The 5 types of psychological trauma (and their treatment)

There are experiences that overwhelm us emotionally; and in the most extreme cases, when these experiences cause us great suffering, they can lead to a traumatic-like psychopathology.

The most serious or disturbing situations people can experience are those that can have the greatest impact on their mental health and cause psychological trauma. However, there are different variants of this alteration, with their own particularities. In this sense, here we go a review of the characteristics of the different types of trauma that exist and their effects; this classification is taken into account in the psychotherapeutic processes.

What are traumas?

Traumas are psychological alterations that can be more or less serious and that are caused by a very disturbing or extremely stressful experience that causes the person to experience an intense state of discomfort, anxiety or directly a psychological blockage.

These experiences can be of different natures and all have in common the great psychological impact they exert on the person, which can last affect his mental health for years.

Traumas are usually generated by fortuitous events and some of the most common can be an accident that endangers the life of the person, the death or illness of a loved one, cases of sexual abuse and also mistreatment physical and psychological.

The most common traumas studied by psychology are childhood traumas, since most of them are considered to appear at an early age; However, many traumas can appear at any other stage of a person’s development and at any age.

In short, we can establish that a trauma is that alteration caused by a serious situation that the person is unable to manage emotionally and which overcomes it in such a way that his memory system is altered, to the point that sometimes emotional crises occur with disruptive effect in those who suffer them, by reviving these memories.

Main types of trauma

Since no two people are the same, trauma can affect each individual differently. However, mental health researchers have described a range of traumas that are most common in the general population.

Next, we will briefly see the main types of trauma that exist and the basic characteristics of each of them.

1. Childhood trauma

The psychological traumas of childhood are among the most important, due to the influence they have on the psychological and intellectual development of the boy or girl who presents them.

These traumas are very studied in psychology, since they explain most of the psychological problems or changes that a person can develop when they become adults and there are many traumatic experiences that can trigger them.

Some of the situations that can generate trauma in childhood are cases of sexual abuse and physical or emotional abuse, mistreatment in the family environment, living in a place where there is a dynamic of substance abuse or of dependency and also the cases of separation or divorce of the Parents.

2. Sexual trauma

Cases of sexual abuse in childhood and in adults of all ages are usually one of the main causes of trauma in people and constitute one of the most harmful experiences for mental health.

Sexual abuse is a crime characterized by the attack on a person’s freedom or sexual identity without their consent, provided that this act is committed without violence or intimidation.

This type of traumatic situation is very difficult to overcome because of the great impact it has on the mental health of the person who has been the victim and also because she wants to forget him at all costs.

3. Natural trauma

Natural injuries are triggered by disasters or natural disasters and also by fortuitous accidents that occur without active mediation by anyone.

This type of trauma is generally generated by car accidents or any other means of transport, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes or fires.

4. Trauma due to physical and psychological violence

Situations of both physical and psychological abuse towards a person can also end up generating trauma in the victim, which it can be more or less intense depending on the type of abuse she has suffered.

Emotional abuse is just as important or more important than physical abuse, as it usually leaves consequences in the person’s psyche that can be very deep and negative for their mental health.

This type of abuse can be perpetrated through beatings, beatings, torture, systematic harassment, beatings and many other modalities that attack the physical or psychological integrity of the victim.

5. Interpersonal trauma

Interpersonal trauma originates from serious experiences that endanger the victim’s life and are caused by the direct action of another human being or group of human beings.

These situations caused by other people can be thefts, kidnappings and all types of acts of terrorism where the life and physical integrity of the person are threatened.

What is the treatment for traumatic variants?

Within the framework of psychotherapy, it is assumed that each case is unique and deserves a tailor-made intervention, based on the characteristics and needs of the patient, as well as on the causes of his psychopathology. Now, the most used techniques and strategies are as follows.

1. Cognitive restructuring

Through this process of psychotherapy, the person is helped to let go of the harmful beliefs about the world and about themselves that the patient already had. resignify the trauma.

2. Systematic desensitization

As trauma relies heavily on anxiety-like emotional imbalances, systematic desensitization is used in psychotherapy, a typical resource for the treatment of anxiety disorders. It consists in helping the person to face his fears in a progressive wayin this case his memories, giving him support and techniques to keep control and not fall into a dynamic of avoidance.

3. Mindfulness

Mindfulness provides a very valuable aid when it comes to allowing that the person concentrates on the present moment and let go of worries about the past and the supposed future that is approaching. Therefore, it is a fulcrum from which to get rid of intrusive thoughts and anxiety.

Do you want to start a psychotherapy process?

If you are interested in consulting a psychologist to improve your mental health within the framework of psychotherapy, contact me.

My number is Javier Ares and I am a specialist in intervention in emotional and anxiety problems. I can help you in person or by video call.

Leave a Comment