The definition of trauma is anything that is ‘deeply distressing or disturbing.’ The definition of trauma is broad because trauma is defined by a person’s subjective experience of it rather than the trauma itself.
‘Psychological trauma is unique to the person who experiences the event and concerns an overwhelm in terms of their ability to integrate their traumatic experience. They may experience a threat to life, sanity or body integrity.’
Therefore, a traumatic situation causes psychological trauma when an individual feels psychologically, physically and emotionally overwhelmed. They might feel like they have an inability to cope with the feelings the trauma has evoked and may have the overwhelming emotion of fear and a stress response which continues after a traumatic event is over.
Trauma symptoms vary from person to person and are experienced on a spectrum. Different people might experience different symptoms with a varying degree of severity. Symtoms can be categorised into, emotional and somatic symptoms and psychological symtoms. Examples might include dissociation, rumination, hyperarousal, feeling fearful, vulnerable and having difficulty controling your emotions.
Types Of Trauma
Trauma is categorised into several main types. These are: Type 1 trauma e.g. single event big T trauma which might threaten life like an accident or physical attack or assault. Type 2 trauma e.g. repeated trauma which might be part of an interpersonal relationship. Examples include emotional abuse, domestic abuse or childhood neglect. Inergenerational or collective trauma for example the holocaust. Vicarious trauma can be passed from one person to another when they hear about a particularly difficult trauma. Small (t) trauma which is a normal life event which is traumatic like losing ones job.