A main purpose of this blog is to help spread knowledge about mental health and related topics in hopes it can be helpful to someone out there. I was given the advice to start out writing something on different categories of mental health difficulties, and the first one that came up was trauma.
One of my observations (as a clinical psychologist) is that we, the public, tend to think of trauma as something in the realm of a wartime experience or physical/sexual abuse. This idea is personified in the hilarious octopus from Disney’s Finding Dory who alleges to have undergone “terrible experiences” in the open ocean. Of course, certain experiences are obviously traumatic due to their extreme and difficult nature. However, there are other forms of highly distressing emotional experiences that can, over time, lead to mental health difficulties. Without a broader understanding of the clinical meaning of the word trauma, people may be unable to identify their own experiences and symptoms as needing clinical attention. As a result, people might deprive themselves of mental health treatment, perhaps leading to adverse outcomes for themselves, their loved ones, and societies at large.