Health outcomes and life expectancy of Indigenous people throughout the world are far poorer than non-Indigenous populations. Emerging evidence from research shows that many social issues which impact on Indigenous peoples globally is linked to trauma over generations. This review explores literature about Indigenous people from around the world to seek interventions which have been successful in healing intergenerational trauma.


To identify interventions that have been successful in healing intergenerational trauma amongst Indigenous populations globally, a systematic search strategy was conducted using keywords and synonyms related to the topic. Peer reviewed academic literature was sourced from four different databases i.e. Ebscohost, PubMed, CINAHL and Medline.


There were 89 citations, 55 were identified as relevant, after duplicate copies were removed. Of these 55 papers, 23 met inclusion/exclusion criteria. Two additional papers from a reference lists were included and a total of 25 papers were analysed. A comprehensive critical appraisal of the literature was undertaken using three different appraisal tools. This review found that interventions which were successful in healing intergenerational trauma amongst Indigenous populations incorporated traditional cultural practices within their healing method(s).


There was strong evidence that strengthening and reclaiming cultural identity enhances mental health disorders commonly experienced throughout Indigenous populations. Often non-Indigenous clinicians, although well intentioned, fail to address the needs of Indigenous people because they lack the understanding and awareness of Indigenous people’s culture. This review highlights benefits of blending Indigenous and Western approaches into healing intergenerational trauma and the concept of ‘Two-Eyed Seeing’. This concept acknowledges that each of our worlds has its strengths and if we respectfully and methodically accept these strengths, they can work together and effectively to bring about healing.


Healing from intergenerational trauma is not a straightforward process. Incorporating traditional healing methods assists in the development of cultural identity, which was found to be extremely important in the healing process. To address trauma effectively, clinicians need to acknowledge the historical impact from public policies by having a real understanding of our history.





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