Most people associate trauma with ‘life threatening events’. Here at the Trauma Centre of Australia (TCA) we believe that trauma is complex and can include many scenarios. Our view has been informed by our direct contact with people exposed to trauma, over a 25 year period. We appropriately define trauma as “a psychological wound that has occurred due to a person’s perception of a stressful event” (Peter Horton CEO, 2013).
Psychological trauma can arise from many events including accidents, workplace injury, death, robbery, harassment, and emotionally intrusive thoughts. Emotions including, shock, confusion, numbness, depression, anxiety disorders and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are often associated with a traumatic experience.
“It is when a person classifies an event as a trauma that determines when a trauma has occurred”.
Trauma can have a profound impact on psychological wellbeing and everyday functioning. Thoughts can become consumed by the incident, making concentration on work near impossible, decision-making unclear and coping abilities frail. Reactions can range from mild to severe and can persist for weeks, months, or years following the initial traumatic event. The implication of high stress can be labelled ‘trauma’.
Identifying whether trauma has occurred can be unclear for many people. Trauma is unique to each person, therefore, triggers, responses and symptoms can vary significantly. For instance, if a tarantula crawled across a room in front of two people, one person might not be affected or think about the event thereafter. The other person might become frightened by the perceived threat, which can cause emotionally demanding nightmares. Common experiences of trauma can include whether the incident is perceived as having the following elements:
Reactions vary from person to person. Common reactions include:
It is important to identify the experience of trauma as soon as possible, so that immediate help and ongoing care can be given to ensure minimum psychological impact.
Following a traumatic incident, people identified as being particularly effected can benefit enormously from trauma counselling.
Trauma counselling and assistance can ensure minimum psychological impact by reducing traumatic stress, speeding the process of normal functioning, and reducing the likelihood of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Other ways of helping reduce trauma symptoms include:
We’ve been busy here at Trauma Centre, handling a number of high profile trauma incidents across Australia in recent months. The autumn issue of our newsletter, Inside Trauma, has just been published; if you’d like to subscribe, enter your email address on the right hand side of this page and click ‘go’. This edition focuses […]
“Looking Beyond Classic Trauma Symptoms” Here is a video snippet from our TAPIG event with Anne Laure who discusses the symptoms of trauma in comparison to the classic trauma symptoms. For more videos, or to watch the entire Anne Laura Series, please visit our Anne Laure playlist on our YouTube account by clicking here […]
“Language is the digestive juice of the mind” A short snippet of our TAPIG (Trauma and Psychology Interest Group) Workshop with Rob Gordon in 2011. For more snippets of our TAPIG events, please subscribe to our quarterly “Inside Trauma” newsletter or subscribe to us on YouTube or Facebook. To subscribe to our Inside Trauma Newsletter, […]
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