We all have a self-concept ± an organised con®guration of perceptions of the self which are admitted into our awareness. Put simply, it is who we think we are and includes an expectation of how we will react in predictable situations. It also includes an understanding of the environment in which the person lives (the `world concept'). In the normal course of events things happen in life which comfortably ®t within our self-concept or are suf®ciently close to it for us to make minor adjustments to it without dif®culty or anxiety. Turner (in press) notes that if signi®cant events are way beyond our expectations we have dif®culty in symbolising them in awareness. A traumatic event contains elements that are likely to be so far beyond our previous experience that we initially ®nd it dif®cult to incorporate the new experience within our self-concept. Such traumatic events include `critical incidents'.