Loss of hope, loss of innocence: YouTube star examines childhood trauma


Prominent photographer Mark Laita gave up his career to conduct hundreds of interviews on YouTube with the most broken individuals in our society. He believes that if we develop empathy for how childhood trauma affected their decisions, we can better understand how this is true in our own lives. He very appropriately calls this the "soft, white underbelly"--where our society is vulnerable, and begins to break down. Below, I have included a powerful quote from him.

Most people should not watch his videos, especially people with trauma triggers. The videos are brutal, horrifying, and explicit. However, the stories of these individuals need telling, because these extreme cases are only an illustration of a much larger problem.

For instance, most of the people I see in therapy are not the former prostitutes, runaways, gang members, and drug addicts that Mark interviews on his YouTube channel. However, many people I see in therapy went through some sort of childhood trauma, and also experienced negative life outcomes. Sometimes less, sometimes more, but for most of my clients, the difference is that no one else truly sees the pain they secretly feel.

Trauma is our "soft, white underbelly," a primary contributor to the choices people make that create a world of pain. It can give me a sense of hopelessness to observe these cycles in our society. But I remain hopeful, because nearly every day I see hope for healing in my individual clients. Has trauma impacted your life? Trauma therapy can stop the cycle! You can start by giving me a call, or by reading my blog entries on trauma and its treatment with EMDR.

Let me end with a quote from Mark, explaining what he has learned, and the hope he has:

The stuff that happens to you as a kid affects the way you believe in yourself, which ends up manifesting as problems with alcohol, or drugs, or your diet, or your health, or your choice of partners, or your career choices, or your belief in yourself, or the education you get. There are so many things…we are our worst own enemy at times, and I think that’s an interesting story as well. And I think that when you watch [my interviews], you’ll be like, “Wow, that’s what was going on with them, that’s why they’re doing what they’re doing,” and you can start to see it in your own life. For me it’s sometimes like a crash course in empathy. I used to look at homeless people and go, “Why don’t they just get a job? Quit the drug, get a job—problem solved.” Now, after hearing all of these stories I realize what these people have gone through in their childhoods, how they were broken, how they never had a chance, how they never had hope. And that really has changed and built my compassion and empathy for these people like nothing else. [...] Maybe listening, understanding, accepting, and deciding to do something differently, might make a difference eventually.