(Psychological) Trauma

Traumatic Narrative


PTSD and Trauma are not the same


Potential Traumatic Event


"The will is the working arm of the Soul. The will and the intellect. And if our will is captured by fear, by anxiety, by ignorance, then that will is taken off us, our autonomy is lost, and we're trampled." – Geoff Thrompson


"Trauma" = "psychological Trauma"


Whenever I refer to "Trauma" or "traumatic"/"traumatizing" events I mean primarily the psychological/emotional level. Physical trauma is not meant by this - unless specifically stated. However, physical trauma can lead to psychological trauma in certain cases.

It is important to make a distinction between ...

... the trauma = the (traumatic) experience itself

... the trauma = the emotional/psychological state after the (traumatic) experience and related to the same

One would say correctly:

"I am traumatized."

Distinction from PTSD

"PTSD" and "Trauma" are not synonyms - despite all too often being used in a synonymous way.

PTSD develops only in ~30% of people who have a traumatic experience.

This figure varies hugely among studies, populations and the specific kind of trauma that is investigated - yet it gives a rough idea that by no means a traumatic event always leads to PTSD.

In turn, PTSD is always (and by definition) caused by a traumatic event.

This is curious since the presence of PTSD should lead to a search for the causing traumatic experience which might not even be remembered or be remembered but not given the appropriate importance (due to defense mechanisms at work).


PTSD is one possible outcome of a traumatic experience. Other phenomena which might be more likely to develop after a traumatic experience are depression and addiction (and others).



Helplessness is a core feature of a traumatic experience.

At the heart of all traumatic experiences lies the fact that one experienced an emotionally painful experience (which can be physically painful at the same time) with the inability to end, limit or meaningfully influence the situation, i.e. helplessness.

Consequences of traumatic experiences

People can experience events that most people would describe as "traumatic" and have little or no continuing symptoms.

This fact must not be used in the argumentation that people who react strongly to distressing events are somewhat "weaker" or more "unstable" than others.

The individual reaction on a specific kind of distressing stimulus depends on several factors, like:

personal factors


which has a "personal" component

external resources

social support

financial stability/independence

internal resources

Approach in the ECS

Imaginative Methods



T and t Trauma

Trauma changes you.

... your

Emotional Structure