"". The Trauma Effect by Zetta Thomelin | Is This Mutton?

Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

Search This Blog

Tuesday 16 January 2024

The Trauma Effect by Zetta Thomelin


Is This Mutton reviews The Trauma Effect by Zetta Thomelin, a therapist whose own family had a deeply traumatic experience which had never been openly discussed.

Dear friends. Today's book spotlight is on The Trauma Effect: Exploring and Resolving Inherited Trauma. It's a book that reveals how a family secret and trauma caused suffering that was passed down to those who were unaware of the original tragedy. The book then follows the journey of recovery.

Most families have secrets and "skeletons in the closet."   

Author Zetta Thomalin says her family has such a secret.  She says: "I tell you my story in this book, my story as I thought it, and then the truth of my story to help you to heal yours. 

"I explore how such events can affect us, both psychologically and physically and take you on the journey of recovery, how to bring a full stop to that inheritance of shame, blame and guilt, so the next generation does not have to carry the burden of it too.

"We need to do something about it, shine a light on it, take the skeleton out of the closet, dust it down and bury it once and for all."

Is This Mutton reviews a book on how families with generational trauma can start to recover.

My Thoughts

What makes this book unique is that the author, a trained therapist, uses her own experience in uncovering a long held family secret to help others in a similar situation.

I won't tell you what the secret is, except to say it is truly devastating. It was, at the time, a tragedy that was covered by national newspapers. 

Zetta Thomelin wasn't able to turn to her family for background and context because those who could help are no longer here.

She felt very angry at first that the story had been suppressed and hidden away, through guilt or maybe shame.  

She then started researching to fill in the gaps. Her perceptions changed during this process.  "I could almost sense the bewildered confusion of the family, as their world fell apart and turned into a nightmare," she writes. "Judgments upon the family that were still clearly there decades later, as we saw when my father went back to the area the family had lived in and being confronted by it all yet again."

Zetta started to experience a repetitive waking dream.  She realised that her subconscious was reacting to the fact that responsibility for the family situation had now been handed to her. 

In part two of the book, she studies the impact of trauma, and in particular generational trauma, when a traumatic experience is passed down through the generations after the individual suffering had not had support or been able to process the trauma. 

When she discussed the work she was doing with her mother, she failed to see how Zetta would have been affected by something that happened before she was born. But through sensitive discussion, she began to comprehend the impact, and how it had also affected her more than she would have previously acknowledged.   Her mother is 88 and still learning and developing. Thomelin says there is hope for everyone: we can always access change given the right encouragement and understanding. 

There is plenty of data and background to substantiate the theory of generational/transgenerational trauma, as Thomelin explains. 

To help to deal with the nocturnal disturbance - the nightmares - she recommends self-hypnosis or autosuggestion just before sleep. She choice a word - mountain - and would start by saying the word and closing her eyes, seeing the image of a mountain and then working on a body relaxation.

She then identified several behaviors that the family had been carrying for decades, which had subliminally been carried down to her:

  • Guilt
  • Judgment and punishment
  • Responsibility
  • Shame
  • Dissociation and rejection
  • Blame

Zetta Thomelin then introduces a simple technique that can be used to acknowledge the learnings and begin the process of letting them go. 

There are exercises of visualisation, starting with how to go about creating a "resource state." This involves visualising a memory with a good feeling, recreating an experience we enjoy doing and imaging a place in nature where we would like to be. 

This leads to a visualisation where a conversation is had with one of the sufferers of the original tragedy: the chance to have a conversation that was never had.  

The book is a mine of advice and guidance on how families can begin to understand their own experience and start the process of resolution and healing. The personal experience of the author makes it all the more valuable. 

About the Author


Zetta Thomelin is a therapist in private practice, involved in the governance of complementary medicine as Chair of BAThH, as Vice-Chair of UKCHO and as a Trustee of Research Council for Complementary Medicine. 

Prior to her career in therapy, she worked in the media at News International and Chronos Group Publishing and later in the Third Sector as CEO of Children with AIDS Charity and Vice Chair of Mama Biashara.

She is the author of two other books, The Healing Metaphor and Self-Help? Self-Hypnosis!

The Trauma Effect is published by The Conrad Press. 

For further information go to www.zettathomelin.com email info@zettathomelin.com


Reviews are shared with these fabulous sites. 

Come back on Friday for a round-up of recent reads and the #WhatsBeenOnYourBookshelf link-up. 



  1. This sounds like a great book for those who need it. thank you for the review - Sam - Thrift Plan Enjoy

  2. Happens in many families


Blog Design Created by pipdig