Trauma is where your brain has encountered something so difficult to process and comprehend, that your only option is to not process it. It’s a tipping point, often from an event that is no more than 20 seconds long. This is often referred to as a flashback.
These tipping points are often not what would be perceived as traumatic by an outside observer. Everyone processes in different ways, depending on their experiences in life, the perceived consequences and meaning in the event, and, to some degree, their perceptions of how they should have conducted themselves versus how they actually did.
So if a child is being brutally beaten regularly, that is not necessarily traumatic. The trauma can be caused more by something the perpetrator says while delivering the beating, rather than the direct, obvious pain caused by the violence.
Problems come, not from what happens, but from the meaning found when processing what happened.
When dealing with trauma, it is common practice for therapists to wait at least a few months after an event before starting any therapy.
The brain is an amazing thing, that processes and files, and organises everything that happens to us.
This process takes time. It will be different for everyone.
If you start trying to ‘fix’ trauma before that processing has taken place, it can do more damage than good. The event may not have registered as traumatic with an individual. Treating it as traumatic will then result in the memory being enhanced and processed as traumatic.
My husband once told me a story about a time when he was in the police:
2 teenage girls had been walking down the road and a man had flashed at them.
They reported it to the police and my husband went along to interview both girls in their home. He interviewed them individually in their homes, with their parents present.
The first girl was distraught. The mother was raging, talking about how disgusting it was and how traumatic it was for her daughter. The daughter was really affected by it and struggled to be interviewed.
The second girl was calm and bemused. Her mother was joking about it and saying how ridiculous the stupid man was.
You do not decide if something is traumatic or not, your brain does.
So whilst we should be aware of the potential of things to be traumatic, we should not presume to know how someone else will experience and process an event. What we class as traumatic will be very different to someone else.
So be cautious about labelling something as traumatic based on your own perceptions of trauma.
Everything can change.
I can help you clear that traumatic block from your head. It only takes one session to clear the trauma, and then a follow up session to work on some of the structures in your brain that have been effected by it.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about how I might be able to help you.