How to Heal Intergenerational Trauma with Mariel Buqué

In this podcast (episode #539) and blog, I talk to author, intergenerational trauma expert and psychologist Dr. Mariel Buqué about the impacts of intergenerational trauma, her amazing new book Break the Cycle, how to find healing and peace in every area of your life, and so much more! 

Dr. Mariel is an Afro-Dominican psychologist. She received her doctorate in counseling psychology from Columbia University, where she also trained as a fellow in holistic mental health. She is a world-renowned intergenerational trauma expert and the author of the book Break the Cycle: A Guide to Healing Intergenerational Trauma. Her clinical framework is holistic and infuses ancient and indigenous healing practices into a modern, comprehensive therapeutic approach. She has utilized her training in holistic care to integrate holistic practices, like sound bath meditation and breathwork, into therapy, which has helped to deepen trauma healing for an entire generation of clients. 

In Break the Cycle, Dr. Mariel weaves together scientific research with practical exercises and stories from the therapy room to create a guide to transforming intergenerational pain into intergenerational abundance. teaches readers how trauma is transmitted from one generation to the next and how they can break the cycle through tangible therapeutic practices, learning to pass down strength instead of pain to future generations.

Why is breaking the cycle so important? As Dr. Mariel pints out, mental wounds can act like physical wounds. “When emotions are left unhealed, they cause harm that spreads to other parts of our lives, hurting our family, friends, community members, and others. Eventually, this hurt can injure an entire lineage, metastasizing across years and generations. This is intergenerational trauma.”

As Dr. Mariel notes, “this trauma is why some of us become estranged from our families, why some of us are people pleasers, why some of us find ourselves in codependent relationships. This trauma can be rooted in the experiences of ancestors, who may have suffered due to unhealthy family dynamics, and it can be collective, the result of a shared experience like systemic oppression, or harmful ingrained behaviors in a culture like the acceptance of physical discipline of children, or even a natural disaster like a pandemic. These wounds are complex, impacting our minds, bodies, and spirits.”

Thankfully, we can break these cycles and find true and lasting peace and freedom! The first step to healing intergenerational trauma is acknowledging it: if we don’t know what it is we need to heal then we will not find the healing we need. Next, we need to look at healing from a holistic perspective: how it feels in our body, and how we can recenter our body awareness and grounding after the physical effects of trauma. Once we have gone through this process, we can transition into the mind-based work of breaking the cycle: looking at the roots of the trauma and working on healing it’s mental and physical impact on our lives to find true and lasting peace.  

This is not just an individual process, but also a communal one. Holistic healing also means examine the social and cultural beliefs and behaviors we have been handed down through the generations (through a process Dr. Mariel talks about in her book call generational tree mapping) that impact the way we think and act, and changing these from the root up to have a more positive impact on our life, our communities and future generations.  

For more on healing intergenerational trauma, listen to my podcast with Dr. Mariel (episode #539) and check out her amazing work. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).            

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Podcast Highlights

2:00 Dr. Mariel’s work 

4:41 Dr. Mariel’s incredible story  

5:35, 9:25 What intergenerational trauma looks like 

12:00 The intergenerational nervous system 

17:00 The power of acknowledging intergenerational trauma 

18:40 How to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma 

27:00 The importance of generational tree mapping   

28:40 Breaking the cycles for future generations  

30:30 The spiritual component of healing intergenerational trauma 

33:22 Dr. Mariel’s amazing book Break the Cycle 

40:00 Giving yourself space to grieve as well 

41:05, 46:13 Racism & healing intergenerational trauma 

Switch On Your Brain LLC. is providing this podcast as a public service. Reference to any specific viewpoint or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by our organization. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. If you have any questions about this disclaimer, please contact     

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional. 

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