This article attempts to throw some light on trauma, and dispel the belief that a person only suffers trauma in the aftermath of what is considered to be a devastating experience.


What is Trauma?

We experience trauma from any encounter that is deeply distressing and overwhelms our ability to cope, either now or in the future. Trauma can result from a vast range of experiences such as witnessing a motor accident to being an actual victim of war. Not everyone who experiences a stressful event will develop trauma, but it can have a long-term effect on a person’s well being. what might result in trauma for one person, may not have

What are the different kinds of Trauma?

Acute Trauma which results from a one-off distressing or dangerous experience like a bereavement, motor accident, a house fire.

Chronic Trauma occurs over a period of time from repeated and prolonged experiences to highly distressing events. Examples are being the victim of an abusive relationship, victim of bullying, having a close family member suffer a long term illness.

Complex Trauma results from experiencing multiple traumatic events like the breakdown of a family through divorce, then one of the parents moving away 

Secondary trauma is another type of trauma.  A person can develop symptoms of secondary trauma from repeated exposure to someone who has experienced trauma. So a person looking after a victim of trauma  who repeatedly hears about the traumatic experience can suffer secondary trauma.

Trauma can be experienced both physically and emotionally:  Shock and denial are common immediate responses to suffering a trauma.

Some emotional responses are 







Difficulty concentrating 




Some physical symptoms are 




Racing heart 

When a young person develops trauma,  they find it difficult to make sense of the experience. Often a disconnect results between their feelings, how they make sense of their feelings and how they are then able to manage the feelings.