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What is Trauma from a psychological view?

Trauma from a psychological lens can result from any instance when it feels that your survival is threatened.  Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by single, one-time events, such as a horrible accident, a natural disaster, sexual assault, or a violent attack. Trauma can also stem from ongoing relentless stress such as living in a crime-ridden neighborhood, being raised in an unsafe environment, childhood neglect, extreme inutero stress, or struggling with a life-impacting health diagnosis. In general, any single or sustained event can lead to symptoms of being overwhelmed or dysregulated when:


  • It happened unexpectedly.
  • You were unprepared for it.
  • You felt powerless to prevent it.
  • It happened repeatedly.
  • Someone was intentionally cruel.
  • It happened in childhood and/or adulthood.

Trauma is any past experience that one perceives as negative and that negatively impacts your present life. It creates extreme stress in the body and mind. Traumas can be perceived as horrific, helpless to prevent, and threatening to either your survival or the survival of others or it can be when something happens to you large or small, that leaves you feeling distress and you are unable to process it for some reason. The effects can be long lasting and create distressing symptoms.