Over the past few years, I’ve been seeing the T word everywhere. On dating apps and in TikTok videos and in silly memes my friends send me on slow workdays. Trauma seems to be everywhere.  And generally, I’m grateful that our society is becoming more comfortable discussing the reality and lasting impacts of trauma on the brain and body. As a Social Worker (and a human on this earth), I’ve seen firsthand the profound disruption that trauma causes. I’ve witnessed the ways it can shake the very foundation of a person, feeling like an unshakeable weight as they walk through the world.  But while trauma has been embedding itself in the cultural zeitgeist, I wonder if we’ve forgotten one fundamental truth: trauma is not destiny. 

Please understand, I’m not saying trauma is something to be ignored or minimized, in fact, it’s vital to understand the severity of trauma and recognize the conscious and unconscious ways traumatic experiences can severely impact our lives. And while the aftermath of trauma can be profound and multifaceted, it’s just as important to remember that it doesn't define us. Whether you are someone who has experienced trauma or are a caregiver who has watched their child navigate trauma, those experiences don’t have the final say in how your or your child's life will unfold.  

Healing from trauma of any kind can be messy, nonlinear, and often filled with uncertainty. It can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to start. The good news is that humans have an innate capacity for resilience, we can adapt and thrive in the face of adversity. In fact, our brains have been doing this our whole lives! Our brains possess neuroplasticity, a process that allows the brain to rewire itself and form new neural connections. In other words, our brains can literally heal from trauma! Not only is trauma not destiny, in many cases, it’s not permanent.  

There are also everyday ways to begin recovering from trauma! Things like nature, social connection, yoga, and tapping can support in reducing anxiety and stress while teaching the body that you are safe. In addition to these everyday activities, there are multiple therapeutic modalities that focus on connecting the mind and body for lasting recovery from trauma. I encourage you to seek support from a qualified therapist who can walk alongside you in your recovery journey.  

Embarking on a journey of healing may not be an easy road, but it is a road lined with hope and possibility. The trauma you’ve experienced will always be a part of your life, but it’s not your destiny. In fact, that’s still up to you.


Cori Dunton (she/they) currently serves as a Community Collaborative Director at the YMCA, working to improve access to mental and behavioral health support for youth and families throughout San Diego County. Cori has spent the last decade walking alongside under-resourced and marginalized communities as they seek individual healing and fight for systemic change. On the weekends you can find Cori enjoying the sunshine and diving into a good book and veggie burrito!

About YMCA Mental & Behavioral Health Services

At the Y, we pride ourselves on our holistic approach to mental and behavioral health. With over 50 years of experience, we're deeply committed to addressing the mental health needs of our community, particularly among children and youth. Our approach is rooted in evidence-based practices, ensuring that our interventions are effective and relevant. We understand that mental health is diverse and personal, which is why we offer a wide range of specialized programs and therapeutic supports tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual and family. Our comprehensive services include counseling, parent and caregiver support, workplace wellness initiatives, and programs that promote positive youth development. Through these offerings, we aim to build protective factors, reduce stress, and promote well-being for all. Learn more at


Here are additional articles and resources written by our YMCA mental health team. 

ACTIVITY: Managing Our Emotions

Five Tips: Understanding Your Teen and Improving Your Relationship

Let's Talk about Compassion Fatigue

The Power of Positive Self-Affirmations

Raising Kids and Teens - a Manual-ish!

STRESS and the Therapeutic Value of Our Relationships

Trauma is Not Destiny