Trauma is the West’s more urgent health concern.

This is what Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps The Score, and with 30 years of experience behind him, argues.

What is trauma?

Trauma is defined as an emotional response to a terrible event, like an accident.
The response involves complex debilitation of adaptive abilities (i.e. emotional, cognitive, physical, spiritual, and social) following an event that was perceived by our nervous system as life-threatening to oneself or others (especially loved ones).

Trauma can be a single event, a prolonged event, or series of events. Trauma that affects a community or a country is called collective trauma and may include transgenerational trauma, such as, long-term effects of the Holocaust, racial injustices, and most currently, the effects of covid-19.

Adaptive Abilities


Our system goes into survival mode and activates the fight/ flight/ freeze response.
These are the different ways it can manifest:

  • Cognitive: affects the ability to process our thoughts and good decision-making 
  • Emotional: ruminating over shame, guilt, fear, and anger
  • Physical: affects the autonomic nervous system (i.e. respiratory system, heart rate, GI Tract, bladder), functioning of muscles, joints, immune system, sleep, body temperature, circulation, etc
  • Social: affects relationships with partners, spouses, family, friends, colleagues, strangers, and structures of societies in the case of collective trauma
  • Spiritual: trauma affects the lens through which we see reality (typically unsafe), our understanding and meaning of life, society, and the world

H3 Regulation and Stress Tolerance

Through the use of the right tools and techniques, people can gain the skill of emotion regulation and develop greater stress tolerance. 

It is from within this state that a person is prepared and able to begin processing trauma. The individual learns that they have power over their feelings and emotions, have awareness for what they can control, and gain acceptance for what they cannot.

I hope this email helps you recognize how trauma may be affecting yourself, your loved ones, or even your community at large. 

Please reach out if you are interested in learning how TCM may be able to support you and your family.