Dr. Shelley Uram on Different Trauma
One of America's most respected centers for treating trauma and addiction, The Meadows presents a 16-part video series, viewable on YouTube, in which Dr. Shelley Uram addresses topics ranging from family dysfunction to the benefits of Somatic Experiencing. In the installment titled "Different Trauma," the psychologist and Meadows senior fellow discusses the different types of trauma individuals can experience.
Dr. Uram first distinguishes overt trauma (which she refers to as "the big T") from covert trauma ("the little T"). While overt trauma results from large, perceivable events such as combat or natural disasters, the most extreme cases of trauma generally stem from subtler, or covert, situations that don't appear dangerous to the casual observer. To illustrate covert trauma, Dr. Uram speaks of a toddler whose mother becomes mildly depressed for a month or two. The child's survival instinct interprets his caretaker's depressed state as a significant threat to his well-being, and his developing brain locks this trauma into place. Because covert trauma forms an unconscious framework in the brain, trauma symptoms can emerge without the sufferer knowing why. Dr. Uram notes that this phenomenon makes treatment particularly challenging.