When traumas affect whole communities, the methods used for healing and transformation can differ than those used to treat individuals. And while some collective traumas, like natural disasters or pandemics, seem to affect everyone indiscriminately, there are usually unique communities within larger populations who bear more diverse or intense consequences than others. Some communities face traumas directly inflicted on them by other communities or institutions of power. Like generational trauma, communal trauma can leave long-lasting and complex wounds among its individual members. The most successful path to community transformation and healing is usually one initiated inside a community, with the involvement and empowerment of the people most affected, and using methods and practices each community develops or is already comfortable with.
The establishment of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a pioneering international event. Never had any country sought to move forward from despotism to democracy both by exposing the atrocities committed in the past and achieving reconciliation with its former oppressors.