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Understanding PTSD: Forgetting “Trauma”

Understanding PTSD: Forgetting “Trauma” The concept of “psychological trauma” conflates emotional responses to traumatic events such as motor vehicle accidents, muggings, and house fires, responses to natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and responses to war, chronic physical abuse, prolonged torture, and repeated gang‐rape as an act of “ethnic cleansing.” It is argued that, from a psychological, human, and moral perspective, use of a single construct to describe responses to such a range of horrific happenings makes no sense. The benefits and limits of conceptualizing PTSD as a unifying concept for describing psychological responses to calamitous events are discussed. The consequences (with respect to clinical work, research, and social policy) of failing to distinguish between responses to relatively circumscribed traumatic events, more extreme, prolonged, or repeated individual traumatization, and collectively experienced mass violence against entire communities are examined. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Analyses of Social Issues & Public Policy Wiley

Understanding PTSD: Forgetting “Trauma”

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
1529-7489
eISSN
1530-2415
DOI
10.1111/j.1530-2415.2003.00012.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The concept of “psychological trauma” conflates emotional responses to traumatic events such as motor vehicle accidents, muggings, and house fires, responses to natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and responses to war, chronic physical abuse, prolonged torture, and repeated gang‐rape as an act of “ethnic cleansing.” It is argued that, from a psychological, human, and moral perspective, use of a single construct to describe responses to such a range of horrific happenings makes no sense. The benefits and limits of conceptualizing PTSD as a unifying concept for describing psychological responses to calamitous events are discussed. The consequences (with respect to clinical work, research, and social policy) of failing to distinguish between responses to relatively circumscribed traumatic events, more extreme, prolonged, or repeated individual traumatization, and collectively experienced mass violence against entire communities are examined.

Journal

Analyses of Social Issues & Public PolicyWiley

Published: Dec 1, 2003

References