The Different Post-Trauma Syndromes + Solutions for Healing

Content warning: this podcast talks about traumatic events like suicide. If you are feeling suicidal, contact the US national suicide prevention hotline and talk to someone today: 1-800-273-8255. The teen suicide prevention hotline in the US is: 1-800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336) between 6-10pm PST. You can also text TEEN to 839863 between 6-9pm PST. The UK national suicide hotline is: Samaritans Helpline 116 123. The Australian national suicide hotline is: 13 11 14. The South African national suicide hotline is: 0800 567 567. You can also text the number 31393. For other hotlines, see Wikipedia. You can also call your nearest hospital for more resources. For professional counseling, we recommend checking out: BetterHelp, ISEPP: TheAmen Clinics for brain scan consultations: . These are not crisis lines. If you are facing an emergency, we recommend contacting a medical professional immediately or dialing 911 (or the emergency number in your country).

In this podcast (episode #375) and blog, I talk to Dr. Paul Conti, a Stanford and Harvard-trained psychologist, about his incredible new book Trauma: The Invisible Epidemic: How Trauma Works and How We Can Heal From It, the importance of a bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach to mental health and trauma management, getting to the root of our traumas, how we can manage and change how trauma impacts us, and so much more!  

As Dr. Conti notes, trauma fogs the mirror and distorts the window. As a result, we can’t see ourselves for who we truly are, and cannot see the differences in other people as anything other than harmful to us, which can have a dramatic impact on our quality of life and health. 

Trauma is anything that overwhelms our ability to cope. It takes over the systems inside of us that keep a sense of self. It throws our inner orientation off balance, which can have dramatic repercussions in our lives. Not everything that is negative is a trauma; true trauma leaves us different, overwhelming our ability to cope and function in a healthy way—it sets us on a different path, changing our life narrative. 

Indeed, trauma causes real, physical changes in the brain that affect us on a deep level. Trauma essentially changes the instrument that we use to understand our trauma. 

It is important to understand the true nature of trauma, as this is the first step to dealing with its impact. As Dr. Conti notes, it’s only when we understand how a disease spreads and is sustained that we are able to create its ultimate cure.

Unfortunately, we live in a world of healthcare that tries to polish the “hood” while often failing to recognize what is going on underneath - how trauma affects us on a mental and physical level. We have, in many ways, lost the idea of trying to understand people and where they are coming from. We often just take an inventory of people’s symptoms and treat them, as opposed to getting to the root of what is happening on a biological, psychological, social and spiritual level. The extreme focus on the biological model of mental health reduces people to numbers, which takes what is happening to them out of context. 

Through his experiences, practice and research, Dr. Conti has found that getting to the root of the issue, identifying the trauma and exploring how it changes a person is a major step in healing. We have to acknowledge a person’s unique story and experiences if we truly want to help them learn how to manage their trauma. This empowers an individual to not only understand what is happening in their life, but also to take control over their life narratives and wellbeing. 

There is always hope. In his book, Dr. Conti traces a step-by-step series of concrete changes that we can make both as individuals and as a society to alleviate trauma’s effects and prevent further traumatization in the future, including the following:

1. Stopping and taking stock of what is going on inside of us. What narratives are we telling ourselves? When we are alone, what are we thinking about and telling ourselves? Are our internal narratives negative and oppressive? Where do these narratives come from? This helps us see ourselves through a lens of compassion. We need to remember that trauma often leads to shame. If we don’t become aware of these feelings, shame often ends up driving our narratives, making us think what has happened to us is our fault. This is why it is so important to become aware of the narratives that trauma creates inside of us and take control of them, and this starts with awareness. Trauma doesn’t have to be in the driving seat! 
2. Reaching out for help and speaking to people we trust.
3. If we are concerned about someone, reaching out and asking them if they want to talk. See if they want to talk about what is going inside them, especially if they have recently gone through something big and you have noticed that they have changed. 
4. Implementing more relaxation strategies, including better sleep.

For more on trauma and mental health, listen to my podcast with Dr. Paul Conti (episode #375), and check out his amazing book Trauma: The Invisible Epidemic: How Trauma Works and How We Can Heal From It. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).    

You can now also join me on Patreon for exclusive, ad-free content! Sign up for a membership level that suits you, and receive access to ad-free exclusive bonus podcasts. These episodes will include more targeted, step-by-step guides for specific mental health issues AND some fun, more personal podcasts about topics like my favorite skincare products and favorite books, as well as live Q&As, fan polls and requests, and exclusive digital downloads! 

This podcast is sponsored by:

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BetterHelp. One of my resolutions for 2022 is to treat myself like I would my best friend, and one way I am doing this is to spend more time doing the things that make bring me joy, such as walking my two puppies or reading novels in the bath. Therapy is another great way we take care of ourselves. Indeed, you don’t have to be in a crisis mode to benefit from therapy. Therapy can provide preventative and protective strategies, so that when things do get tough, you will know what to do—it is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. And this month, BetterHelp online therapy wants to remind you that you matter just as much as everyone else does, and therapy is a great way to make sure you show up for yourself! BetterHelp is online therapy that offers video, phone and even live chat sessions with your therapist, so you don’t have to see anyone on camera if you don’t want to. It’s much more affordable than in-person therapy and you can be matched with a therapist in under 48 hours. Visit, and join the over 1,000,000 people who have taken charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. In fact, so many people have been using BetterHELP that they are recruiting additional counselors in all 50 states! I am proud to say that this podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp, and Cleaning Up the Mental Mess listeners get 10% off their first month at 

Podcast Highlights  

2:22 What trauma is  

4:50 Why Dr. Paul Conti wrote his new book Trauma: The Invisible Epidemic

5:50, 10:05, 17:30, 27:00 The failures of modern healthcare 

7:00 Why it is so important to get to the root of the trauma 

10:50 Dr. Conti’s own experiences with trauma & why this made him change his career

32:00 The different types of trauma

38:00 How we can get to the root of our trauma & start healing 

40:00 How trauma changes our internal narratives  

43:45 Trauma & shame

46:00 The power of introspection 

This podcast and blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.         

Switch On Your Brain LLC. is providing this podcast as a public service. Reference to any specific viewpoint or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by our organization. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. If you have any questions about this disclaimer, please contact 

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