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Let’s Discuss: Highlights from Paul Conti’s Keynote

Dr. Paul Conti gave a revealing and informative keynote on trauma and how we can heal in our speaker series, Let’s Discuss: Shining a Spotlight on Mental Wellness. Here are a couple of takeaways:

Trauma as a virus

Paul Conti likened the mind’s relationship with trauma to a virus. It has symptoms that infect and alter our decision-making processes – especially in ways that hide trauma. This is why Paul stressed the need to bring it out in the open and discuss it with people who can provide a safe space to process and unpack it, potentially with a close friend, family member or mental health professional.

Trauma as a series of “hits.”

Paul went over varying forms and manifestations of trauma and how our genetics and experiences can determine our response to them. He also delved into the multiple-hit hypothesis. People can experience successive “hits” of trauma over the years and wear down their coping mechanisms – to where one day, a seemingly insignificant occurrence might cause them great distress. This is especially true for individuals who’ve experienced prejudice throughout their lives. In addition to unpacking this with others, it’s crucial as a society to be more cognoscente of how this can develop within people and communities.