Identity and Identity Based Trauma (IBT)

Identity Based Trauma or IBT refers to the psychological, emotional and physical responses to a distressing event or act where that event or act attacks, marginalizes or implicates one or more social identity factors of the traumatized person. 


One reason why these experiences are particularly traumatic is the person often perceives no way to address the challenge to one's sense of self. The challenge is rooted in social identities (such a race, gender) over which the person has no control.


Identity Based Trauma (IBT) and Core Identity 

Many clients come to therapy to gain a better understanding of or to construct their authentic self. When people ask, "Who am I, really?" they are trying to understand their sense of self absent the layers of societal influences that they didn't choose. The identity that remains after these layers are figuratively peeled away is the "core" identity.


Certain social characteristics, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, for example, can significantly impact core identity. This is because societies often define what we should and shouldn't do based on these characteristics; or societal stereotypes influence beliefs about the traits and behavior of people with these characteristics.


Societal narratives have a major impact on our sense of self. Accordingly, we call these characteristics "Core Identity Factors."™ 


Conflict between the narratives we want to tell about ourselves versus societal narratives leads to internal tension. Societal marginalization can be traumatic. Because Identity Based Trauma implicates Core Identity Factors, it also has a profound impact on core identity itself.


Core Identity Factors Trauma Scale (CIFTS)™

Bolton Therapy works with clients to address Identity Based Trauma. To identify IBT, we use a proprietary assessment similar to the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) scale called the Core Identity Factors Trauma Scale (CIFTS)™.


If you would like to learn more about Identity Based Trauma, core identity, or assessing IBT using the Core Identity Factors Trauma Scale (CIFTS)™ scale, please click the button for more information.

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Trauma Based Identity Dysphoria (TBID I)™

Bolton Therapy has extensive experience helping clients address Identity Based Trauma. IBT can manifest in different ways. One way IBT "shows up" for clients is a generalized state of unease or general dissatisfaction with life. 


We refer to this as Trauma Based Identity Dysphoria (TBID I)™, which ​​is a state of unease, generalized anxiety or depression associated with adverse experiences related to one or more Core Identity Factors.


If you would like to learn more about Trauma Based Identity Dysphoria (TBID I)™, please click the button for more information.

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Trauma Based Identity Dysmorphia (TBID II)™

Another way that IBT shows up for clients is a desire to minimize the negative impact of societal marginalization of their Core Identity Factors™


The term "dysmorphia" typically refers to body dysmorphia, defined as "an obsessive focus on perceived flaws in one’s body or appearance."


We use the term Trauma Based Identity Dysmorphia  (TBID II)™ to mean a harmful focus on

ameliorating perceived flaws related to one or more Core Identity Factors™ or relieving the trauma symptoms associated with such Core Identity Factors™.


If you would like to learn more about Trauma Based Identity Dysmorphia (TBID II)™, please click the button for more information.

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See a presentation that explains these concepts.

To see a presentation that explains in more detail Identity Based Trauma (IBT), Core Identity , Core Identity Factors, the CIFTS Scale, Trauma Based Identity Dysphoria (TBID I), and Trauma Based Identity Dysmorphia (TBID II), please click the button.

TBID Presentation