When we talk about trauma we consider that it is any event that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope – it exhausts the capacity of the system.

There are three main types of trauma: acute, chronic, and complex.

Acute trauma is often the result of a single stressful event. Examples of acute trauma are accidents, assaults, rape, and disasters. The severity of these events makes a person feel threatened mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Chronic trauma is defined when the distressing events are longer-term. They can include serious illness, sexual abuse, emotional and physical neglect, as well as bullying and domestic violence.

Complex trauma is a result of being exposed to a variety of distressing events or experiences. Complex trauma has many impacts on an individual’s life – their emotional state of being, relationships, and ability to work are often affected. People whose childhoods were fraught with abuse and neglect will display symptoms of trauma.

Symptoms of trauma can include: shock denial, disbelief, confusion, inability to concentrate, anger, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, self-blame, withdrawal, sadness, hopelessness, sense of disconnection, numbness.