What is the Elephant?

Psychological Trauma: Types and Symptoms | The Psychotherapist
In one word: TRAUMA

The elephant is the unconscious stress and trauma in your life. It gets heavier over time and usually is handed down from generation to generation. The term “trauma” is often misunderstood or used incorrectly. If someone says “that movie was traumatizing”, that’s misuse of the term trauma. The movie might have upset you, but you’ll likely forget it in 5 years from now and it likely won’t affect your daily living to a detrimental degree.
My personal catch phrase for explaining what trauma is, goes like this: “Pain is what happens to you, suffering is the story you attach to it.” We don’t need to suffer because of traumatic events that have occurred in our lives, but we need to understand it and ourselves better, challenge our beliefs around what occurred with compassion, love and understanding.

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Gabor Mate, British Columbia M.D, author and trauma specialist extraordinaire stated in his recently released documentary called The Wisdom of Trauma, explained that “trauma is not the bad things that happen to you, but what happens inside of you as a result of what happens to you.” Traumatic events are unique to the person experiencing them, they generally cause a significant physical, emotional, mental or spiritual harm, which often gets trapped in the body. Emotions are energy in motion. When e-motion is trapped in the body, it causes all kinds of dis-ease.


Western medicine has rejected the idea that the brain has any affect on the symptoms of the body, and we know now (various research papers, lectures, studies and statistics) to back up the idea that the mind is a crucial factor in our overall health. Scientifically it is called psychoneuroimmunology and it means how all the systems function together psychologically (thoughts), neurologically (brain function) and immunology (how it affects our immune systems). Many of the recommended reading books in the resources section of this site, speak more to the scientific evidence from various doctors and psychologists. So if you would like to research further for yourself, I always encourage that. We can only heal when we have a few perspectives on how to do so.

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So now that we know that, how do we change it? We by-pass the conscious mind with positive messaging given to the unconscious mind, while working with the conscious mind and physical body during that process. Somatic issues (physical symptoms) are 99% of the time, caused by our programming, whether we are aware of it or not.

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In the body if trauma is stored somewhere, it is because of the fact that our vagus nerve is overactive within the body and it needs to calm down (for more information please go to The Vagus Nerve page on this site to learn more.) Some of the easiest ways to start calming it down right now, consist of deep breathing techniques (inhale for 5 count, hold if you can for 3 count, exhale for 10 count) and meditation.
Meditation can be any such things, and it will vary from person to person. To offer a few suggestions, meditation is more about the state of the brain than the activity:

  • listening to healing music and frequencies
  • guided meditations or visualizations
  • being out in nature, fresh air and in the sunshine
  • creativity or artistry like coloring or painting
  • gardening and horticulture
  • exercising, qi gong, tai chi or yoga
  • dancing, singing, playing an instrument