Evidence suggests about 78% of people in the US will go through at least one traumatic event in their lives. Christine Cowart has worked tirelessly to change the way society views that experience.
“There’s a real science to this idea of trauma, and it’s not just by watching someone’s behavior we see,” said Cowart, a certified trauma professional. “We know that there are chemical changes in how the brain works.”
According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening with lasting effects on the individual.
Cowart explained that trauma information has been around for many years, but it is so little known and she wants to change that. Aside from PTSD, Cowart says there are no diagnosis available for having experienced trauma. Cowart’s passion to research trauma comes from her professional background in human services and her personal life. She has two adopted children from South America with traumatic backgrounds.
“So, for me it became about letting people know and helping people actually do something with that information,” said Cowart.
Christine has been volunteering with Vermont Adaptive for 19 years, an organization to empower people with disabilities through adaptive sports. She said people with disabilities are more at risk for experiencing trauma. So, in the fall of 2019 Christine started looking to see if there was any sort of training available to help volunteers address trauma. When she found there was nothing relevant, she put together her own presentation.
“What really shocked me was the number of people who came up to me and said, omg I understand myself or someone I love so much better and you need to spread this,” said Cowart.
Shortly after giving a presentation to Vermont Adaptive, Cowart started her own company to help all kinds of people learn about trauma. Her company is called Cowart Trauma Informed Partnerships. She created a website and offered training to anyone who wanted it. It wasn’t long before her organization took off and she began offering webinars, panel discussions, and courses in trauma.
Cowart has offered training to law enforcement agencies, educators, and a variety of other professionals.
“Because my experience does span both the criminal justice and the human service children and families social work type fields, it gives me credibility to people who otherwise might not want to hear this message,” said Cowart.
Her goal is to change the story and help people or organizations become resilient! Along with her extensive trauma work, Christine also works on diversity issues with her local school district and is the co-chair of her work division’s racial equity committee. And that’s what makes Christine Cowart a remarkable woman.