Redeeming Our Story

Stories give form and meaning to our lives and even create the way we understand ourselves. We make sense of our lives, the world, and ourselves through stories. Developing a coherent life story is necessary for making sense of trauma. Our story needs to flow through a beginning, a middle, and an end as a […]

Survival Responses

Survival responses fall into four general categories: Feeling responsible for the traumatic event: This results from a feeling of having lost all sense of personal power and serves to help the trauma survivor feel a sense of power over the event. Frequently they feel guilt and shame associated with the event. They spend much of their […]

Consequences of Trauma

Loss of Agency One of the most damaging consequences of trauma is a belief in a loss of agency, meaning the individual no longer believes they have authority over their own life.  During the traumatic experience, something or someone external to their ability to choose overpowers them, leaving them feeling vulnerable, out of control, and powerless. […]

Superimposition of Trauma

The way a trauma memory is stored and where it is stored in the brain is different from regular memories. Trauma memory has no orientation in time and place. When a stimulus triggers the trauma memory, the individual’s experience of the original trauma superimposes over their current circumstances. Intrusive images and sensations make it seem […]

Trauma Triggers

When the traumatic memories are triggered, which can happen through random, transient events, such as smelling a particular smell associated with the trauma, sounds or tastes associated with the trauma, visual cues, physical stimuli, or a sudden movement that startles them, the individual is flooded with the whole sensory experience of the trauma, and they […]

Traumatic Memories

Our memories are typically integrated into the overarching story of our lives, providing a frame of reference for the new experience within the context of our whole story. However, an individual going through trauma loses this frame of reference. When the body system becomes inundated with the overwhelming sensory data coming in, the integrated functioning […]

The Effects of Trauma

Trauma can have a profound, even devastating impact on an individual. Often, the responses traumatized individuals exhibit are pathologized. They are viewed as needing “treatment” and are identified as “sick” or “disturbed.” The truth is, the responses to trauma are normal responses given the extreme nature of their situation. Pathologizing the person or seeing the […]

What is Trauma?

Trauma is an emotional response to a severely distressing event or series of events that overwhelms an individual’s ability and capacity to cope. Anything that interrupts the integration of the emotions involved in an experience would be considered traumatic. The first type of trauma is like a ball-peen hammer against a sheet of glass, the glass […]