Trauma is an event or series of events that crack and crumble the four pillars of our lives: people, places, routines and rituals, threatening our physical and psychological safety. When thoughts and memories of the traumatic event(s) don’t go away or get worse, they may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which can seriously disrupt a person’s ability to regulate their emotions and maintain healthy relationships, keeping them in "survival mode".
In survival mode, the nervous system is in a constant or near-constant state of activation, ready to fight, flight, freeze or please to achieve a sense of psychological safety. When the nervous system doesn't have a chance to "rest and digest", serious health consequences can emerge. Trauma can also trap a whole family, organization, community or country in survival mode.
The good news is that with treatment and support, PTSD can go into remission and be kept there, so that people and communities can move from surviving to thriving. That's our mission.
"Big T" trauma:
This type of trauma occurs when a person experiences (or causes) a significant, distressing, life-threatening or life-changing event. “Big T” trauma might include sexual assault and abuse, natural disaster, car crash, death of a loved one (particularly if sudden), medical emergency or serious diagnosis, job loss, violence (enduring, witnessing or perpetrating), betrayal or breach of trust.
"little t" trauma:
This type of trauma is often overlooked or unrecognized. It occurs when a person experiences multiple, smaller distressing events. They may not immediately threaten a person’s life, but over time, they can seriously interfere with emotional functioning. Picture a woodpecker steadily tapping the same spot on a tree. Eventually, it can bring the whole tree down. “Little t” trauma might include bullying, troubled relationships and breakups, poverty or money worries, social exclusion, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of chronic oppression.
SHANNON MORONEY is the author of two bestselling memoirs: Through the Glass, her own story following the violent crimes of her first husband; and Out of the Shadows, the story of human trafficking survivor Timea Nagy. Her newest book, Heal for Real: A guided journal to forgiving others—and yourself, is a transformative self-help guide to healing by exploring what she calls, “the new F word", forgiveness. Learn more about her work as an author, speaker and advocate at shannonmoroney.com
Interested in helping your organization or community heal from trauma? Founder and Clinical Director Shannon Moroney has been inspiring and guiding groups through the healing process for over 20 years, from urban centres to Arctic camps. No matter what has happened, her knowledge, skills, wisdom and fearlessness can help you come together safely to address wounds and forge a new path for the future.