By the time most people reach adulthood, they have experienced or witnessed some type of highly distressing event; technically, an event rises to the level of a “trauma” when it creates extreme stress that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope. This can include one-time incidents like accidents, rapes, or natural disasters, or chronic experiences such as child abuse, combat, or urban violence. Research indicates that people are also significantly impacted by ongoing experiences of “traumatic invalidation”– by parents, caregivers, or peers.
Whether or not a person meets full criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), trauma responses can create painful physiological symptoms, along with problematic patterns of avoidance that impact every area of a person’s life. Fortunately, PTSD and other trauma-related difficulties are highly treatable using evidence-based protocols.