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Types of Trauma

Different types of trauma experiences will have separate implications and outcomes. While there are many different types of traumatic events, we can categorize them into 4 different sections.

Type 1/Big T/Shock Trauma

These are single-episode incidents that often come out of the blue and may lead to PTSD. Some examples include

- severe illness or injury

- violent assault

- sexual assault

- witnessing a natural disaster

- military combat incident

- medical trauma

- psych hospitalization

Type 2/Complex trauma

These are repeated experiences that occur over a period of time and often are within interpersonal relationships and a person may feel trapped(physically or mentally), or led to believe they are powerless to prevent the incident. These incidents can lead to c-PTSD

Examples include:

- child abuse

- domestic violence

- emotional and physical neglect

- attachment trauma

- abandonment

- bullying

- emotional abuse

- sexual abuse

Intergenerational/Historical/Collective Trauma

This type of trauma can affect many different cultures, communities, and generations. Part of this trauma is the adaptive coping mechanims and beliefs that are passed down through generations.

Examples include: - racial trauma

- slavery

- war

- forcible removal from family or community

Vicarious or Secondary Trauma

This type of trauma occurs when someone speaks directly to someone who has experienced a traumatic event. The person listening to the story can experience trauma-like symptoms by listening to the person's traumatic story.

Little t trauma

Little t trauma is wrapped into everyday life experiences and is often less prominent and discussed than the other traumas listed above

Examples include:

- loss of a loved one

- moving to a new home

- losing a job

Managing a traumatic event will be different for everyone. How much support that person has around them, the ability to process the trauma, and the adaptive coping mechanims they have all play a part. Unfortunately, we can't forget the memory or 'get over it'. The healing journey is processing the experience in a healthy way and understanding that you can simultaneously live in joy while managing the traumatic event.

Working with an empathetic, compassionate, and understanding therapist who understands the healing process and techniques to aid in your journey is very beneficial.

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