Since the mid-1800s, the concept of psychic trauma has been at the center of mental health debates, concerning the specific meaning of ‘traumatic experience’ and how affects individual’s psychological well-being. The present study provides an historical and descriptive overview of psychic trauma from the late Nineteenth century until today, as presented by: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, psychologists and some authors from the Infant Research approach. The review provides a basis to discuss how the inner world and the daily reality influence the subjective experience of the person in determining the traumatic experience. Finally, clinical implications are discussed.
Keywords: Psychic trauma, developmental trauma, psychoanalysis, Infant Research, clinical developmental psychology.