Research on psychological trauma has seen a remarkable evolution during the last 150 years from the early days of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic seduction theory advancing to today's contemporary third-wave behaviorism. Trauma theory can be thought of as progressing in four major eras: the early years of psychoanalytic theory, a period of behaviorism, a time of cognitive-behaviorism, and most recently an incorporation of mindfulness and acceptance into cognitive-behavioral theory.

Pioneering Contributions of Psychoanalysis and Behaviorism

Shortly after World War I and again following World War II, a few investigators identified a severely disabling condition occurring after combat exposure, which involved symptoms such as startle reactions, sleep disturbances, dizziness, and blackouts. The terms shell shock, traumatic war neurosis, combat fatigue, and irritable heart were used to describe a ...

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