Types of Trauma
San Jose Counseling and Psychotherapy
A traumatic event involves a single experience, or an enduring or repeating event or events, that completely overwhelm the individual’s ability to cope or integrate the ideas and emotions involved with that experience.
The sense of being overwhelmed can be delayed by weeks, years or even decades, as the person struggles to cope with the immediate circumstances.
Psychological trauma can lead to serious long-term negative consequences that are often overlooked even by mental health professionals in PTSD treatment.
When clinicians fail to look through a trauma lens and to conceptualize client problems as related possibly to current or past trauma, they may fail to see that trauma victims, young and old, organize much of their lives around repetitive patterns of reliving and warding off traumatic memories, reminders, and affects. This action delays trauma treatment for the sufferer.
Different Events That Can Create Trauma
Trauma can be caused by a wide variety of events, but there are a few common aspects. There is frequently a violation of the person’s familiar ideas about the world and of their human rights, putting the person in a state of extreme confusion and insecurity. This is also seen when people or institutions, depended on for survival, violate or betray or disillusion the person in some unforeseen way.
Psychological trauma may accompany physical trauma or exist independently of it. Typical causes and dangers of psychological trauma are:
- sexual abuse
- employment discrimination
- police brutality, bullying
- domestic violence
- being the victim of an alcoholic parent
- the threat of or the witnessing bodily harm
- life-threatening medical conditions
- medication-induced trauma
- catastrophic events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions
- war or other mass violence
- long-term exposure to situations such as extreme poverty
- milder forms of abuse, such as verbal abuse
However, different people will react differently to similar events. One person may experience an event as traumatic while another person might not. In other words, not all people who experience a potentially traumatic event will actually become psychologically traumatized.
Psychotherapy and PTSD Treatment
A number of psychotherapy approaches have been designed with the treatment of trauma, such as EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, Biofeedback, Family Systems Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
For the treatment of trauma-related symptoms, it is most effective to use a variety of approaches for the best results.