Trauma Awareness Month – Healing TREE (Trauma Resources, Education & Entertainment)

By: Stephanie Mangan, LPCC-S, President of Board of Directors, Healing TREE

Originally posted by Face It on May 25, 2023

How do you define the human experience? How do you define trauma? Would you consider yourself, or your loved ones,  a survivor of trauma? Most humans begin to clam up, deflect, avoid or “run away” the minute questions like these are asked. We often respond to these questions saying, “Oh no, not me. I’m not one of those people. I have my stuff together”.

Does anyone really have their stuff together? Is it possible trauma affects us all? You may not know you have experienced trauma, but if you have gone through situations that have caused you physical, mental, or emotional distress, you might have some unhealed emotional wounds. 

Whether we want to admit it or not, trauma affects each and every one of us at some point in our life and for some people, throughout their entire life. Trauma can be a combination of smaller traumatic events, also known as “small t” traumas (e.g., a breakup, the death of a pet, losing a job, getting bullied, or being rejected by a friend group) any event or ongoing situation that causes distress, fear, and a sense of helplessness. Or larger events, known as “big T” traumas (e.g., war, natural disasters, violent crimes, a school shooting, a serious car accident, or even a death of a parent or loved one). By going through these traumas our brain chemistry is altered. When we go through either “small t” traumas or “big T” traumas it’s imperative we treat them the same as we would going for an annual physical or a dental cleaning. I often hear people say that if they talked about their trauma they would experience fear, shame, embarrassment, blame from others and guilt. All of these emotions drive us away from getting the much needed healing our bodies internally desire so desperately, it leads us to suffer in silence. We not only are setting ourselves up for failure, but our loved ones as well.

When we as a society are able to remove the fears around discussing trauma and its effects on our lives as part of the human experience, that is when true healing can occur. Families would be able to speak up and advocate for their children who are struggling, and seek guidance from properly trained trauma-informed mental health providers, allowing families to grow closer together. They would be able to heal together, which inadvertently decreases the rate of child abuse/neglect and the need for Child Protective Services, and strengthening the family as a whole unit. Communities would be able to take care of each other, support each other, and better understand one another. Can you imagine living in a world like this? 

Healing TREE (Trauma Resources, Education & Entertainment) works every day to break down these barriers and promote conversations related to the healing of trauma. This non-profit organization has various different programs available within our communities. These programs include: EMDR Therapy Training for therapists & medical professionals; our Approved Care Network (ACN) provides free, nationwide directory of trauma-focused mental health providers; Face It Sponsored Silk Screenings + Workshops for high schoolers, college students and community members on the most insidious red flags of abuse and trauma, built around our short film Silk. Healing TREE also has programming related to the Arts & Entertainment industry, providing trauma consulting for arts professionals who are writing or developing a film, television show or play and want to make sure that they are depicting issues of mental illness, abuse, addiction and related topics in an accurate and trauma-informed way. 

Healing TREE strives to address all of the obstacles an individual finds during their healing journey, making the process easier for others and paving the way for real change. With the belief that every person deserves to live a life free of trauma and its devastating effects, whether or not they have the resources and support readily available to them. I empower and challenge each of you reading this blog post to consider how your lives might improve if you, your loved ones and your community were given the opportunity to experience this type of healing. What might your life be like with this type of freedom from your past or present experiences? Might today or tomorrow be the beginning of a healthier future? 

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime