What is Trauma?

One of my passions is helping individuals who have experienced trauma, or are experiencing PTSD, to overcome that trauma. To put it more simply I love the help people move from Post-traumatic stress into Post-traumatic growth. So, what exactly is trauma, and what makes an event traumatic?

Trauma is an emotional or psychological response to an event that is experienced as deeply distressing or disturbing; it could be an event that is directly experienced or witnessed. For example if one person were to be involved in a car accident and another were to witness that car accident, the event could be traumatic for both. Trauma can also be caused by one incident (acute) or a series of incidences (chronic) over an extended period of time.

Traumatic events are different for each and every person. What may be experienced as traumatic for one person, may not be traumatic for another. One individual may experience trauma in the form of a military deployment, another may experience the trauma of divorce, a third may experience the trauma of child loss; none of these is “more legitimate” or “more real” than the other. Each and every one is a trauma and has an effect on the individual experiencing it.

Now, within trauma a whole bunch of “stuff” is going on within the brain. To provide an explanation on this I’m including a video on “Trauma and the Brain” by NHS Lanarkshire EVA Services.