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Book review of What happened to you? by Oprah

One of our more recent favourite books is 'What Happened to You? by Oprah Winfrey and Dr Bruce Perry.

In this book Oprah and Dr Perry talk about asking "What happened to you?" instead of 'What is wrong with you?"

Changing this single question helps us to realise that that there is nothing wrong with us as we navigate our healing journey from traumatic events that have 'happened to us'.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, childhood trauma is defined as: “The experience of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressful, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects.”

This book suggests a reframing of how we look at each other and how we look at childhood trauma. Trauma that happens in childhood doesn't stay in our childhood. The child grows to be an adult but now the adult is still the child trapped in the trauma.

There is now a wealth of information for those looking for an alternative view of their childhood trauma.

Like the sticky pollen you brush against as you walk amongst the plants and flowers our childhood experiences start to collect and stick to our life force, slowly becoming so heavy that its almost unbearable to carry.

The bag of shame, unhappy memories, anger, sadness lack of safety become a heavy burden to carry and so we become stiff and restricted in our movements in the physical world and internal world.

This might manifest itself in addiction, mental health disorders or impulsive decisions that cause us shame and reinforce the core belief that we are worthless.

If this all sounds familiar or painful to hear, then you are far from alone.

The truth is that for every 3 adults in the UK has reported at least one traumatic event, so for every 3 people you meet each day, potentially is carrying some form of trauma.

Trauma is not the actual event, it is how our body responds to the trauma.

Emotions are in our body, not in our minds and so we have a whole body response to trauma. We are not our minds alone, we have hearts, gut feelings and responses that we cannot always control.

Have you every smelt something and immediately be transported back to a past time, good or bad?

Everything we experience, points to "some healing required" yet we are are often blind, even the neon sign with a big finger goes silently unnoticed.

We may notice that as soon as we are over one illness another one pops up or we find ourselves in relationships that offer us no safety or compassion but yet for the lack of our own self-love we stay and compromise our authenticity.

Trauma is intrinsically alienating and constricting, often because of the shame that is associated with our personal stories. Instead of reaching out for help, we retreat.

Bruce Perry and Opera Winfrey share their personal stories and their passion for supporting everyone who has experienced trauma, opening the door for all of us to create our own healing journey with love, compassion, and always asking what happening to you and not whats wrong with you.

Book online here to speak to a counsellor, we aim to respond in 48 hours.


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