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Emotional Or Psychological Trauma


 by Lateefat Odunuga

 Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It is not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatised.

Causes of emotional or psychological trauma

An event will most likely lead to emotional or psychological trauma if:

– It happened unexpectedly.

– You were unprepared for it.

– You felt powerless to prevent it.

– It happened repeatedly.

– Someone was intentionally cruel.

– It happened in childhood.

Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by single-blow, one-time events, such as a horrible accident, a natural disaster, or a violent attack. – Trauma can also stem from ongoing, relentless stress, such as living in a crime-ridden neighbourhood or struggling with cancer.

Commonly overlooked causes of emotional and psychological trauma

– Falls or sports injuries

– Surgery (especially in the first 3 years of life)

– The sudden death of someone close

– A car accident

– The breakup of a significant relationship

– A humiliating or deeply disappointing experience

– The discovery of a life-threatening illness or disabling condition


*Lateefat Odunuga is a Clinical Psychologist and a behavioural analyst. You can reach her on 08138002961


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