I was recently presented to a group of professionals on the topic of trauma where the discussion led to the varied aspects of brain regulation. I showed some slides revealing the consequences of dysregulation and what it creates in the brain and in your body. Also discussed, among other issues, was functional IQ, respiration, heart rate, decision-making and loss of sense of time.
When I finished, this very passionate and caring group of professionals began to speak about the discussion and its impact on them and potentially to those they work with who were trauma-impacted. One individual introduced himself and stated that he had been teaching on the subject of trauma. He then said, “I thought I knew what I was teaching but after today I need to go back to the drawing board and learn more about trauma.” I appreciated his candor and honesty as well as his humility. I find that this is a consistent belief for those who are discovering what trauma really means.
I thought I knew what I was teaching but after today I need to go back to the drawing board and learn more trauma.
There’s Always More to Learn Regarding Trauma
As we teach trauma at Lakeside, no matter how much information we teach or how many processes we take our participants through there is always more to know and more to learn. In fact, because of the style of training, we utilize most individuals who are taking our courses want to know even more when after they have taken all the courses we offer. It truly hits home, piques interest and whets their appetites for more on this intense subject. I have reviewed a lot of trauma curriculum but have not seen any curriculum that is more comprehensive than what we currently offer in our three courses. Yet it feels like there is always more to learn because of the complex nature of trauma.
This is not to say that anyone’s training is better than another’s. It is to say that trauma knowledge is incredibly powerful and humbling. As I hear stories from those who have been victims of trauma, I have a great respect for their processes and for all they have survived. I also know that I could not possibly be aware of all of what they have experienced. There is always more to learn and understand.
Individuals Experience Trauma Differently
We need our trauma therapists and processers to have that sense of appreciation and respect for the complexity and depth of trauma’s impact to a person’s life. We cannot assume we know what they are experiencing. However, we can actively listen, learn, help them cope and strategize for ways to bring healing and hope based on current knowledge and research. No matter how much we know, there is always more to learn. And as this professional said to me at my presentation, we all need to go back to the drawing board every day and be willing to learn anew how trauma affects its victims. Trauma is not simple. Realizing the depth of its impact is the best way to be mindful of the needs of the trauma-impacted individual that we are attempting to help.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO