This Conversation Will Change How You Talk About Trauma

This conversation will change how you talk about trauma. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California’s first surgeon general, talks about how we can reframe the way we think about trauma and its impact on our lives.

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In recent years, there has been a growing movement to change the way we talk about trauma. Trauma is often seen as a negative experience that should be hidden away and forgotten. But trauma survivors are speaking out and saying that this is not helpful. Trauma should be seen as a part of our lives that can be talked about openly and honestly.

This conversation will explore how we can talk about trauma in a more helpful way. We will discuss why the traditional view of trauma is harmful, and how a more open discussion of trauma can be healing for both individuals and society.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is often misunderstood. It’s not just about big, life-changing events. It’s also the cumulative effect of smaller stresses that build up over time. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed, out of control, and disconnected. It’s important to understand what trauma is and how it can impact your life.

The definition of trauma

When we talk about trauma, we are referring to a deeply distressing or disturbing experience that challenges our ability to cope. Trauma can be caused by an overwhelming amount of stress that is physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. A traumatic event can shatter our sense of safety, make us feel vulnerable and cause us to feel hopeless and alone. Trauma can occur when we experience an event that threatens our life or the life of someone close to us. We may also experience trauma when we witness something traumatic happening to someone else.

The types of trauma

Trauma is a response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelse, understand, and work through. Types of trauma include:

Acute trauma: This is a one-time event, such as a natural disaster, car accident, or military combat.

Chronic trauma: This is repeated and prolonged exposure to highly stressful events, such as domestic violence, childhood abuse, or living in an unsafe neighborhood.

Complex trauma: This occurs when someone experiences both chronic and acute traumas. For example, a child who grows up in a war zone and witnesses violence on a daily basis may also experience an acute trauma if their home is bombed.

The effects of trauma

Trauma is a physical or emotional injury that can cause long-lasting damage. It can be caused by a one-time event, like a car accident, or by repeated events, like abuse. Trauma can cause physical and psychological problems.

The effects of trauma can be short-term or long-term. They can include:

-Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
– Substance abuse
-Problems with relationships
-Physical health problems

How to Talk About Trauma

It can be difficult to talk about trauma, especially if you have experienced it yourself. You might not know where to start, or you might be afraid of how others will react. It’s important to find a way to talk about trauma, though, so that you can heal and move on. Here are some tips for how to talk about trauma.

The importance of talking about trauma

When we talk about trauma, we are often referring to a very specific event or experience that has had a lasting, negative impact on our lives. Trauma can be the result of many different kinds of experiences, including physical or sexual abuse, witnessing violence, or experiencing a natural disaster.

For many people, talking about their trauma can be an incredibly difficult and painful experience. But it is also an important part of the healing process. When we talk about our traumas, we can begin to make sense of what happened to us and how it has affected our lives. We can also start to work through the pain and begin to heal the wounds that have been inflicted.

There are many different ways to talk about trauma, and there is no one “right” way to do it. It is important to find a way that feels safe for you and that you are comfortable with. You may want to talk about your trauma with a friend, family member, therapist, or counselor. You may also find it helpful to write about your experience or express yourself through art or music.

Whatever way you choose to talk about your trauma, it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many others who have been through similar experiences and who understand what you are going through. Talking about your trauma can be an incredibly powerful step on the road to recovery.

The best ways to talk about trauma

When talking about trauma, it is important to use language that is respectful, accurate, and helpful. Here are some tips:

-Use people-first language. For example, say “a person who experienced trauma” instead of “a trauma victim.”
-Avoid using labels. For example, instead of saying someone is “mentally ill,” say they “have a mental health condition.”
-Use respectful and accurate terminology. For example, use the word “disclosure” instead of “trigger warning.”
-Avoid making assumptions. For example, don’t assume that someone who experienced trauma wants to talk about it.
-Be aware of your own triggers. If you find yourself getting upset while talking about trauma, take a break or end the conversation.

The things to avoid when talking about trauma

When talking about trauma, there are certain things that you should avoid doing in order to be respectful and considerate of the person who is sharing their story with you. Here are four things to avoid when talking about trauma:

1.Don’t tell the person who is sharing their story that they “should” feel any certain way.
2.Don’t dismiss the person’s feelings or tell them that they “shouldn’t” feel that way.
3.Don’t tell the person who is sharing their story that they need to “get over it” or “move on.”
4.Don’t give unsolicited advice or tell the person what they “should” do.


It’s been said that the first step toward healing is admitting that you’re wounded. And yet, for many people, that’s the hardest part. There can be a lot of shame and stigma around admitting that you’ve been traumatized. But it’s important to remember that trauma is not your fault. You are not to blame for what happened to you.

Trauma is also not a sign of weakness. In fact, it often takes a great deal of strength to survive a traumatic experience. And it’s OK to ask for help. In fact, it’s essential. Talking about your experiences with a therapist or counselor can be an important step on the road to recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma, there are resources available to help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free, and confidential support for people in distress, as well as prevention and crisis resources. You can call them at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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