How Traumatic Experiences Affect Our Perception

Prepare detail 03

Purpose & Output

The purpose of this exercise is to help you recognise areas in which your perceptions are most accurate and areas in which you might be less clear-sighted due to traumatic experiences.

Input & Materials

It is helpful to take time over these questions and to write down your answers clearly so that you can come back to them over time and as you deepen your self-awareness. If you do this, take care to keep your notes in a private place, sharing your personal thoughts and questions only with people that you trust.

Format & Steps

Think back on any past traumatic experiences that may not be fully resolved. These will be experiences that you think about often and which still have the power to make you feel frightened, angry, guilty, ashamed, or sad. Don't go into the actual situation, but focus on what you did to help yourself, what you did to help others and what others did or might have done to help you.

Consider the following questions:

  • What kinds of dangerous situations are particularly emotionally loaded for you as a result of your past experiences?
  • When you find yourself in potentially dangerous environments, are there any situations that make you anxious or scared quite easily?
  • Is there someone you trust who could help you identify any unfounded fears you may have?
  • What kind of threats do you feel you fail to recognise easily?
  • How might you check whether you are failing to recognise some indicators of danger?
  • With whom do you feel comfortable discussing your fears and possible blind spots?

Remarks & Tips

As this exercise might prove to be emotionally challenging, communicate this clearly to your colleagues. It is important that nobody feel coerced into participating in this exercise, and if someone starts to become distressed, they should stop immediately. It might also be a good idea to relate it to other activities, which cover areas of psycho-social well-being.