Psychological Trauma

Powerful Essays
The term “Psychological trauma” refers to damage wrought from a traumatic event, which that damages one’s ability to cope with stressors. “Trauma” is commonly defined as an exposure to a situation in which a person is confronted with an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to self or others’ physical well-being (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Specific types of client trauma frequently encountered by which therapists and other mental health workers frequently encounter in a clinical setting include sexual abuse, physical , or sexual assault, natural disasters such as earthquakes or tsunamis, domestic violence, and school or/and work related violence (James & Gilliland, 2001). Traumatic events tend to overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations to life. The severity of traumatic events cannot be measured in on any single dimension; the primary characteristic of the traumatic event is its power to inspire helplessness and terror. It is also important to realize that a survivor’s experience of the traumatic event is a subjective experience of the objective event. Trauma itself may come in several forms, and there are vast differences among people who experience trauma and the types of reactions trauma elicits in them.

The ordinary human response to danger is a complex, integrated system of reactions that encompass both body and mind. Threats profoundly arouse the central nervous system, causing the body of the person experiencing the danger to initiate an adrenalin rush and go into a state of alert (van der Kolk, 1987). Threats also focus a person’s attention on the immediate situation, creating a loss of faith in any safety, predictability, or meaning in the world, or any sa...

... middle of paper ...

...I. (2004). Relentless self-care. In Berzott J. Silverman, ed. Living with dying: A handbook for end-of-life healthcare practitioners. New York: Columbia University Press, 848-867.

Trippany, R. L., Kress, V. E. W, & Wilcoxon, S. A. (2004). Preventing vicarious trauma: What counselors should know when working with trauma survivors. Journal of Counseling and Development, 82(1), 31-37.

Ursano, R. J., Bell, C., Eth, S., Friedman, M., Norwood, A., & Pfefferbaum, B. (2004). Practice guidelines for treatment of patients with acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 175, 571-575.

van der Kolk, B. A. (1987). Psychological trauma. Virginia: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.

Wylie, M. K. (2004). The limits of talk: Bessel Vander Kolk wants to transform the treatment of trauma. Psychotherapy Networker, 28(1), 30-41.
Get Access