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Childhood Trauma


Complex Childhood Trauma

The term complex trauma refers to when a person during childhood has been exposed to multiple or prolonged traumatic events and has suffered a deep impact on his or her personality of this exposure. Typically, complex trauma exposure involves the simultaneous or sequential occurrence of child maltreatment—including psychological maltreatment, neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and domestic violence—that is chronic, begins in early childhood, and occurs within the family. Exposure to these initial traumatic experiences—and the resulting emotional dysregulation and the loss of safety, direction, and the ability to detect or respond to danger cues—often sets off a chain of events leading to subsequent or repeated trauma exposure in adolescence and adulthood.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse to a child includes a wide range of sexual behaviors that take place between the child and an older person, or alternatively between a child and another child/adolescent. Behaviors that are sexually abusive often involve bodily contact, such as sexual kissing, touching, touching of genitals, and intercourse. However, behaviors may be sexually abusive even if they do not involve contact, for instance when the adult seduces the child, “sexualizes” the relationship with the child or in other ways implicitly or explicitly exposes the child to sexual situations such as pornography, watching sexual intercourse, etc.


Domestic Violence

Domestic violence here refers to threatened or actual physical violence or emotional abuse between members of the child's family, in the presence of the child or involving the child. It may include threatened or actual physical violence or emotional abuse to the child within the context of the family behavior. A person that has been exposed to this as a child may have emotional or psychological problems such as depression, dissociation symptoms, or other psychological disorders.



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