What is the meaning of psychological trauma?
Physical trauma affects the body. Psychological trauma affects the mind. These two traumas occur together when the physical trauma is perpetrated by a care-giver, such as a parent or a healthcare professional. The confusion caused by the betrayal of trust is the psychological trauma in this case. It is often much more long-lasting than the effects of the physical trauma.
All trauma is relative. Different people react to similar traumas in different ways. Something that might demolish one person might be shrugged off by another.
A similar trauma might have very different psychological effects on the same person at different times, depending on what else was going on in that person’s life at those times.
Our psychological resilience increases with age and experience. Episodes of abuse and abandonment can be devastating in childhood but more readily manageable in adulthood.
The end result is that childhood traumas can still feel traumatic – as if it were happening all over again – many years later when a memory pops up.
As children our emotional lives are more vulnerable than in adult life. The traumas go deep. They are technicolored. Enabling the feelings to be expressed appropriately – without further traumatisation – is a delicate therapeutic process in children and in adults.