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The repressed path within our own brain

I was introduced to the concept of trauma and repressed memory during middle school when one of my close friends got very sick.

At the time I didn’t understand the impact this relationship would have not only on me personally, but also in working with others as a therapist. Although I didn’t fully grasp the complexity of the situation, I witnessed how quickly our brains, in a continued attempt to protect us, can also become our biggest enemy. And with that, came a lot of questions and concerns.

Years later, I continued to attempt to understand the complexities of our brains - and why trauma can be such a significant part of how we interact with the world around us, even if we are not aware. It was the fall semester at the university I was attending in New York during my undergraduate studies. A firefighter who had responded to the aftermath of 9/11 about a decade prior was standing in front of our class. He proceeded to explain how it wasn’t until many years after this horrific incident that he had difficulty sleeping, increased anger, flashbacks and frequent dissociation. Again, my brain tried to comprehend; can our brains actually forget traumatic events?

We don’t choose trauma. We don’t choose to remember traumatic memories, or to relive them. Yet, often trauma will appear unexpectedly - that is, memories, sounds, smells, places and objects.

Sometimes our memory is repressed to the degree that we do not have any recollection of the traumatic episode at all. In all types of trauma, memory loss is most common in childhood sexual abuse. Our brains help us forget to be able to survive. Yet, it is still a part of what happened to us - and it can show up in various forms and interactions, even if we don’t remember.


Mari Kidd, LPC Associate

Mari is passionate about building connections with the individuals and families she serves. She enjoys working with children, teens and young adults, addressing anxiety, grief, trauma, parenting, depression, life transitions and interpersonal conflict. When working with your child, Mari will invite them to express themselves through play to process conflict, big emotions and for them to make sense of the abstract world we adults navigate. For older children, she will utilize various techniques to best meet your child’s needs. This modality consists of traditional “talk therapy”, as well as creative interventions and movement.


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