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Trauma Therapy and a Tree



I appreciate posts on social media about therapy and mental health because they invite reflection and critical thinking. Recently, I came across a post that emphasized therapy as an exploration of the roots of problems rather than their apparent manifestations in behaviors, thoughts, and feelings—the branches and leaves.

After some reflection, I find the analogy of the life of a tree useful in discussing therapy even if not exactly as it was suggested.

The branches represent what is visible: behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, yes. The roots, on the other hand, can show deeper aspects such as history, traumatic memories, and the contents stored in our subconscious, beyond our awareness.

While exploring the roots can enhance self-understanding, this approach may not apply universally, especially in trauma therapy or within my systemic approach.

Trauma therapy is most effective when we examine the entire journey, from the seed (early experiences or those within our family) to the branches, leaves, and fruits (personal growth, fulfillment, and the impact on those around us).

The systemic approach facilitates exploration of all stages, fostering resilience, self-discovery, and profound transformation. Why? Because the root may not be the problem. In trauma studies, we understand that seeds may already carry certain activations influencing our behavior.

Moreover, environmental factors like water, fertilizers, wind, sun, and more can shape how branches grow and the type of fruit produced. Therefore, the problem is not solely in the roots.

I hope you perceive trauma therapy as a journey, similar to the life of a tree. It demands time, patience, and care—not seeking blame but taking responsibility for our development irrespective of the root of the issue.

With the right therapist and approach, trauma therapy can nurture our growth, deepen self-knowledge, uncover meaning and purpose, and reward our efforts with delicious fruits.

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2 comentários


Nancy Hadsell
Nancy Hadsell
09 de out. de 2023

When you state that trauma is our relationship to an event, it implies that we who have been traumatized have chosen that relationship, which is completely false. We cope the best we can given our biology, our history, and environmental factors. I find the implication that I somehow created a relationship with my trauma not only disturbing, but blaming,. When someone tries to murder a person, that individual is surviving, not only during the event but afterwards. The last thing any traumatized person needs to hear is that she created a relationship with the event, as if she had a choice.

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09 de out. de 2023
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Hi Nancy,

Thanks for your comment. The whole idea of the post is to clarify that "trauma" is not the event. Trauma as a phenomenon is everything that happens from the moment we are at risk to the injury that it leaves in our system. If there is no injury, then there is no trauma even if the event was horrific. The injury grows as we continue feeling threatened and most of the time, the risk is gone. So, what I'm trying to say is that the injury happens because we develop an unconscious internal relationship with being at risk that keeps affecting our system negatively. In order to heal, we need to change that relationship and know that even…

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