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How does trauma work?

When your brain perceives something as dangerous, your survival mode is activated.

This is where the logical part of your brain stops working, and your survival part of the brain kicks into action.

The prefrontal Cortex (Tex)
The logical thinker


Tex is responsible for your ability to plan and solve problems logically.

It determines good and bad, better and best, same and different, consequences of actions, prediction of outcomes.

When this part of the brain is working well, we have more control over our body.

But in survival mode, Tex stops functioning, as the amygdala takes over.

The Amygdala (Amy)
The alarm


Amy is like a meerkat, it is always active and on the lookout for danger.

When it senses danger, it takes over from Tex, so we can act before we think. These quicker reactions are essential for survival.

But Amy thinks it is better to be safe than sorry. This means it can remove Tex's ability to act calmly and use sound judgement, even if we are not in danger, to make sure we are definitely safe.

For example, Amy might think we see a tiger and quickly go into survival mode... just to realise it is a cat, then calms down again.

Amy isn't just triggered by the environment, it can be triggered by thoughts too. If school is a trigger for Amy, just thinking about school can cause it to take control.

When Amy is activated, it always responds as if we are in life threatening danger (even when we are perfectly safe).

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