“Big T” trauma and “little t” trauma are two phrases often used to describe different psychological/emotional trauma levels. Big T can result from either one specific experience or recurring sexual or physical abuse.

Little t, on the other end of the trauma spectrum, can result from a series of smaller yet still challenging events.

We can be traumatized by a single event like being involved in a bad accident or experiencing an act of violence such as assault or recurring abuse. That’s a Big T trauma — a big event or a series of significant repetitive events.

We can also be traumatized by a series of smaller, not-so-big things like being bullied (as a child or an adult), family conflict, infidelity, divorce, a sudden geographical move, or medical issues.

Big T traumas are generally considered more dramatic than those of little t.

How individuals respond to the event, though, is what matters. One person may be deeply traumatized by something to which another person barely reacts.

And those emotional/behavioral reactions are what psychotherapists such as Paige Pierson are trained to work with.

Paige is a psychotherapist, licensed both in Texas and New Mexico. She’s a credentialed supervisor for LMHC’s. 

Based in Los Alamos, Paige has previously worked in corrections, behavioral health hospitals, private practice, and community agencies.

In this episode, Melanie and Paige offer a fascinating insider glimpse into the world of trauma-sensitive therapy.

Paige is also a working artist, sharing insights about how her creative life nurtures her life as a psychotherapist.

Last but not least, Paige is the author of a YA dystopian fiction novel set in 2088. She wrote it for young people who are struggling with bullying, anxiety, self-esteem, and resilience.

Her commitment to living a rich life, no matter what we’ve experienced, can be a model for all of us.

Paige Pierson’s psychotherapy website here

Dr. Melanie Harth’s website here