The National Institute of Mental Health defines childhood trauma as, “The experience of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressful, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects.” Unless you start the healing process, these mental and physical effects can take a toll on you as you grow into adulthood.
Why is childhood trauma different?
Childhood trauma occurs when a child feels intensely threatened by an event. Whether they are involved themselves or they merely witness it, this event has the potential to impact them for the rest of their lives. Children also process these situations differently than adults because they lack emotional maturity when they occur. Thus, the way it impacts their lives as they age can be more profound.
There are a number of events that can be considered childhood traumas. These include:
- Community violence
- Complex trauma
- Natural disasters
- Early childhood trauma
- Medical trauma
- Physical abuse
- Refugee trauma
- Sexual abuse
- Terrorism and violence
- Traumatic grief
- Adverse childhood experiences
How to heal childhood trauma in adults
There’s a misconception that childhood trauma means that you can’t live a full life. However, both children and adults impacted by childhood trauma can get help. If you’ve been affected at any point in your life by childhood trauma, seeking professional help can allow you to move your life forward in a positive way.
The depth of the trauma can often depend on factors like the length of the traumatic event, the severity of the traumatic event, and the availability of resources once the traumatic event has ended.
The pain that you feel from childhood trauma doesn’t have to continue. You can use your healing to reach out to others or to improve your own behavior. For instance, research suggests that child abuse is known to repeat itself from generation to generation. When children are subject to trauma in the form of violence or neglect from their parents or caregivers, they themselves are likely to repeat that with their own children.
Why merely survive your childhood trauma when you can thrive and come out on the other side with a purpose for the rest of your life?
Derek’s true-life trials and personal triumphs have inspired organizations worldwide with his message of unwavering resilience, hope, courage, perseverance, and redemption.
He endured brutal child abuse, rejection, and abandonment at the age of five before he was placed into the foster care system in the San Francisco Bay Area for 13 years. He knows first-hand how to cope with adversity and overcome hardship.
He now shares his story and insights with audiences around the country. His past has never held him back from accomplishing his goals. Through his engaging keynote speeches and experiential, research-based professional training, he shares strategies that can help great optimal outcomes for children who have experienced childhood trauma.
Consider reserving Derek for your next speaking engagement to make it the most inspiring one yet.