noun. 1. an occurrence wherein an individual sees or experiences a risk to their own life or physical safety or that of other people and feels terror, fear, or helplessness. The occurrence might additionally cause confusion, dissociation, and a loss of a feeling of security. Traumatic occurrences test a person's observation of the world as a secure, just, and predictable place.. 2. a physical trauma. These injuries are inclusive of head traumas, like blows to the skull; brain damage, like hemorrhages and cerebrovascular accidents; and traumas to other area of the body, like lacerations or amputations.