Events Don’t Cause Trauma – Perceptions Do

In my last post, I shared my firmly held opinion that trauma is the cause of many of our emotional and behavioral challenges.

Events Don’t Cause Trauma – Perceptions Do

It bears repeating that it is the belief, perception, or meaning that developed (the root) as a result of a past experience (the seed) that causes trauma, not the experience itself. Some seeds will never sprout, while others will. The seeds represent only potential trauma and do not, by themselves, cause or maintain emotional trauma that is still apparent years later. Since we cannot change the past event, the key to trauma resolution is to determine what continues to reactivate the trauma or symptoms in the present. If one is able to spontaneously create fear or generate a compulsive desire to engage in unhealthy behavior, it means that an underlying thought is triggering that conditioned response.

Unfortunately, many people unknowingly retain those disempowering learned beliefs or consciously claim to be a victim of their past, unable to change its effect on them. Either way, they are actually perpetuating their own emotional trauma. I am not saying that the ongoing trauma is their fault, but it is their responsibility and opportunity to overcome it because it is very achievable with the right assistance.

I find it disheartening and astonishing that so many people (including those we trust with our health) are truly unaware of the aforementioned relationships between symptoms and root causes. In fact, it’s safe to say that the overwhelming majority of our society is utterly clueless about what really drives human behavior and maladaptive coping strategies (such as anxiety, addictions, and relationship sabotage). While some people with trauma-induced emotional and behavioral problems play the role of powerless victim, I have found that others downplay the relevance of traumatic experiences, especially those from childhood. The unwillingness to acknowledge potential trauma stems from ignorance and even outright denial that a seemingly unimportant event (from a present-day perspective) could have such a significant effect on one’s life.

Self-Awareness Can Lead to Empowerment

Meanwhile, the disempowered and uninformed masses have been programmed over the past century to seek help from psychotherapists, the only large collective of professionals who may actually recognize what is truly causing the weeds to grow. This societal programming has also led countless millions with lifestyle-related illnesses to mistakenly seek help from allopathic medical doctors. Unfortunately for their patients, many psychotherapists and physicians are generally more capable of analyzing and diagnosing weeds than uprooting them.

As a result, too many people limp through stagnant lives of quiet desperation, unaware that they do not have to merely “cope” with their trauma (or any emotional or behavioral symptom, for that matter) but can actually resolve it completely. It is here that we, as professional hypnotists, have a responsibility to society. We are uniquely equipped with the tools to both recognize and resolve trauma, and in many other ways to upgrade our clients’ mental software to allow them to awaken, heal, and thrive.

In the next article, you will learn how memories are the key factors in trauma, and that a phenomenon studied by neuroscientists explains how some hypnotists can quickly neutralize trauma.