What is Trauma?

“Being traumatised means continuing to organise your life as if the trauma were still going on – unchanged and immutable – as every new encounter or event is contaminated by the past” Van der Kolk, (2015).

What is trauma?

The word ‘trauma’ describes an event or series of events which are experienced as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and which are so stressful that they overwhelm a person’s capacity to cope. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event is ‘traumatised’, rather being ‘traumatised’ relates to how we interpret and make meaning of the events and this in turn, is influenced by our cultural beliefs, our histories, our social supports, gender, race, age and a range of other factors. Our reactions to trauma are totally normal responses to abnormal and overwhelmingly threatening events. We cannot choose how we respond to trauma and we are never to blame for the way in which we react. Experiences of trauma can impact our development, our capacity to form trusting relationships in which we feel safe, our capacity to study and to work, as well as our physical and mental health and our capacity to cope with challenges we may face in later life. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD are just some of the reactions which can manifest in response to traumatic experiences.

Some groups of people are at risk of experiencing higher levels of trauma. This includes for example, women and children, refugees and asylum seekers, people with disabilities, people from minoritised ethnic backgrounds and people from the LGBTQI+ community.

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 Blue Room Psychology & Trauma Services Ltd.

Company number 11162309

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