PTSD Awareness: Start by Understanding Trauma

June is PTSD Awareness Month. As promised yesterday, I am sharing this 2009 post of mine to start with the basics: understanding trauma. I resonate with the following quote:

“Traumatic events are extraordinary, not because they occur rarely, but rather because they overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations to life.”  — Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery


What is Trauma?

What do  therapists mean when we talk about trauma?

One definition I like states that “psychological trauma is the unique individual experience of an event or enduring conditions in which: “The individual’s ability to integrate his/her emotional experience is overwhelmed or the individual experiences (subjectively) a threat to life, bodily integrity, or sanity.” (Pearlman & Saakvitne, 1995, p. 60)

The important part of this definition in my practice is the emphasis on “unique individual experience”. 

Read more… 450 more words

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2 Responses to PTSD Awareness: Start by Understanding Trauma

  1. Amanda says:

    You’ve given one of the “easiest to understand” descriptions of PTSD – and I’m glad. The significance of this diagnosis is sometimes difficult for others to understand.

    I did a final project on PTSD for my Abnormal Psych class, and was surprised by how many people assumed it was only associated with veterans (as you mentioned in your previous post). The quote you used above, by Judith Herman, is one that I used in my paper. Her book was incredibly helpful for myself, and for my research.

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