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The Trauma Experience: How to Categorize your Trauma

Updated: Jan 20

Psychologist DR. ESSLIN TERRIGHENA explains different categories of trauma.


Traumatic events and subsequent trauma can be placed into three over-arching categories.


Acute trauma refers to direct or vicarious experience of a single life-threatening incident, such as a serious accident, violent attack, suicide of a loved one, or natural or man-made disaster.

Chronic trauma refers to direct or vicarious repeated and prolonged experience of a life-threatening or severely distressing event. This can include abuse, torture, or sexual assault that occurs again and again over a period of time, for example in the case of domestic violence, medical trauma or kidnapping and hostage situations.


Complex trauma refers to direct or vicarious exposure to multiple varied traumatic incidents. This can include conflict zones, community violence, multiple abuse or assault incidents.


Different types of trauma may require distinct trauma treatments to be processed and resolved in a healthy adaptive way. It is essential to identify which category of trauma fits your experience and tailor therapy to your specific needs and goals.


To find out more about how trauma therapy can help you recover from past trauma, book a consultation with psychologist Dr. Esslin Terrighena, please contact (852) 2521 4668 or e.terrighena@mind-balance.org.


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