A traumatic experience is an event that threatens someone’s life, safety or well being.
Trauma can include a direct encounter with a dangerous or threatening event, or it can involve witnessing the endangerment or suffering of another living being.
A key condition that makes these events traumatic is that they can overwhelm a person’s capacity to cope, and elicit intense feelings such as fear, terror, helplessness, hopelessness, and despair.
Traumatic events include:
- emotional, physical, and sexual abuse
- and despair
- physical assaults
- witnessing family, school or community violence
- acts of terrorism
- serious accidents
- serious injuries
- intrusive or painful medical procedures
- loss of loved ones
Buffington, K., Dierkhising, C. B., Marsh, S. C. (2010). Ten things every juvenile court judge should know about trauma and delinquency. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 61(3), 14.