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With June being Trauma Awareness Month, it’s a good time to remember that trauma can come in many forms.

Recognizing the impact of trauma

With June being Trauma Awareness Month, it’s a good time to remember that trauma can come in many forms. These forms include what we sometimes refer to as “Big-T” trauma— like a natural disaster—and  “Little-t” trauma—like parents divorcing.

In either case, one key factor that makes such experiences distressing is their ability to completely dismantle our worldview—our beliefs, our sense of safety, and our assumption that we can generally predict what will happen next.

When we talk about trauma, we often hear about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A far more common experience following trauma, but one not as well-known, is the concept of “Post-Traumatic Growth."

PTG is the experience of positive transformation in the aftermath of a traumatic experience. In episode 96 of the American Psychiatric Association’s podcast, “Speaking of Psychology,” Richard Tedeschi, PhD, of UNC-Charlotte explores this concept and why some people experience profound positive change after enduring a terrible experience, while others do not. 

If you’d like to learn more about trauma, consult the resources below. Please know that it’s okay to need extra support to get through a trauma experience. Indiana University School of Medicine's Department of Mental Health Services is here to help support medical trainees through all life experiences. If you’d like to talk with a member of our team, please reach out via the portal or by calling our main number: 317-278-2383.

Resources:

  • What Happened To You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD, & Oprah Winfrey
  • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD
  • Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson
  • The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love by Amir Levine, MD & Rachel S.F. Heller, MA
  • Text or call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
  • Rape, Abuse & Incest Network
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Medical Student Education

The Medical Student Education team includes student affairs, curricular affairs and student support professionals across the state who support medical students at every step of their journey.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.