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Trauma is anything that overwhelms our ability to cope. We can consider overwhelm on a continuum from 'overwhelming stress' to 'PTSD' to 'developmental trauma'.[1]

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms include involuntarily re-experiencing aspects of the traumatic event in a very vivid and distressing way, avoidance behaviour, hyperarousal, and, emotional numbing. [2]

‘Trauma occurs when an event creates an unresolved impact on an organism.’[3]

'Dissociation is the essence of trauma.'[4]




  1. Haines S (2016) Trauma Is Really Strange. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  2. NICE (2005) Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): The management of PTSD in adults and children in primary and secondary. Accessed 2015-09-02
  3. Levine P (1997) Waking the Tiger – Healing Trauma. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
  4. Van Der Kolk B (2014) The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York, Viking.