Substantial theoretical, empirical, and clinical work examines trauma as it relates to individual victims and perpetrators. As trauma professionals, it is necessary to acknowledge facets of institutions, cultures, and communities that contribute to trauma and subsequent outcomes. Systemic trauma-contextual features of environments and institutions that give rise to trauma, maintain it, and impact posttraumatic responses-provides a framework for considering the full range of traumatic phenomena. The current issue of the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation is composed of articles that incorporate systemic approaches to trauma. This perspective extends conceptualizations of trauma to consider the influence of environments such as schools and universities, churches and other religious institutions, the military, workplace settings, hospitals, jails, and prisons; agencies and systems such as police, foster care, immigration, federal assistance, disaster management, and the media; conflicts involving war, torture, terrorism, and refugees; dynamics of racism, sexism, discrimination, bullying, and homophobia; and issues pertaining to conceptualizations, measurement, methodology, teaching, and intervention. Although it may be challenging to expand psychological and psychiatric paradigms of trauma, a systemic trauma perspective is necessary on both scientific and ethical grounds. Furthermore, a systemic trauma perspective reflects current approaches in the fields of global health, nursing, social work, and human rights. Empirical investigations and intervention science informed by this paradigm have the potential to advance scientific inquiry, lower the incidence of a broader range of traumatic experiences, and help to alleviate personal and societal suffering.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health