for Trauma 101




Note: This page is updated regularly!  Come back soon for more or send me an email if you see something missing!

Fast Facts: 

What is Trauma? | Long-term Effects | Why So Trendy? | Symptoms of Trauma in Business

More Resources:

Offerings | BooksPodcasts | Articles | TEDtalks

Emily Ann Peterson - photo by Rah Foard (2 of 69)

Trauma has enormous ripple effect on the world.

Every year tens of thousands of new, peer-reviewed, research studies are published in this field—this means there is a lot of interest, funding, and NEED in society. Although much is known about trauma, much more is left for us learn about it.

On this page, you’ll find the Trauma 101 resources that I most frequently reference with my clients or press interviews.

Everything on this page is freely available for anti-rape culture and trauma-sensitive reasons; I don't require an email address in exchange for "freebies." Of course, you're welcome to consensually join our non-spammy newsletter here. :-)

There's so much more where this came from! If you ever want to schedule a coffee or networking chat, I'd absolutely be down for that. 

~ Emily Ann Peterson

2019 Black EAP Logo

PS - Feel free to share this page with whomever you'd like or connect with me on LinkedIn!

What is trauma, really?

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"Trauma is an overwhelming demand placed on the physiological human system." ~ Dr. Robert Macy

Trauma is an automatic, biological process that is environmentally reactive & adaptive. One person's experience or reaction to stress will not be the same as another person's, even if they went through the exact same experiences.

Trauma is more about our body's response to stress than anything to do with a particular event or series of events. The existence of long-term effects of trauma is proof that we possess a powerful mind-body connection, especially resulting from those situations that ask too much of our unique capacities.  

"Our body-mind connection is an elegant system that helps us survive." ~ Dr. Robert Rhoton, Arizona Trauma Institute

Short-term distress is an almost universal experience after a traumatic event (or even a perceived threat!) and many folks return to their previous levels of functioning. But for those of us with prolonged exposure to trauma, our ability to "bounce back" may be more challenging—not to mention those previous levels of functioning vary from person to person.

The Long-Term Effects of Trauma

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Oof. The list is long. Specific to entrepreneurship or career management, trauma makes life extra difficult and/or costly. 

The ACEs Study* found that trauma increases a person's risk of exposure to the following:

  • injury (fractures, burns, brain injury)
  • mental health complications (depression, anxiety, suicide)
  • maternal complications (fetal death, unintended pregnancy)
  • infectious diseases (HIV, STIs)
  • chronic & terminal disease (cancer, diabetes)
  • risky behavior (substance abuse, addiction, unsafe sex)

The ACEs Study* also confirmed that trauma decreases a person's opportunities for:

  • education
  • income
  • career growth

The CDC reports that trauma creates a financial toll of $4.2 trillion, every year. This number includes medical bills, cost of opportunities lost, and lowered value in quality of life—not only is that a lot of money lost for entrepreneurial trauma survivors, but that's an enormous economic opportunity loss for the small business community.

*a huge cornerstone medical study on Adverse Childhood Experiences is often referred to as The ACEs Study. 

Symptoms of Trauma (in Entrepreneurs & The Workplace)

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The prolonged exposure to trauma can create long-term, often permanent, neuro-chemical effects in a person’s mind-body connection. 

The high demands of the entrepreneurial lifestyle and cognitive requirements of running a business can put a trauma survivor on the brink of crisis mode 24/7. For anyone who needs 100% of their decision-making skills, the following incomplete list of trauma symptoms can have a tragic (but not hopeless!) ripple effect.

Here’s how trauma symptoms might look from day-to-day:

Poor Decision-Making

  • forgetful, poor memory, dropping the ball 
  • lowered capacity to focus
  • frequent day-dreaming & off in "la-la land"
  • failure to perform reality checks
  • reduced logic & reasoning

Poor Time Management

  • procrastination
  • doing the right thing at the wrong time
  • feeling all discombobulated

Reduced Motivation

  • emotionally reactive & sensitive
  • agitation, hostile, controlling with co-workers
  • mood swings
  • feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

Self-Sabotaging Behavior

  • increased anxiety or anger
  • social isolation
  • decreased sleep 
  • increased sugar & carb cravings

Why is Trauma So "Trendy" These Days?

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My admittedly very biased answer to this question is one word: CAPITALISM.

Much of the news, media, and other modern consumption is fueled, in-part, through our interest in trauma. Even this 2022 New York Times *opinion* piece titled, If Everything is 'Trauma,' Is Anything? wouldn't exist if trauma wasn't so pervasive, costly, painful, and common. (Talk about click bait, huh?!)

The CDC reports a financial toll of $4.2 trillion, every year. Way back in the mid-1990's, the CDC & Kaiser Permanente (hint: government AND big pharma) did a huge cornerstone study on Adverse Childhood Experiences, aka The ACEs Study. 

Trauma is more than trendy, it is an epidemic.

If you don't cope with it's long-term effects, you know someone who does:

Favs from the Pod

Our podcast, Bare Naked Bravery, featured some truly wonderful people over the years. I've collected some of the episodes which I think mental health helpers and healers like you might *particularly* enjoy. ;-)

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More Online Resources

on the Basics of Trauma

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under construction! come back soon for more or send me an email if you see something missing!


Adverse Religious Experiences (AREs)

The Effects of Religion on Depression and Suicide Rates in the United States by Enomoto, C. E., Djaba, T., & Noor, S. A. in the  Journal of Philosophy, Culture and Religion, Vol. 23, 2016

Christian religious functioning and trauma outcomes article by Harris, J. I., Erbes, C. R., Engdahl, B. E., Olson, R. H. A., Winskowski, A. M., & McMahill, J. in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64(1), 17–29, 2008

Suzanne van Geuns (2019) Reading, feeling, believing: online testimonies and the making of Evangelical emotion, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 34:1, 97-115, "Online written testimony relies on compelling storytelling to move readers, making them practice what it feels like to hand over part of one’s own story to God."

Deconstructing Evangelicalism: A Letter to a Friend and a Professor's Guide to Escaping Religious Fundamentalism book by Hübner, J. A. Hills Publishing Group, 2020

From Autonomy to Divinity: The Cultural Socialization of Moral Reasoning in an Evangelical Christian Community, journal article byDiBianca Fasoli, A. (2018), Child Dev, 89: 1657-1673.

Johnson, J. (2010). The Citizen-Soldier: Masculinity, War, and Sacrifice at an Emerging Church in Seattle, Washington. Political and Legal Anthropology Review, Vol.33 (2): 326-351.

Johnson, J. Megachurches, Celebrity Pastors, and the Evangelical Industrial Complex in Religion and Popular Culture in America, 3rd Ed,, eds. Bruce Forbes and Jeffrey Mahan (University of California Press, March 2017).

Anxiety and Avoidance in Adults and Childhood Trauma Are Associated with Negative Religious Coping article by Kosarkova, A., Malinakova, K., van Dijk, J. P., & Tavel, P. from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(14), 5147, 2020

Why Worry about Evolution? Boundaries, Practices, and Moral Salience in Sunni and Evangelical High Schools journal article by Jeffrey Guhin in Sociological Theory, vol. 34, no. 2, 2016, pp. 151–174

Caste-Sensitive Church Planting: Revisiting the Homogeneous Unit Principle journal article by Mark Pickett in Transformation, vol. 32, no. 3, 2015, pp. 177–187

Diversity, Donations, and Disadvantage: The Implications of Personal Fundraising for Racial Diversity in Evangelical Outreach Ministries journal article by Samuel L. Perry in Review of Religious Research, vol. 53, no. 4, 2012, pp. 397–418

De-Doxifying Miriam chapter by Alice Bach in A Wise and Discerning Mind: Essays in Honor of Burke O. Long, 2020, pp. 1–10

The Politicization of Family Life: How Headship Became Essential to Evangelical Identity in the Late Twentieth Century journal article by Anneke Stasson in Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation, vol. 24, no. 1, 2014, pp. 100–138

Love of Neighbor in the Face of Religious Trauma chapter by Firestone, R. from the book The Future of Interfaith Dialogue: Muslim-Christian Encounters Through A Common Word, 2018

Religious and Spiritual Factors and the Consequences of Trauma: A Review and Model of the Interrelationship article by Schaefer, F. C., Blazer, D. G., & Koenig, H. G. from The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 38(4), 507–524, 2008

Influence of a Conservative Religious Upbringing on the Content of Psychosis paper by Ella Chrelashvili, La Salle University

Toxic Theology as a Contributing Factor in Complicated Mourning by Terri Daniel, DMin, in the Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling: Advancing Theory and Professional Practice through Scholarly and Reflective Publications, 73(4), 196–204, 2019

Elisha, O. (2008). Faith beyond Belief: Evangelical Protestant Conceptions of Faith and the Resonance of Anti-humanism. Social Analysis, 52(1), 56–78. 

Wilcox, C. (2003). Laying Up Treasures in Washington and in Heaven: The Christian Right and Evangelical Politics in the Twentieth Century and Beyond. OAH Magazine of History, 17(2), 23–29.

The Art of Hearing God: Absorption, Dissociation, and Contemporary American Spirituality by T. M. Luhrmann in Spiritus 5: 133–157, 2005 by The Johns Hopkins University Press

de Witte, M., de Koning, M., & Sunier, T. (2015). Aesthetics of Religious Authority: Introduction. Culture and Religion, 1–8, 2015

Sexual Abuse in Religion

Clergy Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. Exploring Contextual Factors journal article by Demasure, K. in Catholic Approaches in Practical Theology. International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, CCLXXXVI, 153–166, 2016

Sexual Violence at Christian and Secular Universities: Does Institutional Type Matter? journal article by Foubert, J. D., Durham, A., Houston, M., & Vanderwoerd, J. in Christian Higher Education, 1–14, 2020

Sexual Violence on Religious Campuses journal article by Vanderwoerd, J. R., & Cheng, A. in the Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 47(2), 1–21, 2017

Adults Recovering from Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Salutogenic Approach thesis by Cunnington C. at the University of Sheffield, 2020

Work, Vocation, Employment

Exploring the Communication of Evangelical Families: The Association Between Evangelical Gender Role Ideology and Family Communication Patterns, journal article by Colleen Warner Colaner (2009), Communication Studies, 60:2, 97-113

Should Women Return Home? The Interactive Effects of Sexism and Economic Confidence, journal article byLi, Q., Huang, D., & Cui, M. (2012), Social Behavior and Personality, 40(3), 527-528. 

The Baby Blanket or the Briefcase: The Impact of Evangelical Gender Role Ideologies on Career and Mothering Aspirations of Female Evangelical College Students, journal article by Colaner, C. W., & Giles, S. M. (2008), Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 58(7-8), 526-534. 

‘I Want There to be no Glass Ceiling:’ Evangelicals’ Engagements with Class, Education, and Urban Childhoods. journal article by Strhan, A. (2017), Sociological Research Online, 22(1), 146–160. 

Sexism, Vocational Goals, and Motivation as Predictors of Men's and Women's Career Choice, journal article by Lameiras Fernandez, M., Rodriguez Castro, Y., Calado Otero, M., Foltz, M. L., & Gonzalez Lorenzo, M. (2006), Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 55(3-4), 267-272. 

The category of the culture of work as vocation: The proposal of the Evangelical Church in Germany for the current upheavals in the world of work, journal article by Kopiec, P. (2021) in HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 2.

Spirituality and well‐being: ‘New Age’ and ‘evangelical’ spiritual expressions among young people and their implications for well‐being journal article by Jacqueline Hodder (2009) in International Journal of Children's Spirituality, 14:3, 197-212

Social Capital, Race, and Personal Fundraising in Evangelical Outreach Ministries, journal article by Perry, S.L. (2013) in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 52: 159-178. 

Evangelicalism + Business + Marketing

A Culture of Entitlement: Cult Indoctrination Tactics and Consent Violations in American Christianity thesis by Wilson, C. Chicago Theological Seminary, 2021

Selling Soap and Salvation’: Billy Graham’s Consumer Rhetoric in Germany and the United States in the 1950s journal article by by Uta Balbier in American Studies, vol. 59, no. 2, 2014, pp. 137–152

The Influence of Religiosity on Consumer Ethical Judgments and Responses Toward Sexual Appeals journal article by Sanjay Putrevu and Krist Swimberghek in Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 115, no. 2, 2013, pp. 351–365

Ritual Abuse and Mind Control book by Orit Badouk Epstein, Joseph Schwartz, and Rachel Wingfield Schwartz in book titled Ritual Abuse and Mind Control, 155–168, 2011

Consumer Responses to Christian Religious Symbols in Advertising journal article by Valerie A. Taylor, et al. in the Journal of Advertising, vol. 39, no. 2, 2010, pp. 79–92

Leary, R. B., Minton, E. A., & Mittelstaedt, J. D. Thou Shall Not? The Influence of Religion on Beliefs of Stewardship and Dominion, Sustainable Behaviors, and Marketing Systems. Journal of Macromarketing, 36(4), 457–470, 2016 "Stewardship beliefs in turn positively influence one’s tendency to engage in sustainable behavior, while dominion does not."

More Titillated Than Thou: How the Amish Conquered the Evangelical Romance Market journal article by Ann Neumann in The Baffler, no. 28, 2015, pp. 148–157

She Works Hard(Er) for the Money: Gender, Fundraising, and Employment in Evangelical Parachurch Organizations journal article by Samuel L. Perry in Sociology of Religion, vol. 74, no. 3, 2013, pp. 392–415.

Kreft J., Boguszewicz-Kreft (2021). Experience Marketing in the Service of the “Secular Religion” of Big Tech, 37th IBIMA Conference, 1-2 April 2021 Cordoba, ISBN: 978-0- 9998551-6-4, p. 10598 – 10605.

Minton, E. A. (2015). In Advertising We Trust: Religiosity's Influence on Marketplace and Relational Trust. Journal of Advertising, 44(4), 403–414. "Most religious consumers are more trusting of advertising than nonreligious consumers are. Advertisers need to seek a balance between targeting religious because of a heightened sense of trust yet not taking advantage of these more trusting consumers. In addition to advertising ethics, this research provides insight to advertisers in integrating belief cues into advertisements. Thus, advertisers need to understand the religious composition of their target market and be aware of the differential influence of belief cues on product evaluations for religious versus nonreligious consumers. Advertisers desiring to offer brand extensions to niche religious markets may be able to do so through use of subtle belief cues, which will likely not detract from a neutral religious stance of a brand as a whole."

Narnia as a Site of National Struggle: Marketing, Christianity, and National Purpose in ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ journal article by James Russell Cinema Journal, vol. 48, no. 4, 2009, pp. 59–76

Christianity Today’, J. Howard Pew, and the Business of Conservative Evangelicalism journal article bby Darren E. Grem Enterprise & Society, vol. 15, no. 2, 2014, pp. 337–379

How to Win Friends and Convert People: Onnie Jay Holy and the Sales Culture of American Evangelicalism journal article by Michael D. Odom in Flannery O’Connor Review, vol. 11, 2013, pp. 123–135

Why Evangelicals Like Wal-Mart: Education, Region, and Religious Group Identity journal article by Rebekah Peeples Massengill in Sociology of Religion, vol. 72, no. 1, 2011, pp. 50–77

Bigger, Better, Louder: The Prosperity Gospel’s Impact on Contemporary Christian Worship journal article by Kate Bowler and Reagan Wen in Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation, vol. 24, no. 2, 2014, pp. 186–230.

The Influence of Christian Religiosity on Managerial Decisions Concerning the Environment journal article by Cui, Jinhua, et al. in the Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 132, no. 1, 2015, pp. 203–231.

Branding as a Response to the ‘Existential Crisis’ of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland book chapter by Katja Valaskivi

Leary, R. B., Minton, E. A., & Mittelstaedt, J. D. Thou Shall Not? The Influence of Religion on Beliefs of Stewardship and Dominion, Sustainable Behaviors, and Marketing Systems. Journal of Macromarketing, 36(4), 457–470, 2016

Saffer, A. (2021). Promoting the Faith: Examining Megachurches' Audience-Centric Advertising Strategies on Social Media. Journal of Advertising. "Advertisers looking to increase online engagement should focus their efforts on persuasive messages that include the object-audience engagement strategy."

McAlexander, J. H., Dufault, B. L., Martin, D. M., & Schouten, J. W. (2014). The Marketization of Religion: Field, Capital, and Consumer Identity. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(3), 858–875. "Consumers face severe crises of identity and the need to rebuild their self-understandings in an unfamiliar marketplace of identity resources. Unable to remain comfortably in the field of their primary socialization, they are nevertheless bound to it by investments in field specific capital. In negotiating this dilemma, they demonstrate the inseparability and co-constitutive nature of ideology and consumption."

McKinnon, A. M. (2013). Ideology and the Market Metaphor in Rational Choice Theory of Religion: A Rhetorical Critique of ‘Religious Economies.’ Critical Sociology, 39(4), 529–543. 

Martin, P. P., Bowles, T. A., Adkins, L. T., & Leach, M. T. (2011). Black Mega-Churches in the Internet Age: Exploring Theological Teachings and Social Outreach Efforts. Journal of African American Studies, 15(2), 155–176. 

Burroughs, B., & Feller, G. (2015). Religious Memetics: Institutional Authority in Digital/Lived Religion. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 39(4), 357–377. 

Wade, M. (2015). Seeker-friendly: The Hillsong megachurch as an enchanting total institution. Journal of Sociology, 52(4), 661–676, 2016 

The Light of the World: Mediating Divine Presence through Light and Sound in a Contemporary Megachurch by Rakow, K. in The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief, 16(1), 1–24, 2020 "...despite the capaciousness of the space an atmosphere of intimacy is created through a specific lighting scheme that departs from traditional church lighting practices."

Ben Amor, N. E. H., Amor, N. E. H. B., Ghachem, M. S., Garrouch, K., & Mzoughi, M. N. (2014). Female Bareness in Print Advertisements: Do Religiosity and Gender Matter? International Journal of Marketing Studies, 6(3), 2014

Ruhr, M., & Daniels, J. P. (2012). Subsidizing Religious Participation Through Groups: A Model of the “Megachurch” Strategy for Growth. Review of Religious Research, 53(4), 471–491

Tourish, D. (2005). Charismatic Leadership and Corporate Cultism at Enron: The Elimination of Dissent, the Promotion of Conformity and Organizational Collapse. Leadership, 1(4), 455–480

Tourish, D., & Pinnington, A. (2002). Transformational Leadership, Corporate Cultism and the Spirituality Paradigm: An Unholy Trinity in the Workplace? Human Relations, 55(2), 147–172. 

Tourish, D., Collinson, D., & Barker, J. R. (2009). Manufacturing Conformity: Leadership Through Coercive Persuasion in Business Organisations. M@n@Gement, 12(5), 360. 

TEDtalks on Trauma

Nadine Burke Harris: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

from—"Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.

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Lisa Godwin: How teachers can help students navigate trauma

from—"To make a difference in the life of a child ... I made the commitment to tell my personal story," says educator Lisa Godwin. In this moving talk, she shares her experience of overcoming childhood trauma with the quiet, unwavering support of a teacher and school counselor -- and shows how educators can help students and families navigate hardships by sharing their own stories.

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Almudena Toral: Documentary films that explore trauma -- and make space for healing

from—Through documentary films following survivors of trauma, TED Fellow Almudena Toral makes invisible psychological scars seen. She shares the heartbreaking story of Adayanci Pérez, a six-year-old girl from Guatemala suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to her encounter with US immigration enforcement. A powerful call to give voice to those who are silenced -- and pressure governments to change their course of action.

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T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison: The trauma of systematic racism is killing Black women. A first step toward change...

from—The founders of the health nonprofit GirlTrek, are on a mission to reduce the leading causes of preventable death among Black women -- and build communities in the process. How? By getting one million women and girls to prioritize their self-care, lacing up their shoes and walking in the direction of their healthiest, most fulfilled lives.

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Melissa Walker: Art can heal PTSD's invisible wounds

from—Trauma silences its victims, says creative arts therapist Melissa Walker, but art can help those suffering from the psychological wounds of war begin to open up and heal. In this inspiring talk, Walker describes how mask-making, in particular, allows afflicted servicemen and women reveal what haunts them -- and, finally, start to let it go.

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Joelle Rabow Maletis: The psychology of post-traumatic stress disorder

from—Many of us will experience some kind of trauma during our lifetime. Sometimes, we escape with no long-term effects. But for millions of people, those experiences linger, causing symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and negative thoughts that interfere with everyday life. Joelle Rabow Maletis details the science behind post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

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Amy Milton: Can we edit memories?

from—Trauma and PTSD rewire your brain -- especially your memory -- and can unearth destructive emotional responses when stirred. Could we eliminate these triggers without erasing the memories themselves? Enter neurologist Amy Milton's mind-blowing, memory-editing clinical research poised to defuse the damaging effects of painful remembered experiences and offer a potential path toward better mental health.