Understanding and Healing Collective Trauma

How a society can be traumatized, and how we might heal ours

Anna Mercury
23 min readJun 4, 2024
Photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash

I’ve been on a bit of a journey these past few years. My studies into trauma and healing and somatics, my earlier studies into politics and sociology and history, my experiences as a community organizer, my spiritual path and my deepening relationship with the natural world all seems to be pointing me to a nebulous, shared something, a tapestry of cause and effect I’m beginning to see more clearly:

I think there is such a thing as a traumatized society, and I think I live in one. I also think that a traumatized society can be healed.

I’m not sure how exactly things got like this, how trauma transmits through a collective, how the collective and the individual relate, but I am pretty sure some form of collective trauma, of ruptured social fabric, beats at the heart of so much of the world’s suffering. Understanding and healing that collective trauma, which requires understanding social ills as trauma and social change as a tool for trauma healing, is a thing I think we’re all being called to do right now.

Because I’ve been thinking about this a lot, researching it through a variety of disciplines, and have a lot of thoughts to share, I decided to write them down in a (hopefully) coherent and…