What is Trauma and how can Trauma therapy help?

Black Woman healing from past traumas | Pikesville, MD

The word trauma is something many of us hear often. We hear these discussions and nod our heads, but do we really understand trauma? When most folks think of trauma, they think of its first introduction to the world, military veterans. Military veterans and active-duty members of the military absolutely experience trauma; however, contrary to popular belief they are not the only ones. Trauma is not the “military diagnosis”. Trauma is so much more. Because of this, my approach to trauma therapy is holistic, integrative, and non-oppressive. As a trauma therapist, I have learned that trauma is complex, vast, and ever-changing.

What is Trauma?

At Revitalizing Inner Self Essence,  we define trauma as an experience or event that “happens to you directly, that you witness happening to someone else, or that someone has told you about which impact your perception”. In other words, the event, experience, or series of events/experiences affect one or all of these three things: how you see yourself, how you see others, and how you see the world. Experiences and events that happen to others, but are shared with you can be just as impactful as those that happen to you directly.

Here’s some truth: what makes an event traumatic is not the event itself but rather a person’s perception of the event. This means that our bodies and minds decide what is traumatic. This is why two people may experience the same event, yet only one may perceive it as traumatic, while the other may not.

Many of us were first introduced to trauma as it relates to the military experience. Because of this, we have begun to believe that an experience is only traumatic if it is violent. As a trauma therapist, I have learned that the truth is that many violent events are traumatic but not all traumas are violent.

A few examples of violent trauma

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  1. Community violence i.e murders, shooting, bullying, physical assault, police brutality
  2. Physical Abuse
  3. Sexual Assualt
  4. Accidents i.e car crash, collisions, plane crashes
  5. War (terrorism, refugees)

Some examples of non-violent trauma

  • Sexual assault or abuse (may or may not include violence)
  • Manipulation
  • Rejection
  • Discrimination
  • Neglect
  • Coercion
  • Religiosity

*Pease note, neither of these lists are exhaustive*

3 examples of Trauma for Black folks considering Trauma therapy


Among the African-American community, there is a shared trauma: slavery. Slavery has impacted the lives of countless Black folk. It has impacted everything from the food we eat to the thoughts we have and the traditions we carry. While slavery has an involuntary, physically abusive, and sexually assaultive origin, its impact on our hearts, minds, and sprints is just as impactful.

Lack of Resources

Another experience, that may be traumatic is a lack of resources. Not all, but many Black folk experience a lack of resources. These resources often include access to financial resources, healing practices, community support, educational tools for advancement, and safety. Limited access to resources within the Black community may be traumatic as it creates intentional struggle and serves as a reminder of the cruelty the world has shown Black folks.

Black Woman holding her heart with her hand. This image represent what someone healing trauma may look like when they feel pain on their body and in their heart while practicing mind-body techniques learned during trauma therapy with a holistic therapist in Baltimore, MD. 21204 | 21286 | 21044

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Medical Trauma

Additionally, Black folks experience discrimination in healthcare settings. Black folks have unknowingly and unwillingly been participants in medical experiments, such as the Tuskeegee Syphillis studies or the use of Henrietta Lacks cells for medical use. In medical settings, Black folks are often misdiagnosed and unheard. Black women attend medical appointments where their pain is perceived as bearable to the medical provider. So, some providers believe not only that Black folks can handle pain but that they should experience pain. This treatment has led to harm and death within the Black community and contributes to the distrust of medical professionals. The truth is this: it is traumatic that a Black person must assess their safety prior to seeking medical care.

The Impact of Trauma

Trauma impacts how we see ourselves, how we see others, and how we see the world. This impact on our perception impacts how we show up at work, how we communicate with ourselves, and how we speak to others. It also impacts our health, our relationships, and our nervous systems. In other words, trauma can unknowingly impact every aspect of our lives, thinking, feeling, and interactions. As a trauma survivor, you may experience increased hyper-vigilance, muscle tension, stomach irritation, and distrust in others. You may experience increased anger or frustration, lower sex drive, decreased or increased appetite, disconnection from spiritual practices, and more.

 Trauma therapy in Baltimore, MD helps you heal

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I hope that in reading this you feel seen, heard, and understood. Because, you are not alone and trauma therapy can help.Trauma disconnects the harmony in our mind, body, and spirit and trauma therapy can help you heal. Trauma therapy helps you gain self-compassion, understand your trauma responses, and learn tools for healing without judgement.

At Revitalizing Inner Self Essence, we use integrative and holistic techniques to help to reconnect and heal. These techniques include but are not limited to the use of EMDR and Mind-Body Medicine skills. As a Black, queer trauma therapist, holistic healing is very important. At RISE, the use of Mind-Body Medicine is one way we intentionally honor our ancestral healing practices.

While healing is hard, it is not impossible. Together, we can journey into healing using proven practices. If you’re reading this, then I know may be ready to get started. I am ready to start with you. Make the first step to get started with trauma therapy in Pikesville, MD.

  1. Contact me here with questions about counseling
  2. No questions and ready to get started with therapy? Schedule a consultation now.
  3. Start therapy to heal your heart and reconnect with yourself.

Other Trauma Therapy Services at Revitalizing Inner Self Essense

As a trauma therapist, I know that getting started with therapy can be overwhelming. But I want to assure you that as a Black queer therapist, I am dedicated to creating a safe and welcoming environment for you to process trauma and reconnect with yourself and your life. Also, I am dedicated to ensuring that therapy is liberatory and non-oppressive for Black folks. At my Baltimore-area practice, I specialize in helping survivors of domestic violence and homicide heal using EMDR and Mind-Body Medicine. If you have further questions about me or my practice, please contact me.