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Trauma: Feeling out of your depth and in need of resources?
The crisis itself might be over, and the media gone, but the effects on your community or the population you work with are likely still very present.
Individuals and groups experience trauma from many sources, including:
- Natural disasters: earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, or tsunamis
- Accidents: car crashes, airline disasters, collapsed buildings, nuclear contamination
- Human-caused harm: shootings, bombings, ongoing war, occupation, structures
- Historical harms: mass traumas such as enslavement, genocide, or colonization that happened in the past but impact the present
- Harming others: killing/harming others, whether unintentionally, intentionally, including in the line of duty
- Dignity violations: being treated in ways that exclude, humiliate or belittle our humanity
Although these situations differ, the effects of the trauma responses they create are often remarkably similar. If left unaddressed, the effects can compound, perpetuating cycles of violence directed at the self or others, which increases suffering and gets passed on to future generations.
We all need to be trauma-informed
Human beings have experienced trauma since the beginning of time, and cultures have developed different ways of dealing with it. But urbanization and the (sometimes deliberate) breakdown of communities has led to the loss of some of these practices. In addition, the sheer number and size of traumatic events in our world have become overwhelming.
The good news is that trauma research has identified new strategies and tools that are highly effective for individuals and groups. Research also affirms a number of the traditional practices.
Many of these tools and processes can be safely used by individuals and groups to address trauma, even without a psychologist. But we need to educate ourselves on what is effective and safe—to be trauma-informed. It’s like learning first-aid and knowing when to use self-help measures such as fluids and rest for aphysical illness, but also knowing when you need to see a doctor.
You’ll find the basics you need on these free trauma resources pages
- Which reactions to trauma are normal (and which are cause for concern)
- Physical release techniques to prevent further wounding
- Tools that help people transform trauma into resilience and growth
Download the diagrams you see here which are the core of the STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience model by filling out the form at the bottom of the page.
Want to go deeper?
- Watch these webinars on helping yourself and your community address trauma with tools from neurobiology, justice and conflict transformation
- Or take the self-paced STAR-Basics course (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience)
- Check out the week-long in-person STAR training