Is It Trauma?
A disturbing occurrence or incident that deeply afflicts an individual(s) for some time after the end of the initial experience. Trauma is usually very damaging, as it limits and individual’s ability to function effectively. The troubles with functioning are generally a result of the individual’s inability to incorporate their newly found stressful emotions in to their life. I know that many of you have yourself or know of someone that has experienced some form of trauma. How do I know that? Traumatic events occur all the time. These traumatic events almost always involve people, sometimes in great number. The healing of the stress caused by these traumatic events is what I specialize in within my professional office, Bonhomie, L.L.C. I wanted to share a bit about six major categories of trauma with you.
Direct trauma is the first of the six categories. The definition of direct trauma is pretty straightforward. It is trauma that you personally directly experience. The trauma does not have to be experienced in any particular way to be considered direct, as long as it occurs directly to you. Usually an individual would either see, hear, or physically feel the trauma.
The second of the six would be indirect trauma. I call indirect trauma vicarious trauma a lot. In this circumstance, the individual is not there to physically experience the trauma themselves, but they are still affected by what happened. A great example of this that I can recall has been the effects of the various school and university shootings. In the hours and days following a shooting, no matter how near or far the shooting is in proximity, parents tend to check their children out early or keep them out of school until they are comfortable with having them to return.
Acute trauma is the third of the six. Acute means something serious that is worth noting despite it only occurring for a short time. In the case of trauma it is a traumatic event that you experience one time, but are deeply scarred by the experience. A great example would be escaping a house fire or being struck by lightning. The chance of either of the two of these occurring to someone more than one time in their lifetime is very slim. However, the occurrence of either can be very mentally damaging.
Chronic trauma occurs when an individual experiences traumatic experiences over and over again. This can be the same experience or a mixture of traumatic experiences. The individual, for example, could have lived in a war torn country and survived multiple bombings. On the other hand, the person may have been a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, then lost their new home to a fire, then been abducted. These are all different types of trauma, but create a chronic situation for the individual that has experienced them back to back.
Many times when you hear of complex trauma, it is used in reference to childhood trauma. Trauma is considered complex when it is chronic trauma that occurred during childhood years. Many children experience traumatic experiences over and over again at the hands of their caregivers. Of course, the children are supposed to be able to trust their parents or caregivers for love, safety and to provide the basic necessities for survival. When those particular things are not provided consistently, it can lead to the child being traumatized. A level of complexity is added due to the repeated trauma occurring to a child. It is my belief that the complexity shows itself in the development of the child, as the child’s development can be diminished by the trauma.
I like to call insidious trauma infective trauma. I use it as a metaphor, as trauma can be infectious. For example, during cold and flu season there are generally individuals that are carrying certain viruses. They may not target you as the next person to infect with the virus, but you may get sick just from being around them. Insidious trauma is the same. The traumatic acts are occurring around the individual but are not being directed at the individual. Eventually they are traumatized for simply being around. This form of trauma can easily occur for individuals that live in high poverty and high crime rate areas.
If you have any further questions about these forms of trauma, feel free to leave a comment below or to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org