Nashville Family Therapy

Learn more about our family therapy program at The Bridge to Recovery.

Family of Origin & Trauma

The family we grew up with profoundly influenced who we are. The good. The bad. The ugly. The beautiful.  

Who we are today directly reflects what we experienced during our development years.

While everyone experiences painful events during their developmental years, the response, connection, support, and nurturing (or lack thereof) we receive from our family of origin vastly impacts how we transition through them. If any of that is lacking, we often find that emotional development is unable to fully mature and progress as it should have. 

These times when our emotional growth was stifled impacted our ability as adults to create healthy relationships with ourselves, with others, with our jobs, with our communities, and more.

At The Bridge to Recovery, we help clients “un-cover, understand, and un-shame” painful events, many of which often stem from the development years. These can include:

  • Unhealthy substance use (or abuse) in the home
  • Absent parental figures / Death of Loved Ones
  • Lack of biologically necessary nurturing in the home 
  • Over-nurturing or “sheltering” type of behavior is detrimental to natural development.
  • Physical or emotional acts committed upon a child that threaten their sense of safety and security.
  • Unattainable perfectionism or expectations, including in sports, academics, or life in general.
  • Relationship struggles within the home, including a child being witness to fighting, arguing, extra-marital affairs, divorce, and more.
  • Parent(s) time was overly consumed with unhealthy distractions, including workaholism, shopping, spending, gambling, and more.
  • Children experience an unhealthy emotional response from adults, such as anger and rage, control & caretaking, and more.
  • Mental health issues in the home, including anxiety & depression, bipolar disorder, and many more.
  • Food disorder or unhealthy eating behaviors
  • Children experience feelings of being unloved, unwanted, unattached, disconnected, or not fitting into their family of origin unit.

This list is incredibly general and only describes a tiny portion of the types of things that can stifle emotional growth.  

At our residential mental health care program, we define childhood trauma as anything less than nurturing that caused pain. Helping our clients “let go” of this pain is what we have done for five decades.

Just an hour and 20 minutes North from Nashville, Tennessee sits our healing refuge. Hidden away on 120 acres of rolling Kentucky hills.

It’s Not My Shame – Understanding the Patterns of Generational Trauma

Recognizing and wanting to heal from our childhood trauma is not about blaming or scapegoating our actions as adults. By learning to recognize how trauma is generational and that until we break those cycles, the pain and shame we inherited from our family of origin will then be passed down to our own children

At our residential trauma program, we educate our clients so that they can differentiate between blame and shame, learn to let go of that shame, and regain healthy emotional response mechanisms so that they can begin to break those generational chains of trauma.

Connection Between Childhood Trauma, Adult Trauma, and Our Response System

Trauma happens to everyone. EV-ER-Y-ONE.

For some individuals, when they experienced trauma in their formative years, it was met with a nurturing, caring, and compassionate response, which enabled them to learn healthy ways to manage turbulent and traumatic times in the future.

The adults in these children’s lives modeled very different behaviors. And, not just instances of trauma, but, in their lives we can only assume that the modeled behavior was the norm. Thus, the young man in example 2 is much more likely to find himself struggling with substances, relationships, grief, emotional connection, self-esteem, and more due to his family of origin.

Family of origin and generational trauma are not the only types of trauma that can impact overall quality of adult life, but many of our clients learn the foundational impact it had and healing can begin.

If you can relate to any of these situations, meaning, if you find yourself utilizing people, places, or things in an unhealthy manner in your life, you can learn to let go of shame, heal from the effects of trauma, and relearn healthy emotional coping skills. Learn more about our residential program and how attending The Bridge to Recovery can help.

Trauma is a Family Systems Issue

Trauma is most often generational.  

We are parented by parents who were parented by parents – all of whom experienced some sort of trauma, such as:

  • War
  • The Great Depression
  • Immigration to a New Country
  • Religious, Cultural, Ethnic, Gender, Sexual Orientation Persecution
  • Unattainable Societal Expectations 
  • Overstepping of Power (i.e., assuming control of land, sending children away from their families, separation of families, etc.)
  • Substance misuse or abuse within the home.
  • Absent parent(s).
  • Lack of boundaries; children exposed to age-inappropriate things.
  • Neglect
  • Abuse
  • Inappropriate behavior role modeling.
  • Unhealthy caretaking and control.
  • Unattainable expectations.
  • Anger & Rage
  • Age-inappropriate expectations.
  • Emotionally absent; lack of love/nurturing in the home.

And much, MUCH more. 

When trauma is left unresolved within the family, we pass it down (often unintentionally) to the next generation. We do this by modeling. 

We parent what we know, and what we know we learned from our parents.

Trauma is no exception, nor are the behaviors and emotions that come with it. Unintentionally, we exhibit our symptoms of trauma, often shame-based, which is then inherently passed down.

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Healing the Family

When clients attend our family therapy program near Nashville, they heal from their own trauma by:

  • Letting go of that inherited shame
  • Learning to set healthy boundaries for themselves
  • Having the tools to cope with future events.  

When someone returns to their family group in a healthier place, it can be a difficult time for the other family members who have not yet attended to their own emotional health needs. Newly placed boundaries can be tricky to navigate, and the family group can be left feeling even more fractured.

This is why at The Bridge to Recovery, we place huge importance on whole family healing.  

A healthy person can live a happy, healthy life, BUT a healthy family will create happy, healthy generations.

We support whole family healing by:

Providing unlimited Family Weekend Workshops for our clients.

We host monthly family weekends for our clients who attend our program for at least 4 weeks (as we feel that is the most primed opportunity for whole-family healing work).  Family weekends are a Friday-Sunday workshop facilitated by Bridge clinicians to help those family members invited by the client process, understand, and nurture the healing process that is underway.

Providing options for other adult members of the family to attend our program as well.

While not able to attend at the same time, we often have family members attend our program consecutively so that they can also attend to their own emotional health needs.  We provide family and alumni discounts to support the opportunity for other adult members of the family.

Making referrals for additional family support options.

Sometimes, families may find that they need more support than our Family Weekend Workshops offer, or they may want to find resources for a minor child who is unable to attend The Bridge to Recovery because of age. We make it our mission to find appropriate referrals to support the family healing, such as:

Created by Debra Jay, author of “It Takes a Family,” Structured Family Recovery uses trained counselors and interventionists to create a recovery team that supports the whole family. 

Buy Debra’s Book Here.

This renowned program is available to anyone in need at NO COST, regardless of where they live, and offers a number of different services for families, from support groups specifically for family members to coaching from licensed addiction counselors.

To learn more about our Nashville family therapy program at The Bridge to Recovery, please call and speak with our Client Relations Team.