The Trauma Continuum: What is It?
The Trauma Continuum is a conceptual model that we created to distinguish between shock, trauma and stress states. It recognizes that each state activates different parts of the brain and different parts of the nervous system, evokes different post-traumatic responses, involves different orientations to time, and has explicit physiological characteristics.
The chart below summarizes these differences.
Because of both the complexity and the specificity in the Trauma Continuum, shock, trauma, and stress states each require very different and specific psychotherapeutic interventions. The Continuum identifies interventions that are specific to each of these three states, and describes the state-appropriate (and ethical) clinical support for practitioners to offer their clients.
This second chart summarize the different interventions for shock, trauma and stress states.
The articles below talk more about different aspects of the Trauma Continuum.
Developmental shock experiences happen without any conscious control or effort because they are regulated by the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system has three parts: the parasympathetic, sympathetic and Social Engagement System. These parts all work together to help people maintain an internal sense of emotional balance.
Early experiences involving developmental shock, trauma and stress form the foundation for intractable conflict in adult relationships. Developmental psychologist John Bowlby said in 1969 that early relational experiences create a child’s internal working model of reality. Longitudinal research by Krause & Haverkamp in 1996 indicated that the internal working model of reality remains virtually unchanged […]
In the traumatology literature, stress is typically associated with post-traumatic stress and the Adrenal Stress Response, and not recognized as its own discrete category. It is typically lumped together with trauma and shock. Because there is already an abundance of information on these topics in the literature, we are address them separately in our book […]
Infants often experience developmental shock during the bonding stage. When they experience abandonment, abuse or neglect during the bonding stage fall directly into shock states. Their Mindbodies are so energetically attuned with their caregivers that they are truly devastated when they experience a break in their bonding. They are acutely aware of nonverbal communication with […]
The termsdevelopmental shock,developmental trauma, and developmental stress are breakthrough concepts in the fields of mental health, pre- and perinatal psychology, developmental psychology, traumatology and complementary medicine. Because shock, trauma and stress states disrupt human development, we describe them as developmental