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TRAUMA & trauma (Big 'T' trauma, little 't' trauma, and impact trauma)

People come to therapy when their life has gone off track. This sense of drift, disappointment or despair can show up in feelings, relationships, achievements, life goals, habits, or self-concept.


What causes this?


With every single person I have ever worked with, there have been events in the past (that in the broadest sense of the word 'trauma') that have caused 'injury'.


What is trauma?


I like the medical definition of the word 'trauma' because it captures the idea of an injury. As you will know from your own life, many experiences can be hurtful and many events will have left an 'imprint' or 'injury' deep down.


Psychologically we often think of trauma as PTSD. You will have seen images of soldiers returning from war, or disasters and serious accidents. However this kind of major psychological trauma is what psychologists call 'Big 'T' trauma. I work with all kinds of trauma. Working in this way offers everyone release from the past to be free and present in life that is happening right now.


Many people are still being impacted by their past but do not have classic PTSD.


I like the concept of 'small 't' trauma.' This is a better fit and explains how generally, through life, people are impacted by life events. I have yet to meet someone who cannot identify defining moments that have (emotionally or psychologically) 'injured' them somehow.


There are many types of injury that are relevant in psychological treatment. I am very interested in events that have injured a person's self-esteem, self-concept, self-worth, sense of safety and hope. I am also very interested in the events that have knocked people 'off course'.


Did you know you might be in chronic 'Flight'?


If you have ever had the experience of being chased, you know that when you are running away from someone, you are not really looking where you are going. You are just running. Your fight and flight system is flooding you with energy, propelling you forwards and narrowing your focus to the simple task of escape.


In therapy, it becomes clear that people are often focused on escaping the past. When we are hurt it is understandable to want to get as far away from all reminders of that pain. The problem is of course, that while we are focused on simply putting as much distance as possible between the event in the past that is painful, and the person we are today, our ability to carefully and mindfully consider where we are going is lost.


If you feel off track with your life, ask yourself if there are things in the past that you have been running from.


Anything that caused pain can be considered trauma. Never underestimate or devalue your own suffering. Suffering is often the reason we have not felt able to rest and enjoy the life we are in now. Our pain also holds the key to what is important to us and how we can move forwards in a direction we choose, not just because we are blindly running.



There are many therapies available to help make peace with the past and to love who you are today. Everyone can have contentment in the here and now. What would it feel like to stop running and realise that you are not being chased?

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