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The Healing Circle: An intergenerational trauma group for Native American women

19 April 2013


Five hundred years of colonization has resulted in a pervasive experience of intergenerational trauma for many Indigenous American people. Effects of such trauma and unresolved grief can be seen in chronically high rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, family discord, and suicide among Native Americans (Brave Heart, 1998; 2005; Duran, 2006; Shepard, O’Neill, & Guenette, 2006). The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate a group therapy model for Native American women designed to promote healing from the effects of intergenerational trauma. A community participatory action model was used to assess the experience of former group members from “The Healing Circle.” Participants who attended a focus group feedback session offered positive feedback in regard to the group. The following factors of “The Healing Circle” were reported to facilitate healing from historical trauma: incorporation of cultural values, psycho-education, and an opportunity for group members to share and process. Future suggestions were also reported.


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