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What is Trauma?

When life becomes dark, it can help to remember that the darkest nights bring forth the brightest stars. Fully embracing the path of healing shows how to reclaim that darkness - and turn it into light.

Trauma occurs at many times in life. Addressing trauma empowers you to live a life that serves your highest purpose!

a waterfall in the woods
Trauma takes us out of our natural flow.

Trauma 101

Many of us, even those of us confused or overwhelmed by the word "trauma," have been hurt in a way that has created a lasting effect on our personality, health, and everyday life.

Here are ways to understand trauma:

  • Trauma is any experience that overwhelms our body and mind beyond their capacity to integrate what happened.

  • Trauma is ubiquitous. Most humans experience it on one level or another.

  • The recovery process isn’t about how much trauma there was or how bad the trauma was. It’s about how the situation affected us.

  • Lasting effects of trauma are less about the event itself than the social & emotional context of the event. Was it safe to talk about what happened? Did others believe us? Did we have anyone to go to for love and support?

  • You do not need to identify with the word "trauma" to receive support for a challenging life situation. For example, if you remember feeling shamed or rejected by an important person in your childhood, trauma healing techniques could be helpful to you.

To begin to heal from trauma, it is necessary to bring the body - its biology and physiology - into the equation. Adding “somatic”, or body-based methods to a therapy program is immensely helpful.

This is because the part of the brain associated with high-level thinking and articulation becomes impaired when in a state of trauma. Brain functioning moves down to the brain stem, which governs the “fight or flight” response. This is why our heart may pound or we lash out when situations become overwhelming.

Common Situations that cause Trauma

Many different situations can cause trauma. Common situations may be:

  • As a child, a primary caregiver may have shamed, misunderstood, disrespected, rejected, ignored, or otherwise misattuned to us

  • Neglect during childhood

  • Being emotionally, sexually, or physically abused

  • Death of a loved one

  • Spiritual or religious torment

  • Homophobia, racism, sexism

  • Addiction/alcoholism, or living with an alcoholic/addict

If you feel the after effects of a situation that’s not on this list, it may have been a traumatic event that’s worth healing.

Understanding trauma helps show how the past impacts the present. Receiving support for a challenging situation empowers us to live life in a new way!

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