3 Ways To Empower More Trauma-Informed People in 2020

Trauma-informed 2020

Entering a new decade is an important time to look at where we are and where we’d like to go. It’s a chance to leave behind old ways that have not been so helpful and embrace new ways — the kinder, more trauma-informed, more compassionate ways that nurture our best selves. When it comes to mental health, I’d like to move past the things that aren’t serving us as individuals, families, communities, or human beings—and embrace and enhance the ones that are.

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How People Heal From Trauma, Thanks to Helpers

heal after trauma with helpers

What happens when children witness disaster in the news, movies, or real life? It’s only natural for them to feel worried, unsafe, and scared. Adults could feel this way too. Children’s television host Fred Rogers explained how his mother taught him to restore his own sense of safety and stability when witnessing a catastrophe:

“Always look for the helpers. There will always be helpers…. That’s why I think that if news programs could make a conscious effort of showing rescue teams… anybody who is coming into a place where there’s a tragedy, to be sure to include that. Because if you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope.”

I can’t stress enough the importance of even one safe relationship in the life of someone who experiences trauma. Continue reading

A Compassionate Look at “Borderline Personality Disorder” From a Trauma-Informed Lens

DSM 5 terminology for Borderline Personality Disorder

When someone has a mental health issue or illness, therapists look to a diagnosis, so we can better understand it, gather information about it and treat it precisely as mental health professionals.

However, sometimes the terms themselves may add to the challenges in working with the patient. I admit, I’m troubled by the diagnostic term borderline personality disorder (BPD). The negative traits and pathologizing language usually associated with this term make it hard to use the terminology or diagnosis without also being extremely detrimental to the client. These kinds of terms can then worsen the problem of the stigma associated with mental illness, which we all have to confront. When we use certain terms, we may unwillingly subject people to prejudice, judgment and stigma that can prevent them from getting help, receiving compassion, and seeking out a trauma-informed approach to treatment. This is not okay!

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7 Powerful Trauma-Informed Lessons from Rocketman


*Spoiler warning: This article reveals the general storylines of Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody*

Have you seen the film Rocketman yet? I hope you do! Here’s why I think it’s a beautiful movie that everyone should see. Like the film Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman provides a powerful example of how attachment trauma in childhood can fuel a cycle of shame, pain, and addiction. Even better, it also reveals a pathway to recovery. Rocketman is trauma-informed because it helps us understand how emotional injuries impact a trauma survivor’s behavior and what that person needs for growth and healing. Through compassion, support and reparative relationships, healing is possible.

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Feelings: The Other F-Word for Trauma Survivors

Fear of emotions

Some of my clients have called feelings “the other f-word.”

Can feelings be scary? Yes, they can, especially if the emotions you experienced early in life felt overwhelming or were ignored. You may have a fear of emotions if no one helped you learn to regulate, comfort or understand them. You probably tried to do anything you could to not have them!

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This Is Why You Can’t Be In a Rush to Heal Trauma

how long to heal trauma

A question new clients often ask is, “How long is therapy going to take?” They are eager to feel better, heal and move forward. They want to pour out all the details of their story during the first session because they think it might help them heal trauma faster. But, because we are dealing with emotional pain or even trauma, we have to slow down and take it one step at a time.

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