The phrase collective trauma can apply to any set of events and is an emotional response to a painful or distressing event shared by individuals. It can take the form of collective memory, a shared experience, or collective grief. Collective trauma can be caused by anything that threatens the integrity of a group. It is an emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual affliction that can last for many years. Collective trauma is also known as post-traumatic stress disorder.
The psychological meaning of collective trauma can be that of a persistent emotional reaction to an overwhelming event. This can be caused by a single act of violence or the over-sexualized objectification of certain human commodities. In addition, collective trauma can mean the effect of living in an abusive environment, witnessing physical or sexual abuse, or being witness to another’s act of violence.
The physical significance of collective trauma can be its effects on the victims, their families, friends, and communities. Physical effects can include physical wounds, injuries, illnesses, and disease. Psychological effects can include depression, anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, and feelings of hopelessness and guilt. The collective memory of collective trauma can refer to the collective memory of pain and suffering experienced by the survivors of the event and those. They are directly affected by the violence. Other group members may share this collective memory, but each person has to feel it personally. The psychological meaning of collective grief can also include the painful effect of a loss of companionship, support, and security felt by family members after the death of an individual.
Because of its psychological effects, collective memory can interfere with psychotherapy and other types of mental health treatment. In order to treat collective trauma, therapists help the client explore his or her relationship with the event. They allow the client to identify the things that give him or her meaning and value in life. This helps the client to build up his or her sense of worth.
When grief is collective, it can also interfere with relationships. One common occurrence is that the victim starts to feel like a victim because of what he or she is going through, which causes the loss of many friends and relationships. Psychotherapists help their clients deal with the onslaught of negative memories that accompany collective memory. The therapist will help the client discover the painful components of collective memory to learn how to replace them with more positive ones.