Healing from Residential School Trauma

Two indigenous men hugging | Healing Trauma of Residential Schools with Nonviolent Communication

Unresolved Trauma in Community

When trauma is unresolved, its effects will continue to ripple through generation after generation. In this workshop, an overview is provided about the effects of residential school, emotional abuse, sexual/physical abuse, death, addiction, suicide, lateral violence, and cultural oppression, on the individual, family and community. When the effects are understood a process of validation and healing begins. Cognitive understanding provides individuals with what is referred to as a ‘cognitive life-raft’ while they are going through their healing process, assisting them with containing their pain and avoiding being overwhelmed with their feelings. It also enables participants to begin to let go of self-blame, which, if left untouched, keeps them stuck in a place that is emotionally and spiritually unhealthy and nonproductive. Tools are suggested to provide individuals with exercises and knowledge that can bring about personal change.

Impact of Residential School

Residential School has had a devastating impact on almost every aspect of First Nations lives and communities. It is all part of the current traumas we deal with in community today. We will explore how this impact relates to trauma, grief and shame in community, while deepening the understanding and knowledge of the devastating legacy of traumatic actions forced on Aboriginal people in residential schools/day schools over the past three hundred years. An overview of multi-generational trauma will be provided to further understand the effects of residential school on families and community. Experiential exercises and discussions on healing will be used in this workshop.

What You Will Learn

How the legacy of residential schools has impacted you directly and indirectly

The generational impact of residential schools

The power of self-empathy

How to liberate stuck emotions

How to move into self-love

How to change the filter of our past and current experiences



The legacy of colonization on indigenous peoples has created massive multi-generational trauma and cultural genocide. The lasting wake of residential school trauma continues to perpetuate systemic racism while leaving unaddressed grief and shame that act as obstacles to self-love. The experience of residential schools assuredly demands truth and reconciliation in order to heal and move beyond this impasse, but perhaps most of all, what is most needed is empathy, for self and for others. 

Contrast the violent way in which residential school students were educated, with what Marshall Rosenberg refers to as Life-Enriching Education:

Life-Enriching Education: an education that prepares children to learn throughout their lives, relate well to others, and themselves, be creative, flexible, and venturesome, and have empathy not only for their immediate kin but for all of humankind.” —Marshall Rosenberg

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I'd love to chat with you about how NVC Training can best meet your needs. I am always looking for ways to touch more lives...creating custom trainings, developing online courses, visiting remote communities, supporting NVC practice around the world. What's alive for you? I'll put the coffee on . . .


Leslie Williamson