Victim, Survivor, Thriver

Trauma is typically understood as occurring when a person's ability to manage events in her or his life is overwhelmed by a particularly challenging or unfamiliar negative event. Traumatic events can include, but are not limited to, natural disasters, acts of terror, rape, incest, gang violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault. In many of these situations, past coping responses are compromised, rendered useless, or perceived as ineffective. The effects of trauma can last over long periods, waxing and waning at different points. Assumptions of invulnerability, the world as meaningful, and the self as competent are challenged. Psychological needs of safety, trust, esteem, intimacy, and control are under assault.

The human reactions to extreme adversity, when plotted on a graph, produce a bell-shaped curve. On the left ...

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