What Is Trauma?


Definitively, trauma is the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that may overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope.

Trauma is not only a result of war, violence, abuse or serious physical injury.

Trauma is subjective, and what may be trauma for one, may not be for another. It can depend on myriad contributing factors. For example, how many “protective” factors a person may or may not have in their life such as a safe home and supportive family, or genetic predispositions to mental health issues, or already existing intergenerational trauma. There are so many contributing factors.

Now is the time, more than ever, to give/show unconditional, non judgemental and loving kindness to others, to go gently and to practice compassion daily. Let us be curious to our own pain, let us listen to others in the expression of theirs and let us use these experiences to learn and heal, individually and collectively.

Across the globe, collective trauma has been experienced on so many levels in recent months, and longstanding intergenerational trauma is being deeply felt and expressed in a bid to acknowledge and commence a collective path to healing.

Trauma travels through family lines, through cultures, until someone (or a group of people) are ready to feel it and heal it in themselves. Healing is bloody hard work, it’s also incredibly important and sacred work. How can we help? Look within. Are we curious, open, loving, compassionate, willing to listen and learn? If not, then that is where our work lies. It all starts with us on the individual level.

If we can better understand trauma, we can often better understand ourselves. When we better understand ourselves, we are on a path to heal ourselves. And the very act of going within to heal ourselves, is an act of opening, softening, learning to practice self love, self compassion and learning to trust life. When we can do this for ourselves, we can do this for others. When we can do this for others, whether directly or indirectly, we are helping others along their own healing journey. To be able to contribute to something far greater than ourselves, it all starts with us.

This image, coincidentally, is from a series titled “Release”, created several years ago as I navigated a personal path of trauma healing. For myself, the past several years have been dedicated to (healing) studying trauma, formally via programs delivered by Dr James Gordon, Dr Bessel Van Der Kolk, AIPC, NICABM and the Benevolent Society. Informally, via teachings from Dr Peter Levine, Dr Gabor Mate, Dr Stephen Porges and Dr Dan Hughes, among others. I share this personal information incase it may help another to know that you’re not alone and there is help, great hope and the immense possibility of healing. Xx

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