What is trauma?

What is trauma?

  • A bodyreaction.
  • Not a disorder – but an experience in the body that can be healed.
  • Steals joy.


Type 1 – a specific event

Type 2 – life situation

Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD), Bessel van der Kolk

Relationell trauma – the first 1000 days – Allan Schore

Not covered by the PTSD diagnos

Many people who are traumatized get other diagnosis: depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism.

Complex PTSD – traumatized over long time by people who should be safe.

Dissociation – memories activated in the right brain, closing down the left brain where we talk acn create a story about ourselves


Signs of trauma

  • fear, unsafety
  • control
  • anxiety and panic attacks
  • flashbacks
  • triggers
  • relives the event – in speech, play, searching for danger
  • sleep problems
  • can not relax
  • hyperactivity
  • numbness
  • feels too much or too less
  • problems with regulating emotions
  • anger
  • acting out
  • problems with relationships
  • low self-esteem
  • misunderstandings
  • psycho somatic reactions
  • frozen face and body movements
  • no apetite
  • regression
  • no energy
  • depression
  • can not be creative
  • personality changes
  • self destructive behavior
  • sexual behaviors
  • thoughts of revenge
  • guilt and shame
  • magical thinking
  • meaninglessness


Babies: not growing, attachmentdisorders, tensed, no eye-contact

Preschool children: autistic behaviors, obsessive play

School children: take too much responsibility, weting bed

Teenagers: hopelesnnes, risktakers, avoids to be adult or becomes adult too soon, need of strong stimuli


Signs and symtoms might show up after 6 months, or 1 ½ to 2 years.


Common feelings:

Powerlessness – I don´t know what to do.

Loneliness – no one sees me and what I am experiencing.

Abandonment – no one understand me or helps me.

Shame – something must be wrong with me.

Guilt – it is my fault.


Immanuel Journaling:

I see you.

I hear you.

I understand how big this is for you.

I am glad to be with you and treat your weakness tenderly.

I can do something about what you are going through.


A person can experience a critical event without being traumatized if

  • having a safe attachment.
  • having good selfesteem and trust themselves to be able to deal with what happens – having previous experiences of dealing with hard situations.
  • ss relational.
  • gets and feels support, expecially from the family.
  • have people around – parents – who trust they can protect and do their best to protect.
  • is able in some way to understand what is going on.
  • were able to prepare in some way for the incident.
  • is offered to express and tell about what happened, in different ways.
  • is content with the own contribution during the incident.
  • see that they can learn something from what happened.


Post traumatic growing!


What can lead to trauma?

Any situation where a person experience

  • loss of safety – loneliness
  • loss of integrity – abuse
  • loss of control and strategies – powerlessness
  • loss of hope – hopelessness
  • A critical incident
    • Natural disasters
    • Accidents
    • Fire
    • War
    • Kidnapped
    • Terror attacks
  • Daily events
    • Falling
    • Strong sounds, lights, cold, heat
    • Loneliness
    • Be lost
    • Not feeling protected
    • Fail
    • Hospitalization and treatments
    • Close to drown
    • Close to suffocate
  • School
    • Bullying
    • Pressure
  • Big changes
    • Moves
    • Divorce
    • New family member
    • Sickness
  • Losses
    • Loss of biological family
  • See violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual abuse
  • Parents who can not meed children´s needs
  • Witness other people experiencing hard experiences

Ulrika Ernvik