Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives. Psychologists can help these individuals find constructive ways of managing their emotions.
Adapted from the APA Help Center article, "Recovering emotionally from disaster."
After Traumatic Events
Talking to your children about the recent spate of school shootings
Every child will respond to trauma differently. Some will have no ill effects; others may suffer an immediate and acute effect. Still others may not show signs of stress until sometime after the event.
Recovering emotionally from disaster
Understanding the emotions and normal responses that follow a disaster or other traumatic event can help you cope with your feelings, thoughts and behaviors – and can help you on the path to recovery.
Open Up! Writing About Trauma Reduces Stress, Aids Immunity
Writing about difficult, even traumatic, experiences appears to be good for health on several levels - raising immunity and other health measures and improving life functioning.
Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting
As a parent, you may be struggling with how to talk with your children about a shooting.
Memories of Childhood Abuse
Tips to help you better understand how repressed, recovered or suggested memories may occur and what you can do if you or a family member is concerned about a childhood memory.
How to find help through seeing a psychologist
This brief question-and-answer guide provides some basic information to help individuals take advantage of outpatient (non-hospital) psychotherapy.
How 'Sesame Street' is helping kids learn to cope with trauma
October 6, 2017, ABC News
Helping children recover from the trauma of disaster
September 1, 2017, CNN
Pediatricians offer strategies for talking to kids about bad news
August 14, 2017, The Washington Post
What 'Game of Thrones' tells us about trauma
August 7, 2017, CNN
Related APA Publications
APA Offices and Programs
Working Group Report on Child Maltreatment Prevention in Community Health Centers
This APA report recommends strategies for preventing maltreatment and promoting positive parenting practices.
Children and trauma: Report of the Task Force on Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma in Children and Adolescents
The Task Force on Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma in Children and Adolescents identified “what we know” and “what we need to know” regarding the development and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in youth.