Trauma can be defined as a psychological and emotional response to an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. This could range from being involved in a serious road traffic accident, a violent or sexual assault. These types of experiences are easily recognised as being traumatic and can lead to the development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Trauma can also encompass other life experiences such as being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, losing a loved one, or the ongoing effects of a painful and difficult childhood, including bullying. This also includes racial trauma, which is the impact of racism, discrimination and oppression.
When traumatic events aren’t processed and integrated, they can continue to have an impact on our lives. This can include physical symptoms such as panic attacks, nightmares, flashbacks and hypervigilance. Negative self-perceptions of self can also emerge, such as feeling worthlessness.