A Grief Support Blog

This blog will allow you the opportunity to acquire both support and guidance after experiencing a significant loss.

What is the Difference Between Trauma and Grief?

Over the past 30 years a variety of words have become popular to describe grief. One word that has recently made headlines is the word “trauma”. Language is important, so we’re going to clarify our take on the word.

Trauma is an event. It can be any event that causes psychological, physical, emotional or mental harm; such as a death or abuse. A traumatic event could also be called a loss event. If someone dies, that’s a loss. If someone was abused, that too is a loss. A loss of trust. Whether you want to call the event trauma or a loss is ok, but the result of a traumatic event is GRIEF.

Grief is the normal and natural response to loss. It’s the conflicting emotions that result in the end of, or change in, a familiar pattern or behavior. Grief is the feeling of wishing things would have ended different, better, or more. Grief is the normal and natural feelings after a trauma.

Although no two people grieve the same, there are some common responses grievers might experience such as an overwhelming sense of numbness, changes in sleeping or eating patterns and wishing things ended differently. Trauma can be an extremely emotional loss event, which ultimately is a grieving experience. If you see your dog get hit by a car, the event could most definitely be described as traumatic. The solution, however, is the same solution a griever would use following any loss. The griever has to get complete with the relationship to the pet that died.

Here are a few examples that are a trauma event in themselves and why they result in feelings of grief:
• Sexual Abuse: According to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)--there is an average of 237,868 victims (age 12 or older) of sexual assault each year. That doesn’t include children. It’s a horrifying, devastating and painful thing for anyone to experience. Many people associate assault as being traumatic, but don’t associate it with grief. But if you stop think about it, isn’t it a loss?

• Loss of trust, whether it’s trust from the person who harmed them, or loss of trust in future relationships. 

• Loss of control of one's body.

• Loss of safety.

• Suicide: is often shocking for the survivors, but that does not mean you cannot recover. You might miss your friend who died, or wish you could have done something different to save him or her.  That’s grief. 

It’s harmful to mislabel grief as trauma because it isn’t accurate; trauma and grief are not the same.

1. If you misdiagnose, you mistreat.

2. Trauma turns a griever into a victim. Victims can’t feel better unless someone else takes an action.

3.The Grief Recovery Method® gets to the core of the grief; so the griever can go on to lead a happy and healthy life.


The Grief Recovery Method® has helped grievers who have suffered from every type of loss and painful event imaginable from seeing a suicide, sexual abuse and any of the other 40+ types of loss.

If you found this article usefuly, you may also consider reading PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


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Nice post!

Glad you liked it!

My Mom died and then my Dad died 18 months later. I feel like I Cannot BreathEmotionally. I want to become a grief counselor and help others that may be dealing with the same pain as I am.
My Mom died and then my Dad died 18 months later. I feel like I Cannot BreathEmotionally. I want to become a grief counselor and help others that may be dealing with the same pain as I am.
Mary Ellena - I am so sorry about you having to deal with the deaths of your parents so close together. Losing one parent can be difficult, but to lose them both within 18 months would be overwhelming to anyone. My parents died three years apart and just finished the last of the estate matters on my father when I lost my mother, let alone the emotional issues of my grief. I applaud you in wanting to help others, but first you need to take action for yourself, so that you can better help them. I encourage you to seek out a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist at www.griefrecoverymethod.com to help you in taking that action. If you want to take faster action, you might go the route of registering to become a specialist yourself, since part of the training involves using the same tool that you learn to help others in first taking action for yourself. I found the tools of The Grief Recovery Method to be of enormous value in dealing with the emotional losses in my life, and believe that they could help you as well. This training and all of the materials that are provided could help you make a real difference in others. It will teach you how to not just support others in feeling their pain, but how to help them move beyond the strangle hold it has on them. Please know that my thoughts are with you - Steve

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