Understanding genetics, mental health and that ‘It Didn’t Start With You’

Understanding genetics, mental health and that 'It Didn't Start With You

He grew up never understanding that when mom disappeared for three months, it was because she was in rehab again. When he was old enough to understand, he started to notice other signs: the hidden “water” bottles, mom’s weird behavior that started in the afternoon, the intense fights between his parents that seemingly took place for no reason.

As an adult, he learned from his mom’s struggle: He has yet to pick up at drink at 30 years old, the smell of alcohol makes him cringe, and he helps his friends keep safe when they drink. But did he choose this lifestyle because of his past or did he choose it because he is afraid of becoming his mom?

Genetics play a huge role in mental health disorders and substance abuse and addiction. Study upon study has been written about this and whether it is a matter or nature or nurture. The fact is, it can be one or both, and it likely started years and years before the child in the story above was affected.

The root cause of many behavioral health problems is often founded in something that started generations prior. Rather than the result of a freak chemical imbalance in the brain that someone was born with or caused by trauma that they experienced in their lives, it may be their genetics, passed from grandparent to parent to current individual.

It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle by Mark Wolynn addresses this fact and builds on the work of leading experts in post-traumatic stress to show that even when the original source of the trauma is long gone,  memory and feelings can live on. The effects of these traumas, whether recent or long-forgotten, express themselves in several areas, from how we talk to how our genes are expressed.  What’s more, they play a huge role in behavioral health, much more than we thought before.

Wolynn is a pioneer in the field of inherited family trauma and has worked with individuals and groups on a therapeutic level for more than twenty years. The book provides a guide to the Core Language Approach, Wolynn’s method, to help with dealing with this problem.

The diagnostic self-inventories in the book provide a way to uncover the inherited traumas that we convey through our everyday thoughts, speech and behavior. The outlined techniques help readers build an extended family tree of experiences that can span generations. Lastly, the visualization, active imagination and direct dialogue aspects help create paths for reconnection, integration and reclaiming good behavioral health.

“It Didn’t Start With You” seeks to provide a life-changing approach that allows readers to solve longstanding difficulties that other treatments such as regular therapy or medication may not have been able to help with.

What readers think

Readers offer praise for “It Didn’t Start With You” both in and out of the professional realm. Jess Shakin, M.D., vice chair for education at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Child Study Center, says that the book bridges both neuroscience and psychodynamic thinking and “provides the reader with Mark Wolynn’s heard-earned toolbox of do-it-yourself clinical aids and provocative insights.”

Another satisfied reader, Alexanndra Kreps M.D., recalls that “After reading ‘It Didn’t Start With You,’ I found myself immediately able to apply Mark Wolynn’s techniques with my patients and saw incredible results, in a shorter time than with traditional psychotherapeutic techniques. I encourage you to read this book. It’s truly cutting edge.”

About the author

Mark Wolynn is the director of The Family Constellation Institute in San Francisco. Wolynn trains clinicians and treats people struggling with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, OCD, self-injury, chronic pain and illness. A sought-after lecturer, he leads workshops at hospitals, clinics, conferences and teaching centers around the world. He has taught at several schools, including the University of Pittsburgh, the Western Psychiatric Institute, Kripalu, the California Institute of Integral Studies and more. His articles have appeared in Elephant Journal and Psych Central, and his poetry has been published in The New Yorker. To learn more about this author, visit his website at www.markwolynn.com.

About this author

Brianna Gibbons is a Web Producer. She graduated from Westmont College with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently works hard to organize and publish the content  for the blogs and websites. In her spare time, Brianna loves to read, write, knit, travel, dote on her pets and randomly go on small adventures with friends.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top