“Not All Trauma Is the Same” – Psychology Today

Many factors explain how trauma affects survivors differently.

what is trauma

by Mellissa Withers and Kathryn Maloney

“Human trafficking survivors often have to deal with the aftermath of complex trauma for the rest of their lives. What exactly is trauma? The first thing that comes to mind might be an unusual event characterized by extreme violence or emotion, such as a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, or the unexpected death of a family member. However, trauma also applies to a much broader range of events that people can experience in their lifetimes. Trauma manifests itself in many forms. Often, trauma is not limited to a single, acute event, but rather a culmination of factors and experiences. A trauma-informed approach is one that takes into consideration the range of reactions of people who have experienced child maltreatment and abuse, intimate partner violence, and even human trafficking.

Forms of trauma can include:

  • Complex trauma versus single incidents: Complex trauma is usually prolonged trauma that occurs between people, often beginning in childhood or adolescence. Since the events often happen in secrecy, the victim may suffer in fear and silence.

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