A collective trauma is a psychological event shared by a group of people, including an entire society that disrupts development in all human systems. Traumatic events shared by an entire society create a residue of unprocessed collective emotions, beliefs and behaviors that constitute Collective PTSD, along with a perceptual shift in how the social group views itself reality. The unprocessed emotions, beliefs and behaviors make it vulnerable to post-traumatic actions and reactions in the future.
Examples of collective American traumas include the War Between the States, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the explosion of the Challenger space rocket, the 9/1/11 attacks, and Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Collective global traumas include the Soviet and Nazi holocausts during World War II, the explosions of the nuclear reactors at Chernobyl and Fukushima, and the earthquake in the Indian Ocean in 2004 and
Rehabilitating those who have survived a collective trauma is very difficult because everyone is traumatized. When an entire nation experiences severe traumas as war, genocide, torture, massacre, rehabilitation and treatment are virtually impossible.
Collective trauma then becomes a chronic issues that recycles in and around the group, particularly if the social causes have not addressed and the perpetrators are not caught or punished. The whole group or society may become an everlasting culture of pain.