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From My Experience: Navigating Change and Making Sound Decisions Amidst Trauma


Personal Insights on Decision-Making in the Face of Trauma and Change


Reflecting on a thought-provoking analogy about two young fish unaware of the water around them, I was struck by the parallels to our own experiences with the environments we navigate. My journey has taught me that stepping back and gaining perspective on our surroundings can be challenging, especially when compounded by stress-induced trauma. This realization is acutely pronounced when considering the decision-making capabilities of young individuals under the pressures of houselessness, instability, and substance use—challenges I have observed closely in my work and personal experiences.


The Impact of Environment and Trauma:

My experiences have highlighted how deeply our environments and past traumas shape our beliefs, narratives, and ultimately, our actions. Trauma, in particular, can significantly disrupt the rational decision-making processes governed by our prefrontal cortex, pushing us into survival mode. This shift is not just theoretical; it's something I've witnessed firsthand, affecting individuals' ability to make sound decisions amidst chaos.


Overcoming Trauma's Grip on Decision-Making:

Facing the complex web of trauma, especially in individuals grappling with early adulthood, demands a multifaceted approach. My reflections and professional endeavors highlights the importance of:


1. Building Support Systems: The role of supportive networks cannot be overstated. Providing a stable foundation of mentors, counselors, and community resources has been crucial in guiding young people toward more considered decisions.


2. Implementing Skill-Building Programs: Engaging young adults in programs focused on emotional intelligence, resilience, and life skills has proven effective in arming them with the tools necessary for navigating their challenging environments.


3. Ensuring Access to Essential Services: Facilitating connections to healthcare, housing assistance, and addiction treatment has been a critical step in alleviating the survival pressures that cloud decision-making.


4. Promoting Reflective Practices: Encouraging individuals to engage in self-reflection has helped them recognize and gradually step back from the immediate pressures of their environments, enabling clearer, more forward-thinking decisions.



Drawing from my experiences, it's clear that the journey to sound decision-making in the face of trauma and adversity is complex. Yet, by creating environments that foster reflection, resilience, and support, we can help those affected navigate these challenges more effectively. The analogy of the young fish in water serves as a powerful reminder of our often-unnoticed surroundings and the impact they have on our lives. It underscores the importance of awareness, support, and education in overcoming the barriers to rational decision-making caused by trauma.


I encourage you to reflect on the environments that shape your decisions and consider how you can support young individuals facing similar challenges. Sharing experiences and strategies for navigating trauma and change can inspire and empower others. Let's foster a community of understanding, resilience, and growth, guiding each other toward healthier, more informed decision-making paths.


Let's start screening people in and not out.. let's educate and inspire hope!


Shannon- Forward Focus Consulting


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