What is trauma? A brief, but clear definition of what trauma is

A good starting point in the pursuit of trauma recovery is gathering information and understanding what trauma is.

What is trauma? Derived from the Greek language, the word trauma means “wound, damage, or hurt.” Trauma may manifest as a powerful psychological and emotional response to a distressing event or set of circumstances. Individuals may feel they are powerless to control the event or circumstance and very frightened. This has the potential to change the individual’s beliefs about themselves and the world around them, as well as their interactions with it.

Types of trauma but not limited to...

  • 1. Environmental trauma: natural disasters, car accidents, medical procedures, and physical injuries.
  • 2. Interpersonal trauma: This is trauma which occurs within the course of a relationship. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, religious abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, childhood abuse, abandonment, and bullying.
  • 3. Intergenerational trauma: Trauma that extends through multiple generations of the same family.

Trauma is an embodied experience, touching all the neural pathways in our bodies: our muscles, the brains in our bellies and hearts, our autonomic nervous systems, our brain stems, our primary emotional-motivational systems, our lambic regions and neocortices, and reaching down to even finer systems at the level of our cells and genes.

From The Heart of Trauma by Bonnie Badenoch

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