Trauma is any event that causes psychological or physical harm to you or to others. People are often mistaken in that they believe something has to happen to you directly in order for it to be considered a traumatic experience but watching someone else go through a bad experience can be just as damaging to your mental wellbeing. Trauma, in short, is an event that exceeds your ability to cope and has a negative effect on your ability to function psychologically. These events don’t have to be life-threatening, instead they can leave you feeling lost, hopeless, and overwhelmed.
The Two TraumasThere are two recognised forms of trauma, and each is distinct with a unique set of criteria. These traumas include ‘Big T’ and ‘Small t’ trauma.
- Big T Trauma – most commonly associated with PTSD, Big T trauma is usually caused by life-threatening injury, sexual violence, and serious injury. Witnessing these things happen to others, as well as living and working in close proximity to those that struggle with PTSD, can also cause Big T trauma.
- Small t Traumas – those that occur in an individual’s personal life. These deeply distressing events may be as a result of anything from a relationship breakdown to the death of a pet or bullying and harassment. Treatment for Small t trauma revolve around how the situation is affecting you, and how to tackle it from that angle.