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What is Trauma?

What is Trauma for one person may not be Trauma for another.

"Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.

While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives. Psychologists can help them find constructive ways of managing their emotions."

-Trauma (

Big T Trauma (Life threatening)

  • Sexual or physical assault 

  • Illness, injury or accident

  • Witnessing violence

  • Being victim of a crime 

  • Natural disasters

  • Childbirth

  • Suicide attempt

  • War or combat

  • Civil unrest

Complex Trauma

  • Childhood abuse (emotional, physical, sexual)

  • Witness or victim of domestic violence

  • Emotional, physical neglect

  • Bullying

  • Experienced strict or enmeshed parenting styles 

  • Caregiver had mental health or substance use issues

  • Grief or loss of a loved one or pet

  • Chronic illness or pain

  • Gender identity, sexual orientation or relationship preference not being respected, valued by caregivers or people close to you

Little t Trauma

  • Interpersonal conflict

  • Infidelity

  • Divorce

  • Bankruptcy

  • Having to move homes quickly

  • Legal issues

  • Financial worries

  • Toxic work environment

  • Miscarriage or stillbirth

  • Losing a job

Symptoms of  Trauma

  • Irritability 

  • Flashbacks of events (as if the event is happening again in this moment)

  • Avoidance of things that remind you of the trauma

  • Nightmares

  • Intrusive memories

  • Dissociation (not feeling in your body, tuning out, mind going blank)

  • Hyper Independance

  • Workaholic behavior

  • Poor boundaries

  • Anxiety or depression

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, author of "The Body Keeps the Score", speaks on Trauma

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