Psychotrauma

Trauma is the Greek word for wound. A psychotrauma (also: psychological trauma) is the psychological injury that is sustained after an overwhelming (life) event.

Specific domain

While there is only a limited incidence of psychotrauma and seriously overwhelming incidents do not occur very often, either, their consequences are profound, both for the individual concerned (long-term distress, for example) and for society in a wider context (with, for instance, individuals or [professional] groups going off the rails, legal problems), but also economically (causing, for example, sickness absence, an inability to work, improper treatment) and politically (involving, for instance, preparations for terrorist threats).
The financial consequences are (therefore) likewise enormous, both for individuals personally and for society in general.
Internationally, there is a constant demand for psychosocial care services. However, this demand is scattered all over the world while the care workers’ field is a fragmented one.

Context is important

One of the main features of psychotrauma is that the context of the overwhelming event(s) that brought about the development of the psychotrauma plays a very important role. This context and the recognition and acknowledgement of its importance are crucial to the efficacy of all services and care provided around psychotrauma. Since this context must needs be taken into account, costs for care and services will necessarily increase if this is not taken into consideration.

Specialist domain

Psychotrauma constitutes a specialist domain, requiring specialized personnel. A national demand for this kind of specialism does exist yet due to low prevalence and incidence it is hard for organizations to offer psychotrauma care in a way that is cost-effective. Also consider that such a care provision is permanently ‘stand by’ and can be activated quickly and scaled up, if necessary. Internationally, this specialism is also in demand although the specific expertise is, again, often fragmented.