Trauma is Relative

One’s person trauma can be shrugged off, perhaps with some effort, but shrugged off nevertheless. Why is that? Robert Stolorow, well known within the psychoanalytic community offers this:

It cannot be overemphasized that injurious childhood experiences in and of themselves need not be traumatic (or at least not lastingly so) or pathogenic provided that they occur within a responsive milieu. Pain is not pathology. It is the absence of adequate attunement and responsiveness to the child’s painful emotional reaction that renders them unendurable and thus a source of traumatic states and psychopathology.

So, what exactly does that mean? If someone is there for the child during or after a traumatic experience, and can demonstrate empathy and respond appropriately – then the child has a chance of processing the experience without it becoming traumatic.

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Clinical Psychologist practicing in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

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