The Most Common Types of Trauma: How to Overcome Them

Many of us go through trauma at some point in our lives. But what this looks like is different for each person. There are different trauma situations, and each may impact an individual’s psychological and mental health differently.

Some types of trauma might cause you to consider alternative treatments and some may require long-term therapies.

Hypnotherapy is a type of alternative therapy that can be effective in treating various types of trauma. It uses guided relaxation, concentration, and focused attention to achieve heightened awareness, commonly known as a trance. In this state, you can uncover the cause of your trauma and be empowered to make changes.

Let’s take a look at some types of trauma, and how hypnosis can help.

What is Trauma?

Trauma refers to an extremely distressing or disturbing event or experience that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope. It can be caused by a single event, such as a car accident or natural disaster, or it can be the result of ongoing experiences, such as physical abuse or neglect.

Types of Trauma

Here are the most common types of trauma.

Acute Trauma

Acute trauma refers to a single traumatic event that occurs unexpectedly, such as a physical assault or a life-threatening accident. This type of trauma can have an immediate and dramatic impact on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being.

Childhood Trauma

Childhood Trauma: Childhood trauma refers to any traumatic event or experience that occurs during childhood. This can include physical or sexual abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic violence, or being exposed to substance abuse.

Childhood trauma impacts a person’s development and can have long-lasting effects on a person’s emotional, cognitive, and social development. It can impact how they form attachments, regulate emotions, and interact with others.

Vicarious Trauma

Vicarious trauma, also known as secondary trauma, is trauma that is experienced indirectly through witnessing or hearing about someone else’s traumatic experiences. This can occur, for example, in professions such as healthcare, emergency response, or counseling.

Situational or Interpersonal Trauma

Some types of trauma create the effect of being afraid of a specific person or persons. You could call these interpersonal in nature. Some of them involve toxic narcissists, or others with different diagnoses, who have the drive to oppress or terrify others.

Other types of trauma are very situational. When a war veteran comes back from the field with PTSD, that is often seen as a type of situational trauma. This can be hard to resolve with talk therapy, which may require long-term treatment with that modality.

Chronic or Episodic Trauma

Some types of trauma are caused by a single episode or experience.

Chronic trauma, also known as complex trauma, is the result of repeated and prolonged traumatic experiences. This can include

  • Ongoing physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Living in a war zone
  • Being a survivor of domestic violence

Individuals who have experienced chronic or episodic trauma may develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health conditions. These symptoms can include

  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Hyperarousal
  • Avoidance behaviors
  • A general sense of fear and unease.

Mild, Moderate, and Severe

Then there are different levels of trauma in our lives.

Mild trauma may go untreated because we don’t evaluate it well or acknowledge it at all. Or you may not be consciously aware of a traumatic event as a cause of a problem you are experiencing today. That could even be true for some types of moderate trauma.

Severe trauma often involves a threat to one’s life or the lives of others and can include experiences such as war, torture, sexual assault, or childhood abuse.

The effects of severe trauma can be debilitating, leading to severe anxiety, depression, dissociation, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How Do We Respond to Trauma?

There are four types of trauma responses

  • Flight
  • Fight
  • Freeze
  • Fawn

These four types of responses can manifest in the following ways for different people.


This refers to a tendency to avoid or escape from a traumatic situation. People who experience the flight response may find themselves constantly on the move, seeking new environments or relationships to escape from the memories or triggers associated with their trauma.

This can lead to a pattern of restlessness, impulsive decision-making, and difficulty forming deep connections with others.

They may also engage in avoidant behaviors such as substance abuse or excessive work to distract themselves from their painful memories.


In response to trauma, some individuals may exhibit a “fight” response. This means that they feel an intense need to confront and overcome the trauma they have experienced. These individuals may become hyper-vigilant, constantly on guard for potential threats, and may have strong feelings of anger and aggression.

When someone has a fight response to trauma, they may also engage in avoidant behaviors such as substance abuse or excessive work to distract themselves from their painful memories. They may also have difficulty trusting others and struggle with maintaining healthy relationships.

Individuals with a fight response may experience frequent outbursts of anger or tend to exhibit violent behavior. They may feel the need to assert control and dominance in their interactions with others, as a way of ensuring their safety and security.

While the fight response can be essential in some situations, it can also lead to further distress and negative consequences if not addressed and managed properly.


Freeze is another common response to trauma. When faced with a highly distressing event, some individuals may feel overwhelmed and unable to react. Their body and mind may essentially “freeze” as a way to protect themselves from the pain and fear they are experiencing.

This freeze response can manifest in various ways. Some people may feel numb and disconnected from their emotions, while others may experience feelings of being stuck or unable to move forward in life. They may also have difficulty making decisions or taking appropriate action.


This response involves the individual trying to appease or please the person or situation that is causing the trauma. It is a survival mechanism where the person may engage in behaviors like people-pleasing, excessive compliance, or even submission to avoid further harm.

Individuals who have experienced trauma and have a fawn response may find it challenging to assert their own needs and boundaries. They may put the needs of others over theirs, leading to difficulties in relationships and a lack of self-care.

How Hypnotherapy Can Help

What all of these types of trauma have in common is that they may respond to different types of therapy and change modalities.

When people have more self-awareness of their situation and are open to different ways of perceiving past events, they can start to overcome their trauma.

We help to create that self-awareness and change with relaxation and brain-reprogramming wellness techniques through hypnosis that help our clients access the resources that they have within themselves to conquer the problems that they face.

During hypnosis, your therapist will use deep relaxation and guided imagery to help you explore your subconscious mind which holds your traumatic memories and experiences.

In this trance-like state, your therapist will guide you to release any emotions that may be holding you back, reprogram negative thought beliefs and patterns, and reframe your response to the traumatic experience.

Let Us Help You Take Back Control of Your Life

You may not have control over a past traumatic experience, but you can control how you respond to it now. With hypnotherapy, you can help you get back that control and improve your quality of life.

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Schedule a consultation today with a hypnotherapist from Silicon Valley to reclaim your life, and feel more confidence and peace.

What are the effects of trauma (trauma impact)?

Trauma can have a wide range of effects on mental and physical health, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, substance use disorder, and physical symptoms like headaches and stomachaches.

What are the symptoms of trauma?

Trauma symptoms can appear soon after the event or even years later. They can include flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of reminders of the event, negative thoughts and feelings, and difficulty concentrating.

How can trauma affect relationships?

Trauma can make it difficult to trust others and form healthy relationships. Trauma survivors may struggle with intimacy, isolation, and conflict.

Can trauma cause physical problems?

Yes, trauma can have a negative impact on physical health. Trauma survivors are more likely to experience chronic pain, sleep problems, and weakened immune systems.

How do people heal from trauma?

Trauma is treatable with the help of mental health professionals. Hypnotherapy can help trauma survivors understand and process their experiences, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and improve their quality of life.

The information in this article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to provide medical or mental health advice. Terms used in this article are meant to be interpreted as common vernacular and are not meant to diagnose or treat any type of mental health disorder or physical disease. We do not diagnose or treat any type of mental health disorder or physical disease, nor do we hold ourselves out to offer these services. Please seek care from a licensed mental health or medical doctor for these purposes.