• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

The Human Behind the Trauma

Updated: Jul 5


It’s no secret that I’ve had my own fair share of trauma (working on my memoir has shown me just how much), and for over twenty-five years, I’ve dedicated my life to working with trauma survivors.


Part of my job is understanding, and teaching others to understand, what it means to be trauma informed.


Honestly, I think the term is sometimes thrown around without the weight it deserves.


Being trauma informed is about more than having sensitivity, and more than recognizing that trauma has occurred (though those two things are extremely important)


Being trauma informed is kind of like having x-ray vision that allows us to see the human behind the trauma.


I think these three quotes from “The Wisdom of Trauma” paint a pretty good picture of what I’m talking about:


“Underneath that traumatized person, there’s a healthy individual who has never found expression in his life.”


~ Dr. Gabor Mate


“Underneath that traumatized person, there’s a healthy individual who has never found expression in his life.”

Our job, as violence prevention educators, is to see that healthy individual, and understand what they need to heal and keep them safe. In other words, to “find their natural.”


“We as caretakers need to see the human in front of us. Not the problem.”


~ (Anonymous)


“We as caretakers need to see the human in front of us. Not the problem.”

As much as we might want to, there’s no denying that some students, as much as we may love them, are particularly…. challenging.


It’s okay to be frustrated and upset. Even annoyed.



But it’s our job to make sure that when we look at that person, we see past that challenge and through to the human who needs help.


If we’re not able to give them what they need, we can help them find somebody who is.



“When we start the journey of being compassionate of ourselves, not only does it change ourselves, it changes our communities and our society.”


~ Fritzi Horstman


“When we start the journey of being compassionate of ourselves, not only does it change ourselves, it changes our communities and our society.”

We need to treat ourselves with the same compassion we give the people we’re working with. We need to see past our own traumas and through to the human beings we are.


It’s like that oxygen mask cliche…. We have to help ourselves before we help others.


Changing our communities and societies starts with taking care of ourselves. (Maybe this is what Audre Lorde meant when she said caring for ourselves is an act of political warfare?)

37 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All