Understanding the 3 Types of Trauma and How Counseling Can Help

As defined by the American Psychological Association, trauma is an emotional response to a disturbing or distressing event such as the unexpected death of a loved one, a life-threatening car accident, sexual violence, or natural disaster. 70% of adults have experienced a traumatic event, and 20% of adults who experience traumatic events develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Below, we highlight the three types of trauma, i.e., acute, chronic, and complex trauma, and discuss how counseling can help overcome them.

Type 1: Acute Trauma

Acute trauma often results from a single traumatic incident such as a vehicular accident, sexual assault, receiving a life-threatening diagnosis, or a natural disaster such as a flood, fire, or earthquake. The event is serious enough to threaten the individual’s physical or emotional security and creates a deep-rooted impression that affects how the person behaves and thinks. Symptoms of acute trauma include:

  • Irritation;
  • Confusion;
  • Aggressive behavior;
  • Insomnia or nightmares;
  • Excessive panic or anxiety;
  • Lack of grooming or self-care;
  • Inability to focus on studies or work.

Trauma counseling can help treat symptoms of acute trauma in adults and help individuals confront and overcome the trauma memory. Moreover, individuals who receive trauma counseling are less likely to develop chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Type 2: Chronic Trauma

Chronic trauma is trauma that has occurred over an extended period. Chronic trauma can result from repeated sexual abuse, serious long-term illness, prolonged child abuse, direct experience of ongoing domestic violence, or exposure to repeated natural disasters. The symptoms of chronic trauma can appear months or years after the event and may manifest as:

  • Anxiety;
  • Flashbacks;
  • Trust issues;
  • Extreme anger;
  • Instability with work;
  • Unstable relationships;
  • Unpredictable emotional outbursts.

Trauma counseling can help individuals deal with chronic trauma. Through counseling, you can understand what triggers your symptoms and how your symptoms affect your day-to-day life and develop the skills needed to deal with the feelings resulting from chronic trauma. 

Type 3: Complex Trauma

Complex trauma results from exposure to a series of traumatic events over an extended period. Complex trauma can be caused by childhood abuse, being manipulated or forced into sex work, being a prisoner of war, or repeatedly witnessing abuse or violence. Complex trauma can present itself in the form of:

  • Self-isolation;
  • Relationship difficulties;
  • Feelings of guilt or shame;
  • Difficulty controlling your emotions;
  • Negative thoughts about the world and self. 

Trauma counseling can help you understand traumatic events, which helps you start the healing process. Counseling will provide you with new skills to manage your feelings and responses, and while your memories of the trauma will remain, they will have less power over your emotions.

Consider Trauma Counseling When Dealing With Distressing Experiences

Whatever the type of trauma, if you are finding it difficult to cope with distressing experiences, you should seek psychological help. With a counselor, you can talk about your experiences, feelings, or any stressful situation, after which the counselor can help you address any symptoms you are experiencing, regain a sense of self, and overcome trauma-related emotions.


For any important information please contact us Email GadgetsNg

[Button id="1"]

Related Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please to view this site kindly unblock your adblocker from your browser or open with another browser