The Splankna protocol is a model for trauma resolution. But trauma isn’t always dramatic. We often use the phrase, “trauma, lower case ‘t'”. We mean that there are moments of trauma that can deeply change the heart but look unimportant on the outside. Yes, the death of a loved one is a trauma, but so is the moment a first sibling is born and a child looses his position as center of the universe. So is the moment of offering a first kiss and getting a rejecting cheek. Trauma can be big or secret and seemingly small.
I remember when my first son was born. His blood sugar plummeted a few hours after birth and they took him to the neonatal ICU. I was devastated. They wouldn’t let me stay with him. I looked at him in his little clear box, plugged into ten wires with the bilirubin light over him and my heart broke to have to walk away and leave him there. The nurses, meaning to be helpful, said, “Oh honey, don’t worry. He won’t remember any of this.” I wanted to slit their throats. I knew they didn’t mean to, but they were invalidating this very real trauma.
As human beings we don’t need to consciously remember something in order for it to be impactful, traumatic. In fact, the pre-conscious traumas we experience (i.e. those before we would naturally remember) can be even MORE traumatic than later ones. When we’re working with clients and a particular memory comes up, we commonly ask, “At the time, how important was that to you on a 1-10 scale?” If it was a “9” at the time, then it’s a “9,” whether or not it would seem from the outside to be a “trauma.” I don’t make this point because I’m a bleeding heart looking to “poor baby” everybody. I make the point about trauma just to acknowledge that even small moments can be significant trajectory shifts in our lives.