Trauma is a response to deeply distressing or disturbing events that overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and their ability to feel the full range of emotions and experiences.

A person who has experienced a traumatic event might develop either simple or complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Experiencing a single traumatic event is most likely to lead to simple PTSD. Complex PTSD tends to result from long-term, chronic trauma and can affect a person’s ability to form healthy, trusting relationships. Complex trauma in children is often referred to as “developmental trauma.”

Possible Symptoms

  • Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares.
  • Emotional numbness and avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma.
  • Increased arousal such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered.
  • Reckless or self-destructive behavior
  • Hypervigilance
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Problems with concentration


  • Cognitive- Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Sensorimotor therapy
  • Eye Movement and Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Pharmacological Treatment
  • Exposure therapy
  • Talk therapy
Further reading and resources
Counceling clinic in Mtl
Harvard medical school: Understanding trauma
ADAA: Systemic racial inequalities and trauma
The center for anxiety disorders: Trauma therapy
NCBI: Understanding the impact of trauma
NCTSN: Trauma and african-american youths