The word trauma is so important to help those who suffer from emotional injury. Yet people so often think of trauma as only including physical or sexual injury. Many overlook its role in their overall health and quality of life. They don’t know they are struggling with a changed nervous system that leads to a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms. Confusion about the emotional injury we call trauma is a barrier to care.
That’s why it’s important to help more people understand the emotional side of trauma. By being clear that we use a definition of trauma to include the impact of mental and emotional issues, we can help more people better understand and talk about their mental health care.
Promoting an inclusive definition of trauma
When I talk about trauma survivors, I am speaking about anyone who has survived any type of physical, emotional or sexual trauma. Working with a trauma survivor means working with anyone who seeks to heal from the resulting personal impact on their lives. It doesn’t matter whether the impact looks like PTSD, CPTSD, coping mechanisms, dissociation, difficulty in relationships, addiction, eating disordered behavior, a myriad of other “symptoms,” or any of all of the above.
Recently I tried to bring clarity and dive a little deeper into the exact terminologies and what they look like. I’ve addressed complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), PTSD, and how CPTSD is different from PTSD. These specific terms have their place in describing deeper aspects of trauma. However, we also need a way to