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  • Writer's pictureJustin Tilghman, Ph.D.

Understanding Trauma and the Path to Healing

Updated: 2 days ago

A desert road

Over the next several posts, I want to help us with a better understanding of trauma and the path to healing. What I'm going to share are types of trauma, their effects, and tools for healing that come from the work of Dr. Jim Wilder (LifeModel Works), Dr. Marcus Warner (Deeper Walk International), and Chris Corusey (ThriveToday).


It's important to note that I am not a licensed mental health professional. The information provided in this series is based on research and practices from respected authors and practitioners in the field of trauma and emotional healing. It is intended for informational and educational purposes only. For personalized mental health advice and treatment, please consult a licensed mental health professional.

Overview of Session Objectives

In this series, we'll explore:

  • The types of trauma

  • The results of trauma

  • The importance of our identity in Christ related to trauma

  • How trauma impacts our joy and relationships

  • Practical tools for healing

Types of Trauma

Trauma A: Absence of Good Things

Trauma A refers to the absence of essential nurturing, safety, or love. This type of trauma is characterized by what wasn’t there rather than what happened. Examples include neglect, emotional unavailability, and lack of affirmation. These experiences can lead to feelings of unworthiness, abandonment issues, and relationship difficulties.

For instance, a young woman who doesn’t receive warm love from her father might distrust men or continuously seek out men to fill the void left by her father. These types of trauma can be harder to recognize because they aren't as obvious as physical or verbal abuse. However, the lack of necessary emotional nourishment has a significant impact on emotional and relational development. Healing often requires genuine, loving relationships—both human and divine, as God is ultimately the loving relationship we need.

Trauma B: Harmful or Abusive Events

Trauma B involves harmful or abusive events such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, or verbal abuse. These are the types of trauma most people are familiar with. They can have severe effects on the developing brain, sometimes causing it to develop automatic amnesia to block out the traumatic event. Despite this, the effects of the trauma are still present, impacting emotions and behavior long-term.

Recovering from these traumas often requires revisiting the painful events to begin the healing process. A general prayer might not suffice; it’s essential to deal with the specific wound, open the hurt, and ask for healing for the specific recovered memory.

Trauma of Comparison

This type of trauma arises from comparing oneself to others and feeling less than them. Examples include sibling rivalry, social media comparisons, and feeling overshadowed. This trauma can lead to feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, and resentment.

For example, a young woman whose sister is perceived as more attractive might feel she doesn’t measure up, leading to a void filled by negative behaviors. This can result in deeply ingrained lies about self-worth and identity.

Trauma of Perception

The Trauma of Perception is based on how events are perceived rather than the events themselves. Misinterpreting criticism as rejection or believing oneself to be unloved are common examples. This type of trauma distorts self-image, leading to self-doubt and depression.

Our emotions respond not to reality but to what we believe about reality. For instance, someone with an eating disorder may perceive themselves as fat despite being otherwise healthy, altering their behavior dangerously. Similarly, perceiving that God has wronged us can impact our relationship with Him, despite the truth that God loves us and works all things together for our good.


Understanding the types of trauma is the first step towards healing. Each type impacts us differently, but they all hinder our ability to live fully and joyfully. In the next posts, we will delve deeper into how trauma affects our brain, our identity, and practical tools for healing. Stay tuned for more insights and strategies to overcome trauma and embrace a joyful, fulfilling life.


Dr. Justin Tilghman is a board-certified master life and mental health coach and certified NeuroMindfuless® Practitioner who specializes in helping clients live purposeful, meaningful, fulfilling, and balanced lives that make the most of their God-given potential.



Justin is a Board Certified Advanced Life Coach with the Board of Christian Life Coaching, a division of the International Board of Christian Care and the American Association of Christian Counselors. He has demonstrated knowledge and application of biblical integration in coaching, the ICCA and ICF Core Competencies, the Code of Ethics, and the ICF definition of coaching.


Justin is a Board Certified Master Mental Health Coach with the Board of Mental Health Coaching, a division of the International Board of Christian Care and the American Association of Christian Counselors. He has demonstrated knowledge and application of biblical integration in providing ethical and competent mental health coaching.

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