The Word “Trauma” is Traumatic for Some Folks: So Shall We Replace It?

The Word “Trauma” is Traumatic for Some Folks: So Shall We Replace It?

Karen Gross 07/09/2020 3
The Word “Trauma” is Traumatic for Some Folks: So Shall We Replace It?

So, I have a new book with the word “trauma” in the title (released June 2020 from Teachers College Press).

Trauma Doesnt Stop at the School Door

Yes, the word “trauma.” In the book, I note the word “trauma” is troubling to many readers and for different reasons. Some view the word as creating victimization; others feel the word is “overdramatic” for incidents that are oft-described as traumatic but are not traumatic for all people. Others find the word confusing as there is no definition for it across all disciplines.

I admit the word is problematic. I have trouble admitting to myself that I have been traumatized (on more than one occasion).

Thus, it was with both surprise and relief that I read a post by Sarah E. Wright. She suggests the term “cortisoaked” to replace the word “trauma.” Not bad at all. And I like invented words (indeed, my book Breakaway Learners (also TC Press, 2017) is replete with a new invented term “lastic” that I still hope will enter the lexicon.

That started me thinking: cortisaturated is another option. What about “cortiflooded?” That one has immense appeal as the word “flooded” is so rich in meaning. What about “cortiloaded?” Nope: sounds too much like a weapon cocked to fire. What about “cortifilled?” Doesn’t sound serious enough — and we are all filled with cortisol on a regular day. What about “cortioverloaded?” Too long winded. Too many syllables.

Share your preferences. Share other terms. It is time to make the word “trauma” more appealing and perhaps that needs to occur by shifting terminology, at least when the term is used in conversations that aren’t intended to be academic seminars. Vote for your favorite (part of a larger request to vote).

P.S. My favorite, as of now, “cortiflooded.”

Share this article

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

terms and condition.
  • Tom Verlander

    I will be traumatised if Trump wins

  • Louis Archbold

    It's been tough for everyone

  • Daniel Compton

    Good read

Share this article

Karen Gross

Higher Education Expert

Karen is an educator and an author. Prior to becoming a college president, she was a tenured law professor for two plus decades. Her academic areas of expertise include trauma, toxic stress, consumer finance, overindebtedness and asset building in low income communities. She currently serves as Senior Counsel at Finn Partners Company. From 2011 to 2013, She served (part and full time) as Senior Policy Advisor to the US Department of Education in Washington, DC. She was the Department's representative on the interagency task force charged with redesigning the transition assistance program for returning service members and their families. From 2006 to 2014, she was President of Southern Vermont College, a small, private, affordable, four-year college located in Bennington, VT. In Spring 2016, she was a visiting faculty member at Bennington College in VT. She also teaches part-time st Molly Stark Elementary School, also in Vt. She is also an Affiliate of the Penn Center for MSIs. She is the author of adult and children’s books, the most recent of which are titled Breakaway Learners (adult) and  Lucy’s Dragon Quest. Karen holds a bachelor degree in English and Spanish from Smith College and Juris Doctor degree (JD) in Law from Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law.

Cookies user prefences
We use cookies to ensure you to get the best experience on our website. If you decline the use of cookies, this website may not function as expected.
Accept all
Decline all
Read more
Tools used to analyze the data to measure the effectiveness of a website and to understand how it works.
Google Analytics