What is Trauma Therapy?

 In Drug and Alcohol Treatment, Mental Health

Experiencing traumatic incidents in life is never easy and often requires years to overcome them without proper care and guidance. While traumatic situations are individualized and never quite comparable to other incidents of trauma, it is still extremely important to seek a therapy solution that is right for you. A specialized type of trauma therapy is available for those who have dealt with loss, grief or extremely traumatizing situations in everyday life. If you have traumas you wish to overcome and you believe you experience PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), consider working together with a therapist who provides various tools and methods to work through your feelings while rebuilding a healthy, happy, and satisfying future for yourself.

In some cases, trauma exists with a co-occurring addiction. There is a definite link between trauma and addiction, where one disorder can influence the other and vice versa. While some individuals turn to alcohol or drugs in an effort to cope with the painful symptoms of trauma, others who abuse substances tend to find themselves in dangerous situations which result in trauma. In the case of trauma and addiction co-occurring, both disorders are treated simultaneously, with trauma therapy being a key component.

Types of Therapy for Traumatic Situations

Visiting a therapist for a traumatic experience you have had is not a one-stop solution. Many therapists implement a wide range of therapies depending on a patient’s needs and the types of traumas they have gone through before arriving. Some of the most notable and popular types of therapy available for individuals struggling with PTSD include:

Cognitive Processing Therapy

Congitive Processing Therapy is extremely common among therapists who work with victims who have struggled with various types of traumas. Cognitive Processing Therapy requires an individual to write about the traumatic incidents they have experienced while talking aloud about them directly with the therapist. Therapists ask for a written version of their stories to better express how they feel and view the incidents themselves. Once the entire experience has been written out, it becomes much easier to confront any issues or hangups that are still lingering in an individual’s everyday life.

Cognitive Processing Therapy is extremely beneficial to those who have a difficult time expressing emotions or opening up about traumatic incidents that have happened to them. Using Cognitive Processing Therapy is a way to gain a sense of relief while taking the necessary steps to move forward with a plan of action alongside a therapist.

Stress Inoculation Therapy

Stress Inoculation Therapy (SIT) is similar to CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. SIT does not require an individual to visit a therapist in order to participate in exercises or reap the benefits from the type of therapy itself. Learning how to react when feeling negative or overwhelmed due to a traumatic incident is an essential element of overcoming unwanted emotions associated with the memory. Implementing breathing exercises along with massage techniques are just two ways to get started with Stress Inoculation Therapy. Understanding basic calming techniques and applying them in everyday life for at least 3 months can drastically shift how an individual faces and confronts memories or negative emotions associated with their traumatic experiences.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, is one of the most common and popular forms of therapy used in sessions to treat individuals who are suffering from PTSD. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves implementing standard breathing techniques to ease and ward off anxiety while learning how to properly confront and overcome any issues that are related to the traumatic experience an individual has had.

Therapists work with individuals in at least 15 sessions (often ranging from 60 to 90 minutes each time) when implementing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Once an individual has become familiar with common breathing exercises and SIT (Stress Inoculation Therapy), the therapist will then begin requesting to learn more about what is being avoided in the individual’s life due to the experience. Creating an itemized list of what is being avoided due to a traumatic experience is a way to express emotions while facing the results of the PTSD that is happening. Each week, the therapist will work directly with the individual to face, confront, and overcome each item on the list that is being avoided until the individual feels free and desensitized from the traumatic incident.

Eye Movement Reprocessing and Desensitization

Eye Movement Reprocessing and Desensitization is used to help improve positive thought flow in the mind. Working together with a therapist, learn how to focus on positive thoughts while remembering a traumatic experience–all while looking at a light, tool, or designated part of the therapist, such as their hand. Eye Movement Reprocessing and Desensitization is designed to assist with overcoming negative and intrusive thoughts by properly retraining the brain to cope with traumatic experiences in a positive manner.

Medications

Oftentimes, individuals require medications when suffering from extremely sensitive issues and traumatic experiences. Even with the help of a therapist and prolonged sessions, individuals are likely to feel as if they require medications to assist with anxiety, depression, and flashbacks (especially in serious cases of PTSD, such as experiencing a violent/sexual crime or fighting in combat).

It is best to work together with a therapist to determine the best type of medication that is right for you based on your personality and the struggles you are trying to overcome each day. Whenever you are thinking of taking a medication, speak directly with your therapist along with your physician or psychiatrist to choose a medication regiment that is right for your body’s chemistry and the type of incidents you are working to overcome. Medication is not used to help fix any experiences you have had, but to assist with negative emotions that may arise while you are in the process of confronting and overcoming traumatic incidents.

Understanding the importance of seeking out trauma therapy is key to moving forward and getting past negative experiences you have had happened to you. With the right therapist who specializes in PTSD and working with those who have experienced devastating incidents in their lives, overcome your trauma and any other co-occurring disorders and begin living your life to the fullest again. If you need guidance on how to take the next step towards recovery, contact us today.

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