, helping them identify the emotionally-charged language of their worries and fears that link to unresolved traumas in their childhood or family history.
Inherited Family Trauma Workshops
Live training directly from Mark Wolynn is delivered in person and online. Learn effective ways to break inherited patterns of suffering. Whether you're already working with people or just want to learn more, this professional development course is a fast track to deepening your clinical skills. Attendees will learn to explore words, fears, symptoms and behaviors in a way which, not only illuminates the core issue, but also the essential skills and resources necessary for implementing effective resolutions.
Private Session
For personalized insight, book a private one-on-one therapy session with Mark. In advance, he asks clients to put together a list of answers to questions around family experiences and trauma, and with that will delve into your past to identify what is holding you back so you can disentangle from the old feelings and patterns that complicate your life. Sessions are arranged via Mark's assistant.
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