Basics of Primary Trauma



Primary trauma refers to a traumatic event that occurs directly to us.

We live through the event.

We see the event unfold.

We fear for those we love.


If the mental health concerns are severe enough a person may be diagnosed with Acute Stress Disorder.                                                                                               If the disturbance to life continues or returns it would be time to reassess.

After the persistence of symptoms continues for a period of about 4-6 weeks, it may be further diagnosed as PTSD or CPTSD.

 It is important to remember that surviving a trauma does not always result in Acute Stress Disorder, PTSD or CPTSD.

PTSD and CPTSD do not always get diagnosed after 6 weeks, in fact, they could be diagnosed months or years later.

A change in the interpersonal relationships of a person is a clear indicator that something is not ok. 

A person who has stopped taking care of themselves physically, or stopped taking care of their environment, is also someone who needs help.


Results from direct exposure to the traumatic experience and it has a continued negative impact on our daily lives.


All the same symptoms as PTSD, but must include all three of the following:

Interpersonal disturbances;
Affect dysregulation;
Persistent negative self-image.

(Bancroft, Allen, Green, & Feuerle, 2015)