While I have specialized in the psychological care of people who have been deeply traumatized by overwhelming life experiences, it has been difficult to grasp an operational definition of exactly what the trauma means. The problem is often focusing on the event, what we refer to as the traumatic stressor. We are often asked why the same kind of event stressor debilitates one person, and leaves the other seemingly unharmed, or even in some cases stronger psychologically. The issue is we must look within the person to make sense of this question. I am reminded of my undergraduate psychology course many years ago which described psychology as the study of individual differences.
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