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  • Tammi Imel

Importance of Healing Trauma

Many women who go on to be high-achievers in their careers have suffered family of origin trauma, and may be repeating the trauma in love relationships and even friendships.

The Brain Remembers

Research results from orphans to identical twins demonstrate that trauma shapes the developing brain to survive in the environment in which it lives. If this environment is chaotic, abusive, or chronically stressful, the brain is shaped to function in these situations. This partially explains why, even though many women desire healthy romantic relationships, they are drawn to persons with whom they have been shaped to exist: emotional manipulators, substance abusing, inconsistent or narcissistic partners.

Often, women do not believe they have experienced trauma because they have no explicit memories of extremely traumatic events. When we are in stressful or traumatic situations, the verbal portion of our brain often goes offline and instead the trauma leaves imprints in the emotional parts of the brain, which are non-verbal.

Being raised in a home in which tensions were high, stressors were consistent and palpable, and parents/a parental figure was unreliable or struggled with substance abuse or mental illness also shape the brain to exist in a highly anxious state, that we refer to as hyper vigilant. Hyper vigilance leads to chronic anxiety and the tendency to find things to worry about chronically.

The Body Remembers

Chronic anxiety can trigger latent physical disease in the body. If you have genetic predisposition to develop an illness (physical or mental--and they are one in the same, we are learning), anxiety, chronic stress, and the amount of energy you expend trying to keep these symptoms in check lead to these illnesses manifesting. One of the best reasons to seek treatment now, is to stay healthy. Many persons who experience trauma and do not seek effective treatment develop autoimmune disease by midlife.

How Therapy Helps

A good trauma-informed therapist can help you to process and off-load trauma. Through therapy and learning new skills, you are better able to respond to stressors - old and new - in a more relaxed way. Advances in neuro imaging demonstrate that therapy actually changes the brain. Working with an experienced, trauma-informed therapist can help address thinking patterns, change your narrative, and improve quality of life.

All Good Things,


About the Author

Tammi Imel, MA, LMHC is trauma-informed therapist licensed in Indiana with over 20 years of experience in private practice. She works with women, ages 16 and older, to empower them through evidence-based therapies that are well-matched to their needs. She has special interests in working with women who have experienced family of origin trauma, women who have OCD, Bipolar Disorder, generalized anxiety and/or depression, and professional women seeking care. Interested in counseling? Email Tammi at

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