Daniela Sieff on Emotional Trauma

Video 4 Comments

  • Behaviour change
  • Mental health
  • Social brain

We are becoming increasingly aware of how widespread trauma is, and of the huge costs it imposes not only on individuals and their immediate communities, but also on society more generally.

But what exactly do we mean by the word 'trauma'?

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about trauma, and we need to develop far greater clarity if we are to work with it more effectively. Trauma is defined by the impact that painful and frightening experiences have on us and by the long term effect those experiences have on our lives, rather than by the relative content of those experiences.

When experiences leave us with a deeply held conviction that our survival is at risk, our bodies and brains construct an unconscious system whose ‘aim’ is to protect us, but which paradoxically creates new cycles of trauma in ourselves and those with whom we interact. Understanding this system is crucial to transforming it.

Writer and researcher Dr Daniela F. Sieff visits the RSA to explore the dynamics of trauma from an interdisciplinary perspective.

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  • An unbelievably excellent resource. Thank you, thank you, thank you!  An incredibly simplified explanation and understanding of life-long pain and the pathway to healing.  

    My only remaining question is this: How do we best find a therapist who will effectively facilitate our healing process related to emotional trauma?  I'm certain most would be of the opinion they have been effective in healing their own trauma, but how would I know that for certain, while in the process of selecting my guide in healing?

    • Dear Melissa,  Thank you very much for your comment.  I am hugely touched and moved by it.  You are right - it can be very hard to find therapists who will facilitate our healing.  At some level we have to go on what we feel, but when we start out on the healing journey we don't trust that.  I'd be suspect of somebody who thinks they have healed their trauma - I'd rather my therapist claimed less and simply said they'd found an easier way to live with their trauma!   Best, Daniela

  • This was the most aware presentation on trauma I've ever heard. It missed nothing, collecting up all the threads and putting them together right through to the healing process. No easy solution, no easy fix, But a light of hope. Thankyou.

    • Dear Barbara, Sorry to take a while to reply!  I've only just found the comment section!  However, I did want to thank you for your comment.  I am deeply moved and touched by it.  Best, Daniela