The 12-month prevalence of PTSD in the United States is 6.8%, while the lifetime prevalence is 3.6% for men and 9.7% for women (1, 2, 3).  Intimate partner violence contributes to the trauma population, as one study found that domestic violence fueled 22% of violent crimes committed against women and 3% of violent crimes committed against men (4).  Another study found that 94% of rape survivors met the symptomatic critieria for PTSD shortly after the assault, while 47% met the criteria three months later (5).  Whether it is sexual violence, physical violence, or emotional violence, many people are affected by trauma.


The estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD among American Vietnam Veterans was found to be 15.2% for men and 18.1% for women (6).  The estimated prevalence of PTSD among Gulf War Veterans was found to be 10.1% (7).  The prevalence of those deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan for service were found to be  13.8% (8).


Research also shows that complex trauma follows chronic trauma from childhood, which can manifest as issues with attachment security, affect-regulation, biological regulation, dissociation, cognition, and self-concept (9).  Not only does trauma cause biopsychosocial problems over the course of a person's life, but data shows that adverse childhood experiences (ACES) can lead to negative health outcomes like chemical dependency, heart and liver disease, intimate partner violence, obesity, and suicidality (10).


If you have been exposed to trauma, this Trauma Wheel is intended to bring understanding to things you may have exprienced or are currently experiencing since the traumatic event happened.  Sometimes, the symptoms of trauma can be perceived as normal struggles in life, when in fact they can be traced back to the trauma.

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After practicing as a psychotherapist practicum student in a rape trauma center, I saw the impact of trauma in the lives of many individuals; some who saw that trauma was a part of their life from an early age, and some that were met with unfortunate circumstances as an adult. What I've come to learn, is trauma wounds can heal, but it takes time and support from others. It also takes psychoeducation that puts a name and understanding to the unwanted sensations and experiences that tend to follow exposure to traumatic events. This Trauma Wheel was inspired by the clients I served as a mental health practicum student inside a domestic violence shelter. Often times, moments spent with the clients in the shelter setting were short and fleeting, yet there was trauma in the past that occurred, with the client receiving minimal to no psychoeducation before acceptance into the DV program. As such, this brief psychoeducational tool was developed to validate what clients reported experiencing, as well as for the purpose of helping them receive the appropriate treatment. It is intended to be used in short term treatment settings, coupled with linkage to providers for higher care if necessary. Please, share this Trauma Wheel with those you may know that work with the trauma population. If you yourself have been traumatized in some way, find a professional that can help you cope and manage your symptoms. In the mean time, use this PDF to gain a better understanding of trauma and begin your journey of healing. You are not alone - and there are people out in the world that want to help you.


Jonathan M. Wicks, MSW

Copyright 2018