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Updated: Apr 29, 2020

This is the most common answer I get from most of my clients. Although as a trauma therapist I see that almost everyone has had some levels of response. The fact that someone has possibly had a more traumatic event does not negate the effects of your trauma or the existence of it. I have been taught and witnessed for years with my clients that there are different kinds of traumatic events. First, there are what EMDR would call a “BIG T” trauma. These are events that leave clients completely powerless and often with life altering events.

This may include:

  • Loss of a loved one

  • Witness to a violent crime

  • Witness to physical, sexual or verbal abuse

  • Being physically, sexually or verbally abused

  • Divorce (parents or self)

  • Natural disaster

  • Neglect

  • Abandonment as a child by caregiver

  • Imprisonment of a loved one or self

  • Car, plane or train accident

  • Going to war

These are just examples of BIG T traumas. Most people would consider these events traumatic. There are two groups of people that are exposed to these daily and have cumulative effects because of it and that is our first responders and veterans. They can benefit greatly from EMDR, a highly effective therapy that has shown great results for trauma.

Here are examples of “SMALL t” traumas, which are often missed by clients or outsiders observing someone. The impact of these, especially when they are cumulative can be astounding on our functioning, mental health and relationships.

SMALL t traumas may include:

  • Being called names

  • Bullying

  • Amicable divorce

  • Financial stress

  • Break up

  • Loss of friends

  • Infidelity

  • Relocation

  • Birth trauma or difficulty nursing

The list can go on with small t traumas but the point for clients or people to recognize is we all have things that can affect our functioning and our relationships and there is no shame in getting help, because there is help! There is hope! If you have a recurring negative story you tell yourself or a pattern in relationships that can't be broken, or you struggle with anxiety in depression, there is most likely a small or BIG T trauma connected to it! And we can help!

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