When you’re working through trauma, it’s important to identify which type of trauma you are experiencing. Different types of trauma can leave different marks on a person’s psyche.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the difference between developmental trauma and interpersonal trauma. 

Developmental trauma arises during childhood or early infancy, when a person is developing. Interpersonal trauma is any type of trauma that occurs between  two or more people, which may occur in childhood or during adulthood.

What Is Trauma?

Trauma occurs when someone experiences something that pushes them beyond their ability to cope. 

When someone is pushed through a situation that surpasses their current coping mechanisms, the brain simply cannot process the situation. Instead, the unacknowledged emotional responses are stored as trauma so they don’t overwhelm their system.

This trauma then leads to behavioral and emotional difficulties in life. Until that trauma is healed, the person carrying it may struggle to engage in activities that remind them of their trauma.

For example, someone who is traumatized by a romantic partner may develop resistances or inhibitions in future relationships. They may become uncomfortable or even fearful of people who behave, look like, or remind them of the partner that traumatized them.

What Is Developmental Trauma?

developmental traumaDevelopmental trauma is a term used to describe any sort of trauma that a person undergoes during their developmental years. This means trauma that has accrued during infancy or early childhood.

Developmental trauma often comes in the form of emotional abuse or neglect. Conflict between parents or caregivers can also lead to trauma, as can domestic abuse and violence in a developing child’s immediate environment.

Developmental trauma can be very difficult to overcome. One of the reasons for this is because the trauma becomes internalized at an early age. By the time a traumatized individual reaches an age where they’re able to cope with it, they may not even realize that they’re carrying trauma.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to overcome their trauma. Holistic treatments like Somato-Emotional Repatterning and NLP can help people overcome their traumas. 


What Is Interpersonal Trauma?

Interpersonal trauma is a kind of trauma that occurs between different people. In this sense, interpersonal trauma can also be a form of developmental trauma, depending on how it occurred. Unlike developmental trauma, however, interpersonal trauma can also occur during adulthood.

Interpersonal can occur between people who have an established relationship, such as friends or partners. It can also occur between people who have only met once. 

Examples of interpersonal trauma include violence, stalking, abuse, domestic violence, historical trauma, or war-related crimes. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, and even spiritual abuse are all considered interpersonal trauma, and life events like divorce or the loss of a family member can cause interpersonal trauma.

Methods for Transforming Trauma

There are a lot of ways that you can work through trauma, whether it’s interpersonal or developmental. The best way that you can work through a trauma is by using a holistic treatment that engages both the mind and the body.

These are some examples of treatments that can be used to help people overcome different types of trauma.


Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP,  is a very unique form of therapy that helps coaches engage with the deeper levels of their clients’ minds. NLP uses a combination of verbal and visual cues to help clients understand, acknowledge, and make changes to their subconscious behavior patterns.

NLP can, in effect, help you reprogram your learned behaviors.This is useful for helping to eliminate destructive, dangerous, or limiting behaviors that have been caused by traumatic experiences.


Eye Movement Integration (EMI)

Eye Movement Integration (EMI)EMI is a therapeutic practice that engages clients by using the movements of their eyes. By associating certain cues with the natural responses made by their eyes, coaches can help clients understand patterns in their subconscious mind.

The first step anyone needs to take before they can change is to recognize their behavioral patterns. Many of these patterns are, unfortunately, locked in the subconscious mind. EMI can help people reprogram these patterns and replace them with something healthier.

Somato-Emotional Repatterning (SER)

Somato-Emotional Repatterning is a technique that aims to repattern certain emotional responses. Traumatic experiences are stored in the body. If they are not addressed, they can cause someone to behave in an irrational or undesirable manner.

Somato-Emotional Repatterning aims to identify these stored behaviors and change them into something more positive and beneficial for the client. SER uses a number of different, complementary techniques – some of which utilize eye movements similar to EMI.

EFT / Tapping

The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping, is a simple therapeutic practice that produces profound results.  EFT works by activating the same meridian points that are used in ancient practices like acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

By activating or energizing these meridians, coaches are able to help eliminate energy blockages caused by trauma. This helps to release stored emotions and allows people to work through their traumatic experiences.


Trauma is serious business. There are many things that can cause trauma. Fortunately, there are also many ways that people can overcome trauma. The use of holistic treatments like EFT, Somato-Emotional Repatterning, EMI, and NLP can all be helpful for removing traumatic memories. 

Please follow and like us:
Developmental Trauma vs Interpersonal Trauma
Tagged on: