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Identifying Stuck Points


To be able to identify and challenge stuck points that are interfering with recovery

Normal Responses to Extreme Stress

Normal Responses to Extreme StressPrior to the occurrence of the traumatic event, you held certain beliefs about yourself, others, and the world. To make sense of the event and incorporate it into your memory, you likely either made it fit within your existing beliefs by changing your perception of the event or radically changed your prior beliefs. Certain aspects of your beliefs that may have been affected include safety, trust, power/control, esteem, and/or intimacy. For example, you may blame yourself for the traumatic event occurring or you may now believe that you cannot trust anyone. If you are struggling to recover from the traumatic event, you may be experiencing “stuck points” related to making sense of the trauma or how you think about yourself, others, and the world.

Impact Statement Exercise

Instructions: Write an impact statement on a separate piece of paper about how the traumatic event has affected you (at least one page). What does it mean to you that this experience has occurred? Focus on any guilt you have regarding the trauma and the effects of the event on your beliefs about yourself, others, and the world. Consider how your beliefs about safety, trust, power/control, esteem, and intimacy may have been affected.


  • If you think that you should have been able to stop the event, then you likely feel guilty.
  • If you decided that no one can be trusted as a result of the event, then you likely behave as though that were true.

Stuck Point Exercise

Instructions: Summarize the stuck points that you identified from your impact statement.




Examples: Distrusting society and authority figures, believing that you made a bad decision during the traumatic experience, feeling threatened by your environment, struggling to be emotionally and physically intimate with your significant other, having low esteem for others and yourself

Next Step

Learn more about how traumatic experiences impact people by watching the following video:

Which of the following aspects of beliefs are oftentimes impacted by traumatic experiences?

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