Learning and Growing Through Trauma
Trauma-Informed Practice. What the hell is that, then?
This was the key question I had asked myself whilst preparing for an interview with a homeless charity recently (spoiler alert I got the job. I love it!)
I did a bit of research, enough to answer any potential interview questions at a reasonable level anyway. Fast-forward a couple of weeks to my induction. Day two was to be spent learning about trauma. Man, what a course this was. It was not only informative and inspiring, it began to help me understand myself.
So, allow me to indulge in my favourite pastime (talking about myself) and take you on a little journey through my mind.
What is trauma?
Trauma is not what happens to you, trauma is what happens inside you as a result of what happens to you
Dr Gabor Maté
Often, when looking at problem behaviours (addictions etc.) we look solely at the behaviour rather than the root cause of that behaviour. Gabor Maté says that trauma is typically at the heart of problematic behaviours. To understand, say, addiction, we need to understand the impact of events that lead to the addiction.
I have had mental health issues from as far back as I can remember. But, if you’d asked me if I’d ever suffered from trauma, I’d have clapped back hard against that idea. I then read In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by the aforementioned Gabor Maté. This was a game-changer for me. I have a lot of suppressed trauma that I’ve never really acknowledged or dealt with. Burying stuff was the easy way out, but led to a steaming hot mess of behaviours that had a negative impact on my life. So much was explained by this book that I was able to reflect upon my life and see what led to some poor life choices.
What to do with those reflections?
Life is all about choices. Some will lead to happiness and growth. Others will have a negative impact. Not just in your own life but in the lives of those within your inner and outer circles.