Many people think of trauma as something just veterans experience. While it’s true that many veterans do experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it’s more common in the general population than you might expect. There are two types of trauma most people experience: the BIG T and the little t. Simply put, a BIG “T” trauma is exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. This can occur by first hand exposure but can also happen if you witness the event, and sometimes even learning about a tragedy that happened to someone close to you can be extremely traumatic.
A small “t” trauma is any event that occurs at a critical time in our development which leaves a debilitating mark on our self-esteem or self-worth, sense of safety, or attachment with others. Most people have long forgotten the event but the emotional imprint it leaves can cause problems relating to others personally or professionally.