Trauma, what is it?

Let`s talk about trauma. 

Many people that I speak to talk about the trauma, the trauma of what they experienced, the trauma of what they went through but in fact, the definition of trauma is: The emotional, psychological, and physiological residue left over from heightened stress that accompanies experiences of threat, violence, and life-altering events.  


When I work with my clients there is always a presenting problem. This presenting problem is the reason they decide to work with me in the first place. The trauma (what they feel, after the event) is what causes the problem.  


It is important that I understand the problem, how it affects them, how it affects their life, and how and for what purpose was the problem constructed in the first place.  

You may ask “How do you construct a problem, why would you do that?” 

With every problem that a client brings there is always a reason that the problem is a problem in their life.  


There is always a root cause for a person acting or being a certain way. This is the importance of what I do. I get to the root cause of the problem and eliminate that.  

The root cause in most cases with the people I work with is an event from their past. This is where the behaviour, emotions, and actions stem from, and this is the presenting problem.  

It is not always immediately evident what the root cause is and sometimes it can take time to uncover where a problem comes from.  


This is the reason I love NLP the power of language, words, reframing, and understanding how a person is thinking and why they think the way they do. Understanding their model of the world. Diving into the language they use and where it comes from (sometimes the words we use are not our own). Unpacking their programming, conditioning, and experiences that bring them to where they are right now with the presenting problem.  


Here are some real examples of presenting problems and the root cause events that have belonged to people I have worked with.  


Presenting Problem, the reason the client came to see me in the first place: Can`t trust, finds it hard to have normal healthy relationships, low self-worth, not good enough, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, loss, not worthy, not valuable, can`t speak up, feel like I am suffocating, can`t function in relationships, afraid of intimacy. 

Root Cause: Childhood sexual abuse (Incest) 


Presenting Problem: Unable to speak up, believes what she/he wants to say is not important. Not good enough, not worthy.  

Root Cause: Being told as a child to shut up, be quiet, go to your room, be seen and not heard. 


Presenting Problem: Feels not worthy, not good enough, not enough, can`t trust, insecure, anxious. Attracts the same kind of partners. 

Root Cause: Being cheated on multiple times in a relationship.  


Presenting problem: Cheating in relationships, looking for outside validation, Lying. 

Root Cause: Witnessing infidelity from a parent and seeing them get away with it.  


Presenting Problem: Can`t make friends, can`t trust if people are being genuine, questioning people’s motives, losing and pushing people away. 

Root Cause: Being bullied. Childhood and as an adult.  


Presenting Problem: Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, can’t trust, not good enough, not worthy, unlovable, not enough, shut down, can`t speak up.   

Root Cause: Childhood home with domestic violence which leads to a DV relationship as an adult.   


Presenting Problem: Closes down in relationships, trust issues, can`t speak up, people pleaser, can`t say no. 

Root Cause: Sexual Abuse/ Emotional Abuse. 


Presenting Problem: Anxiety, depression, hopelessness, no goals, giving up, exhaustion, isolation, overwhelming grief.  

Root Cause: Loss of loved one. 


Presenting Problem: PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Suicidal thoughts, Hopelessness, Stuck, insomnia.   

Root Cause: Job/ First responder.  


Presenting problem: No confidence, not good enough, not worthy, Body Dysmorphia, constant comparing, always felt less than others, feels like they are in competition with everyone, always looking for outside validation.   

Root Cause: Told as a child that a sibling was prettier and smarter, always compared by everyone.  


Presenting Problem: Addictions, not good enough, unloved, unlovable. 

Root Cause: Generational Emotional Abuse. (Abuse that has continued through the family generations). 


Presenting Problem: Addiction 

Root Cause: Generational Addiction.  


Presenting Problem: Anxiety, Suicidal thoughts, PTSD, Anger. 

Root Cause: Armed Robbery/ gun pointed at head.  


All these events (root causes) could easily have intertwined presenting problems.  

It’s also important that I say here that if I find that someone`s presenting problem is of a clinical nature I will make sure that they see the appropriate specialist for their presenting problem.  


I spoke earlier about NLP I use this to understand all that is going on for my client. Once I have all the relevant information I then use Time Line Therapy to eliminate the emotions and the attachment to the root cause and other past events connected to the presenting problem. 


When you have life-changing events (root causes of the problem) there will also be negative emotions attached.  

Anger, Sadness, Fear, Hurt, and Guilt. These are the big 5 the ones that do the damage. The ones that hold you back from being the best version of yourself. The ones that keep you stuck in all those negative states and beliefs. Underneath the big 5 may also be Shame, embarrassment, disappointment, abandonment, and unworthy just to name a few.  


This is why you feel that you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. It`s my job to lift the weight and free you from the burden of what it is that weighs you down. 

If you feel you need my help reach out via the link below

Carol Johnston-Mollica – Founder & Trainer of Mindset Mastery NLP