What is Trauma Therapy?
Traumatic events and past trauma can impact a person at deeply psychological and emotional levels, which may intermittently or permanently interfere with functioning in their daily life. Traumatic events may be experienced due to being present in dangerous or life-threatening situations, or due to being a recipient of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Due to the highly charged nature of these events, they can lead to mental health conditions such as PTSD, and/or prompt individuals to seek coping mechanisms such as addictive substances or addictive behaviors.
Trauma therapy (also called trauma-focused therapy, trauma-informed therapy) is a type of psychotherapy and related modalities that are effective in helping people process traumatic events and overcome the effects of trauma on their daily life.
Here are key aspects of trauma therapy:
- Trauma therapy is grounded in a trauma-informed care framework, recognizing the widespread impact of trauma and understanding how it can affect individuals’ lives and well-being.
Safety and Trust:
- Establishing a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship is a foundational element of trauma therapy. Clients need to feel secure and supported to explore and process their traumatic experiences.
- Trauma therapy emphasizes empowering individuals to regain a sense of control over their lives. This involves helping clients build coping skills, set boundaries, and make choices that support their well-being.
Understanding Trauma Responses:
- Therapists in trauma-focused approaches are trained to understand and address various trauma responses, including fight, flight, freeze, or dissociation. They help clients recognize and manage these responses.
Processing Traumatic Memories:
- Some trauma therapy approaches involve helping individuals process traumatic memories in a safe and controlled manner. This can be done through techniques such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) or certain forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
- Cognitive-behavioral approaches within trauma therapy focus on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and beliefs associated with the traumatic experience. This helps individuals reframe their understanding of the trauma.
Mindfulness and Grounding Techniques:
- Mindfulness and grounding exercises are often incorporated into trauma therapy to help individuals stay present in the moment and manage overwhelming emotions. These techniques promote relaxation and self-awareness.
- Providing education about trauma, its effects on the brain and body, and common responses helps clients understand their experiences. This psychoeducation can reduce feelings of shame and self-blame.
- Trauma therapy focuses on enhancing resilience and coping skills. Therapists work with clients to develop healthy strategies for managing stress, building emotional regulation, and fostering a sense of resilience.
Integration and Closure:
- The goal of trauma therapy is not only to process traumatic memories but also to integrate them into one’s life narrative and promote a sense of closure. This involves finding meaning, rebuilding a positive self-identity, and moving forward.
Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT
Have you experienced Trauma?
Take a look at some of the traumatic events people experience and see if you can relate:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse /assault
- Domestic violence
- Childhood abandonment
- Severe medical conditions
- Traumatic accidents
- Witnessing traumatic accidents
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- TBI during Combat
- Environmental disasters
If you have experienced any of the above or a similar event, you may be impacted by trauma. Some ways in which you may experience trauma include having troubling nightmares, sleeplessness, extreme fear and isolation, unconscious reactions to certain triggers, and other areas which may be interfering with your regular functioning. If you have experienced trauma, trauma therapy is very effective in helping to process and overcome its impacts.
Types of Trauma Therapy we Use:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is an approach to identify negative thinking patterns that are self-destructive and can create challenges in an individual’s life; and then to evaluate them from a realistic perspective. CBT is effective in treating depression, anxiety, panic attacks, trauma and a variety of other mental health issues.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT is another kind of talk therapy, especially aimed at individuals who experience intense emotions by helping them to understand their thoughts and thereby helping them to change their unhelpful behaviors. It is used in patients who experience trauma, suicidal ideation, and borderline personality, among other disorders
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
While it’s still a controversy whether EMDR is the same as CBT with the addition of eye movement, what is true is that EMDR has been shown to be an effective treatment technique for PTSD, panic disorder and other trauma induced disorders.
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
MBCT combines mindfulness practices of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MSBR) therapy with principles of cognitive therapy to create an effective way to reframe an individual’s thought patterns and replace using drugs and alcohol with healthier coping strategies.
What are the Benefits of Trauma Therapy?
Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!
- Blue Shield
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- First Health Network
- The Holman Group
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- HMC Healthworks
- And More
If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to California Prime Recovery today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-208-2390