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What Do We Mean by the Word “Trauma”? An Interdisciplinary Exploration

The word "trauma" has accrued different meanings in various disciplinary contexts, with a more rapid accrual of meanings in recent years as trauma has been studied alongside related and often overlapping concepts (injury, harm, wounding, etc.). Theologians and ethicists, literary theorists, sociologists, psychoanalysts, and pastoral caregivers all engage trauma but do they mean the same thing? Definitions seem to be broader or narrower depending on whether one takes a theoretical or a clinical approach. Clinicians may use the term more specifically than theologians or ethicists. Writing on moral injury, post-traumatic growth, and trauma studies reveals multiple definitions as well, in addition to the DSM 5. This session addresses the question of what we mean by the word "trauma" and what does it matter?


Eileen Campbell-Reed, eileen.campbellreed@gmail.com

Lisa M. Cataldo, lisacataldo7@gmail.com

Gabriella Lettini, glettini@sksm.edu

Michael Yandell, m.yandell@me.com