“Laura, you have truly inspired me (in so many ways)! I am so much more comfortable in my body, I now can trust my intuition and honor my feelings- even at the gym, I can ground myself with so many useful tools you’ve given me and I really can say that I feel safer and more secure in my body. I actually feel present and what a gift that is! “ - Kristen K.

What is trauma?

Trauma is not an event or set of circumstances. For those of us who work with trauma, trauma is an unprocessed response to the event or circumstances. This unprocessed response resides in your nervous system which controls all of the systems in your body. 

That said, there are many things that we acknowledge as likely to be traumatic events such as natural disasters, assaults, rape, prolonged emotional neglect, abuse, car accidents, surgeries, injuries, loss of a loved one, and combat service. Even seemingly small events for one person may be traumatizing to another.

A trauma response is caused by anything your brain perceives as life threatening or completely overwhelming.

It is important to remember that each person and their circumstances are different. The circumstances before and after a potentially traumatizing event are factors in whether on not you will experience something potentially traumatizing as a trauma. This is why we aren’t all walking around in a traumatized state all of the time.

What are the symptoms of trauma?

There are many possible symptoms. They start from the brain and the nervous system and work their way down into the body in symptoms that can be seen as physiological AND emotional.

  1. Hyperarousal - anxiety, insomnia, jumpiness, avoidance behaviors, more easily overstimulated

  2. Hypoarousal - depressive behaviors, loss of interest in things previously life-affirming, guilt, loneliness

  3. Collapse - dissociation, fainting

  4. Chronic pain - All of the above are physiological and will affect posture, muscles, and fascia and therefore the kinetic chain

It is important to remember traumas big and small can have physiological ramifications. Sometimes these physiological ramifications lead to actual injury and chronic pain. Here is the upside though: there are many different ways to treat trauma. Combining treatments such as conventional talk therapy, with a somatic practice to work with physiological trauma symptoms from the body is a powerful combination.

What is trauma-informed personal training and how can it help?

Truly trauma-informed training takes into account what trauma does to the nervous and system and works within that lens. Trauma is not just another stressor - it is much more complex than that. A trauma-informed approach may pull from a variety of trauma treatment tools to help restore healthy nervous system function and to establish the conditions for processing trauma outside of the gym. 

Strength training is a movement practice that can be paired with somatic trauma treatment tools. In addition it can combat the impact of trauma on the physiology - correcting posture, increasing heart health, and restoring or cultivating proprioception and interoception. Smart, safe, and supportive strength training can:

  1. Restore a lost sense of resilience

  2. Reopen the window of tolerance for nervous system activation

  3. Combat the long term health implications of living with trauma

  4. Provide a community to an individual who may be feeling isolated

  5. Facilitate creating the conditions for healing

What is a trauma-informed personal training session like?

Do you want to learn more about what happens during a personal training session? Are you interested in working with Laura, but not based in New York City? Learn more about Laura’s training, consulting, and continuing education services.