How the brain escapes trauma


How the brain escapes trauma. In this episode Judith Germain speaks to Gerald Vassar about how individuals impacted by trauma discover their own journey towards recovery, healing and hope. Gerald provides a comprehensive definition of trauma as distressing events that overwhelm one’s ability to cope. He explains how trauma impacts the brain and triggers stress responses.

Key Takeaways

  • Trauma can result from a distressing event or chronic experiences like racism that overwhelm one’s ability to cope.
  • Understanding how trauma impacts brain function and neurological responses is key to recovery.
  • The process of recovery involves learning to regulate emotions, relate to others, and reason cognitively.
  • Therapeutic education, not therapy, can help people become aware of trauma responses and develop coping skills.
  • Organisations should aim to create psychologically safe environments for employees.
  • Healing requires self-awareness and the plasticity of the brain allows change at any age.


Defining Trauma

  • Trauma is a psychologically distressing event that interrupts one’s ability to reason, think clearly, and manage stress responses. It leaves one feeling powerless.
  • Trauma can stem from singular events or ongoing experiences like racism, chronic stress, war, and unhealthy attachments.

Neurological Impact

  • Trauma triggers survival responses in the lower brain, making it hard to think rationally or problem solve.
  • Understanding how one’s neurology is affected by trauma is key to recovery.
  • The process of regulating emotions, relating to others, and reasoning cognitively maps to moving up from lower to higher brain functions.

Recovery Process

  • Education on the science of trauma responses can help people gain awareness and coping skills.
  • A supportive person can guide someone through the neurological processes and help discredit distorted trauma responses.
  • Organizations should aim to create psychologically safe environments and trauma-informed practices.

Healing the Brain

  • Healing starts with self-awareness of how adverse experiences have impacted you.
  • The brain’s plasticity allows it to be rewired and healed at any age.
  • There is always hope for healing through proper support and perspective.

Gerald Vassar, President & CEO of Lakeside. Lakeside is a trauma-informed, brain-based training organisation, that helps individuals impacted by trauma discover their own journey towards recovery, healing, and hope.

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Gerald Vassar can be found on LinkedIn here. His website can be found here.

You can listen to Episode 376 on any of the popular podcast platforms or apps (including Spotify, and Audible). If you prefer to listen to your browser you can do that below. Enjoy!

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Maverick Paradox Media is for the pathologically curious who seek to learn from lateral thinkers, including how to execute maverick thinking. We provide a Maverick perspective on the world arounds us. 💢 I am the leading authority on 𝗠𝗮𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗸 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 and Founder of Maverick Paradox Media. It is because I am passionate about demonstrating that Maverick Leadership exists everywhere and understand that we can all learn from diverse and differing voices that I founded Maverick Paradox Media. Maverick Paradox reaches thousands of leaders and business owners, empowering and inspiring them to think differently, challenge often and increase their leadership capability. 💢 Maverick Paradox Media consists of: ✅ The Maverick Paradox Podcast (on all popular podcast platforms/apps – available episodes here: ✅ The Maverick Paradox Magazine I also write for The Maverick Paradox Magazine and you can find those articles under my name Judith Germain.