What Is Trauma?

Trauma occurs when your brain can't fully process an event due to a real or imagined threat of some kind. This could be for multiple reasons. Perhaps there's too much going on at one time. Or, you were too young to understand what was happening. Maybe there's too much emotional stress, and your brain can't handle it anymore so you shut down.

The threat itself can be anything from something that was physically harmful to an emotional response to rejection or neglect. Either way, your brain's response is the same and makes you feel on high alert.


When these things happen in your life, your brain ends up storing those experiences in really weird ways. Unprocessed bits and pieces of the event become scattered throughout your experiences and senses. Those fragmented memories are what cause your brain to get stuck and unable to fully process the trauma. So, whenever anything reminds you of that traumatic event, like a certain smell or a specific location, it causes your brain to think you're in danger again. Your brain fires up and actually has the same physical response as when the trauma initially occurred. This will happen over and over again if you never completely process the trauma in your life.


The trauma itself can also create false beliefs about yourself. For instance, neglect you may have experienced as a child may influence you to believe you're not lovable or your existence doesn't matter. Every time you have some type of sensory experience reminding you of your trauma, you begin to filter your world through these false beliefs. This compounds the problem. Through therapy, you can start to rewrite those beliefs about yourself and begin to heal.

It's important to note that no one can tell you what is and isn't traumatic. How people and their brains respond to life events can differ from person to person. So, trauma for one person, may not be trauma for another.

Remember, you're not the problem. The problem is the problem and you too can experience freedom from trauma. Contact me to get started.