What is Trauma?


Many people have been traumatized and have been living with the mental, emotional, and physical consequences without realizing how influential their trauma was on their quality of life.  Trauma comes in many forms and people react to it uniquely, based on the way they were socialized and their life experiences.  It may be helpful to think of trauma having both a big T and a little t.

Trauma: events that most people would have a difficult time dealing with, which are typically life threatening and profoundly alter a person's perceptions, including their feeling of safety (natural disaster, sexual violence, fighting in a war, severe car accident, witnessing abuse, unexpected loss of a loved one, etc.)

trauma: events that can be unsettling, overwhelming, and upsetting. These events might impact some individuals in a profound way, but don't necessarily have a profound impact on everyone.  Some examples are divorce, loss of a job, a chronic illness, a minor car accident, etc.

As young children we interpret the world from a place of vulnerability. We believe that adults are right and whatever they say is fact.  We then relinquish some of that power to our peers.  In these formative years, we establish thought patterns and actions to survive in our family dynamics, school environment, etc.  As a means to feel safe, we develop core beliefs about ourselves and the way we think life should be.  As a result, we may engage behaviors and thought patterns that inhibit us from being able to feel at ease and literally attack the integrity of the body's systems, leading to mental and physical health issues.