What is Trauma and PTSD?

Trauma can be a part of everyday life. Any unexpected experience that shakes the body, mind, and overwhelms one's ability to cope is considered a trauma. There are two kinds of trauma, big T trauma and little t trauma, more on that here

Relational trauma, is what happens if you've experienced a betrayal of trust, confusion, abuse of power, a sense of loss, or felt trapped with another person, especially if that person was someone who was meant to keep you safe and protected. 

What is complex trauma?

Complex trauma is psychological disorder that often occurs due to ongoing, repetitive trauma that involves harm, prolonged abuse, uneven power dynamics in interpersonal relationships or persistent abandonment by caregivers. You may have complex PTSD if you have have symptoms of trauma that last for a few months, or even many years, and the symptoms have been impacting your life and day to day experience in a significant way. 

How do you know if you have symptoms of this thing called “trauma”?

You have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • You re-experience the event by upsetting thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks.
  • You're easily triggered, irritated and are often jumpy.
  • You avoid people, places, and conversations.
  • You have a hard time concentrating and have reduced interest in parts of your life. 
  • Feeling distant from others and the world around you, feeling "spaced out". 
  • You experience outbursts of anger.
  • You have trouble sleeping.
  • You don't feel safe trusting others and feel insecure in the world around you. 
  • You have a hard time being present with yourself and others in your day to day life.

What is dissociation and what does it mean to have a dissociative disorder? 


Dissociation is a normal part of every day life. Individuals who have gone through extra tough circumstances and difficult losses, abuse, have felt helpless or alone in terrifying situations may have used dissociation frequently, leaving them feeling spaced out and disconnected. Some others terms for this kind of disconnection is depersonalization and derealization (more on that here). 

You may have a dissociative disorder if your body has become accustomed to using this form of defense in everyday life.

You may find yourself dissociating or feeling far away more often than not, or in ways that it causes disruption in daily life.  In therapy, we help you assess the level of dissociative symptoms and begin treating them so you can begin feeling more present, connected and hopeful about life and its possibilities. You can build a meaningful life. Dissociation has a way of working with you when you're ready to do the healing. 

 Read more on that here.