Trauma is a form of emotional damage and the result of a severely distressing event or series of events. Trauma results from an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope or integrate the resulting emotions with the experience at the time of the event. Trauma, in its broadest sense, is one’s inability to effectively process, accept, and move on from life experiences perceived as overwhelming.
Trauma is caused by many different types of life events, personal or societal, however the results are often predictable, and can be debilitating and long lasting if not properly treated. Eventually these persistent and repetitive internalized experiences lead to serious, long-term negative consequences for the individual. Trauma informed care allows clinicians to view other instances of emotional distress through the lens of trauma. Individuals that have experienced traumatic experiences or lives, are often filled with uncertainty, fear, and a sense of confusion on how to proceed in their lives.
Many individuals have been subjected to childhood trauma from abusive family members, school bullies, prejudice, or oppression. The consequences of these experiences are intense and continue to perpetuate themselves in a cycle of depression, substance abuse, and failed relationships. Even members of the same family experience these events differently, while one member finds ways to cope, another simply cannot.
These individuals are constantly reminded of the memories of the events, and are simply unable to muster the strength and understanding of how to effectively deal with them. New experiences cause the individual to re-experience the event over and over, making resolution and recovery from these experiences extremely challenging.