Dr. Sarah Woodhouse: What Is Trauma?
Mar 06, 2021
Dr. Sarah Woodhouse talks to us about Trauma and her new book, You're Not Broken. The hidden trauma that holds back so many people.
She says, in one way or another, we all carry trauma. It can manifest as anxiety, shame, low self-esteem, over-eating, under-eating, addiction, depression, confusion, people-pleasing, under-earning, low mood, negative thinking, social anxiety, anger, brain fog and more.
Traumas, big or ‘little’, leave us trapped in cycles of dysfunctional behaviours, negative thoughts and difficult feelings. Yet many people are unaware they’re stuck in old reactions and patterns that stem from their past traumas. Many of us are wary of the word and push it away instead of moving towards it and learning how to break free.
What Is Trauma?
A trauma can only be defined by our reactions. An event is only horrifying because we're horrified, or scary, because we are scared. Without a reaction, an event is just a moment in time.
We all react different to different events - so my trauma's will not necessarily be your traumas and vice versa. Trauma is relational (meaning we react to something) but it's also a primarily internal experience. As Dr Gabor Mate, the world renowned trauma expert, the trauma happens in us, not to us.
She says we all have a unique response to trauma. Yes there will be shared feelings,, processes, understanding and healing with others on this journey, but your trauma will always be personal to you. Observe your reactions. Become interested and curious in your past reactions and your reactions today.
Dr Woodhouse gives us 4 definitions of trauma, each of which offers a different way in which to understand trauma. Each definition can stand alone, but together they provide a full explanation of trauma.
Trauma: 4 Definitions
1. A trauma is a perceived threat that overwhelms us and our ability to respond
2. Trauma is our unprocessed memory of the experience
3. Trauma is our ongoing cycle of traumatic reactions, and our attempts to cope with these reactions and manage our feelings
4.Trauma is our disconnection from our sense of self, others and the world that follows the traumatic experience
Dr Sarah Woodhouse is a Research Psychologist who specialises in trauma and is passionate about helping people face this word and their past. In You’re Not Broken she teaches you what a trauma is (it’s probably not what you think), and how to recognise when, why and how your past is holding you back. She gently explains the pitfalls of ignoring awkward, upsetting episodes and how true freedom comes from looking back at your past with honesty. Then, sharing the latest research-based techniques and her own personal experience, she guides you towards breaking the trauma loop, reawakening your true self and reclaiming your future.