What is Trauma?

A trauma represents an injury (physical or emotional) to you or those you love or from witnessing injuries to others.
— Poijula, S., & Williams, M.B. (2013). The PTSD workbook: Simple, effective techniques for overcoming traumatic stress symptoms, p. 6.

The above definition provides a simple but effective explanation of the term "trauma". It is common to think that a traumatic event has to be something that is serious and severe; however, many events in our lives have the potential to be traumatic.

Not everyone who experiences a potentially traumatic event will go on to have a trauma response. Many factors can affect the development of trauma-related symptoms, including a history of adverse or traumatic experiences, gender (with women being more likely to develop PTSD than men), age (being aged under 25 at the time of the event increases the chance of developing PTSD), genetics, and lacking social supports.



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References for the trauma section of this site:

Cook, A. et al. (2005). Complex trauma in children and adolescents. Psychiatric Annals, 35(5), 390-398.

Courtois, C.A., & Ford, J.D. (2012). Treatment of complex trauma : A sequenced, relationship-based approach. New York: Guilford.

Poijula, S., & Williams, M.B. (2013). The PTSD workbook: Simple, effective symptoms for overcoming traumatic stress symptoms. New Harbinger Publications.

van der Kolk, B. (2005). Developmental trauma disorder. Psychiatric Annals, 35(5), 401-408.