The Trauma Response is Never Wrong

June 12, 2023

We have been tricked to believe that the trauma response is a sign of weakness and disorder. What science shows us is that the trauma response is in fact a sign of strength and proof of an inherent human drive to survive. We need society to catch up with science, and fast. We are no longer living in an era where we can assume that trauma impacts a minority of the population. Trauma impacts us all. This has always been true, but we can no longer pretend otherwise.

Unbroken is a book about the miracle of the trauma response, the importance of acceptance and self-compassion, and the transformative healing potential that lies within us all. Drawing on my experience as a trauma researcher, coach, as well as my own personal journey of healing, this book offers a new perspective on trauma that emphasizes the wisdom of the body and the resilience of the human spirit.

If you’re struggling with the after-effects of trauma, Unbroken can help you understand your experience in a new light. You’ll learn how trauma impacts the brain, the body, and the spirit, and how you can use this knowledge to start your journey of healing. You’ll discover practical tools and strategies for managing trauma triggers, regulating your emotions, and cultivating self-compassion. Most importantly, you’ll learn that the trauma response is never wrong – it’s a natural and adaptive response to a difficult situation.

One of the most important lessons of Unbroken is that the trauma response is never wrong. This means that even if you’re struggling with symptoms like anxiety, depression, or dissociation, your body is doing exactly what it needs to do to protect you. By embracing this truth, you can start to shift from a place of shame and self-blame to a place of self-compassion and empowerment. The book is chock full of tools that will help you understand and appreciate your trauma response and how to intervene when that response is tripped off unnecessarily. I can’t wait for you to dig in and I can’t wait to hear how this book changes you. It certainly changed me.

MaryCatherine McDonald, PhD, is a research professor and life coach who specializes in the psychology and philosophy of trauma. She has been researching, lecturing, and publishing on the neuroscience, psychology, and lived experience of trauma since the beginning of her PhD in 2009. She’s published two academic books and many research papers, and she is the creator of a trauma-based curriculum designed to serve previously incarcerated folks and veterans

MaryCatherine McDonald

MaryCatherine McDonald, PhD, is a research professor and life coach who specializes in the psychology and philosophy of trauma. She has been researching, lecturing, and publishing on the neuroscience, psychology, and lived experience of trauma since completing her PhD in 2016. She’s published two academic books and many research papers, and is the creator of a trauma-based curriculum that serves previously incarcerated folks and veterans. She lives in Los Angeles. For more, alchemycoaching.life.

Author photo © Stephanie Mohan

Also By Author

The Trauma Response is Never Wrong

We have been tricked to believe that the trauma response is a sign of weakness and disorder. What science shows us is that the trauma response is in fact a sign of strength and proof of an inherent human drive to survive. We need society to catch up with science, and fast. We are no longer living in an era where we can assume that trauma impacts a minority of the population. Trauma impacts us all. This has always been true, but we can no longer pretend otherwise.

Unbroken is a book about the miracle of the trauma response, the importance of acceptance and self-compassion, and the transformative healing potential that lies within us all. Drawing on my experience as a trauma researcher, coach, as well as my own personal journey of healing, this book offers a new perspective on trauma that emphasizes the wisdom of the body and the resilience of the human spirit.

If you’re struggling with the after-effects of trauma, Unbroken can help you understand your experience in a new light. You’ll learn how trauma impacts the brain, the body, and the spirit, and how you can use this knowledge to start your journey of healing. You’ll discover practical tools and strategies for managing trauma triggers, regulating your emotions, and cultivating self-compassion. Most importantly, you’ll learn that the trauma response is never wrong – it’s a natural and adaptive response to a difficult situation.

One of the most important lessons of Unbroken is that the trauma response is never wrong. This means that even if you’re struggling with symptoms like anxiety, depression, or dissociation, your body is doing exactly what it needs to do to protect you. By embracing this truth, you can start to shift from a place of shame and self-blame to a place of self-compassion and empowerment. The book is chock full of tools that will help you understand and appreciate your trauma response and how to intervene when that response is tripped off unnecessarily. I can’t wait for you to dig in and I can’t wait to hear how this book changes you. It certainly changed me.

MaryCatherine McDonald, PhD, is a research professor and life coach who specializes in the psychology and philosophy of trauma. She has been researching, lecturing, and publishing on the neuroscience, psychology, and lived experience of trauma since the beginning of her PhD in 2009. She’s published two academic books and many research papers, and she is the creator of a trauma-based curriculum designed to serve previously incarcerated folks and veterans

Learn More
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Sounds True

MaryCatherine McDonald: The Trauma Response Is Never W...

For centuries, we’ve been taught that being traumatized means we are somehow broken—and that trauma only happens to people who are too fragile or flawed to deal with hardship. Instead, says Dr. MaryCatherine McDonald, the trauma response proves our spirit cannot be broken. In this podcast, Tami Simon and “MC” (as her students call her) discuss her new book, Unbroken: The Trauma Response Is Never Wrong—And Other Things You Need to Know to Take Back Your Life, and how we might as a society begin to update our understanding of trauma and its healing. 

Tune in for this inspiring conversation about the impact of trauma on the narratives that make up our identity; recalibrating the nervous system after trauma; memory and the hippocampus; relearning a sense of embodied safety; dealing with loss in our grief-phobic culture; trauma defined as “an unbearable emotional experience that lacks a relational home”; the unconscious nature of triggers, and how to raise awareness around them; the miracle of your adaptive brain and body; trust and community in the healing of trauma; reconciling life’s ultimate vulnerability; finding resilience and strength in these uncertain times; attunement, holding space, honesty, and other elements that provide a relational home; realizing an anchor in the “tiny little joys”; the healing power of… Tetris?; healthy regulation; and more.

You Might Also Enjoy

Ep 6: The H-Word

When it comes to the state of our world, the concept of hope can feel elusive. Joanna teaches Jess that the future may be uncertain, but that means that there’s still room for something beautiful to happen. This episode offers insights into embracing uncertainty, cultivating joyousness, and understanding the intricate interplay between hope, courage, and action.

In this episode:

  • “Active hope” is about acting in service of the future we hope for
  • Whenever Jess asks about hope, Joanna talks instead about courage 
  • When hope eludes us, courage and our devotion to life remain steadfast

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

Ep 5 Bonus: Breathing Through

This bonus episode will support you to take the main insights from Episode 4: There is No Future if We Go Numb and Episode 5: This Pain Is Not for Nothing, deeper into your life. 

Both of these episodes are about the second phase in the Spiral of the Work That Reconnects, Honoring Our Pain for the World. This bonus is a recording of Joanna leading a meditation called Breathing Through, recorded at a retreat in 2006. In it, she’ll guide you to create space to acknowledge and honor the pain for the world that you carry without numbing or getting overwhelmed. All you’ll need for this bonus exercise is a place where you can close your eyes and relax.  

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

 

Ep 5: This Pain Is Not for Nothing

Now we get to what may be the toughest part of reckoning with our planet’s situation: dealing with numbness, grief, and despair. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the many crises around us, and natural to want to numb ourselves to the pain. 

Joanna and Jess speak with great vulnerability and candor about what it takes to navigate our darkest feelings—and the strength and beauty that can be found when we honor our pain. 

Trigger Warning: In this episode, we discuss suicide.

In this episode:

  • When it feels like our pain could swallow us whole, it helps to remember that all feelings come and go
  • Desperation can take us to dark places, but we are more than our despair
  • Numbness—Jess opens up about her familiar tactic for escaping pain
  • Our pain becomes sacred when we allow it to deepen our connection with the world
  • Bonus Exercise: Breathing Through

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

>
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap