What Is Trauma?

Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience that can be experienced at any age of an individual's lifespan. SAMHSA's Three E's Defining Trauma Individual Trauma results from the experience of an event, series of events, or circumstances that are physically and/or emotionally harmful or threatening, that have lasting adverse effects on a person's functioning, as well as their mental, physical, social, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being.

Types of Trauma

  • Sexual Abuse / Assault
  • Physical Abuse / Assault
  • Emotional Abuse / Psychological Maltreatment
  • Neglect
  • Serious Accident, Illness, and/or Medical Procedure
  • Witness to Domestic Violence
  • Victim / Witness to Domestic Violence / Assault
  • Victim / Witness to Community Violence
  • Victim / Witness to Natural Disasters
  • Miscarriage / Abortion
  • Witness to Death
  • School Violence / Bullying
  • Natural / Manmade Disasters
  • Forced Displacement
  • War / Terrorism / Political Violence
  • Military Trauma including impact of deployment - related stressors
  • Victim / Witness to Extreme Personal / Interpersonal Violence
  • Traumatic Grief / Separation
  • System-Induced Trauma (e.g., Traumatic Foster Placement)
  • Physician Trauma Including Death of Patient
  • Seperation of Family (e.g. Divorce, Abandonment, Separation, Death)

Traumatic experiences are long-lasting. They can affect future coping skills and defense mechanisms. They can affect other adverse, but less traumatic experiences later in life. 

Abuse In Children

  • United States has the worse record of abuse and neglect.
  • In 2015, CPS reported 683,000 victims of child abuse and neglect reported to child protective services. 
  • A non-CPS study estimated that 1 in 4 children experience some form of child abuse or neglect in their lifetimes.
  • About 1,670 children died from abuse or neglect in 2015
  • The total lifetime cost of child abuse and neglect is estimated at $124 billion each year.
  • Increased likelihood of developing range of mental disorders such as suicide attempts, drug use, STI's, and risky sexual behavior
  • 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children

Abuse In Adults

  • For adults, most prevalent forms of trauma were physical or sexual assault (52%)
  • Accident or fire (50%)
  • Death of a close family member or friend due to violence (49%)
  • Natural Disaster (48%)
  • Threat or injury to a close family member or friend (32%)
  • Witnessing physical or sexual assault (33%)
  • In 2017, a study by rand.org showed that 53% of military members deployed suffer from PTSD

Types of Trauma We Treat

We treat individuals facing traumatic stress, complex trauma, retraumatization and vicarious traumatization. Often times, trauma survivors' experiences are shrouded in secrecy, fear, shame, guilt, humiliation and self-blame. This is one of the main reasons why trauma survivors often fail to report their experiences (even when asked). If not treated the pervasive, deleterious, and long-term effects of interpersonal trauma can result in post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to substance use disorders, from somatic complaints to general psychological distress. 

We believe that people who have experienced trauma are resilient and are not condemned to a life of hopelessness and helplessness. 

Resilience plays a large factor in how a person copes with their traumas or tragedies. Even those who suffered the most dire life situations can have it within them to move beyond. We recognize that trauma often destroys or at least throws into question, perceptions of the self and sometimes the person's feelings of spirituality too. We focus on each individuals resilience to help them bounce back or rise above the difficulties that come from adverse experiences such as trauma. Resilience can be learned and is the focus of our trauma treatments and one of the most evidence-based practices (Federal, Charney, & Collins, 2011). 

We also recognize that treatment is not always the goal; the goal may be healing, as everyone heals in different contexts and in different ways.

For more information, please feel free to schedule your appointment today.