Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Todd DuBoseEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_712

Trauma is the description given to an overwhelming, uncanny, or absurd experience, usually involving some kind of violence, abuse, or loss that threatens death of injury to oneself or another and that resists one’s capacities to process, make meaning of, or schematize the occurrence in typical or familiar ways. Traumatic experiences can be short lived and acute or chronic and seemingly unending. Often accompanied by various experiences and comportments of fear, worry, anger, and crises of meaning, traumatic experiences are encounters with the overwhelming and the overpowering.

Traumatic experiences are often considered experiences that “shatters assumptions” (Janoff-Bulman 2002; Kauffman 2002) or belie expectations of how life events should occur. We naturally personalize traumatic events in our lives as we operate from a web of meaning that presumes life is ordered, fair, and benevolent. We live out our existence viewing chaos, chance, random destruction, and absurdity as flaws in...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyChicagoUSA