Understanding Trauma Therapy: Healing from Past Wounds and Moving Forward

Trauma therapy, also known as trauma-focused therapy or trauma-focused care, is a kind of talk therapy designed to help people move past any kind of mental or emotional trauma.

Statistics say that about 70% of adults have experienced at least one kind of trauma in their life, and 20% of people who have experienced some sort of trauma will develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

If you or someone you love is suffering from trauma-related mental health issues, then it’s important to seek trauma therapy.

This article will tell you everything you need about healing from past wounds. So come on, let’s get started!

1. How does trauma develop?

Before understanding trauma therapy, it’s necessary to understand why someone would require it in the first place.

Often, a person, either a child or an adult, might experience extreme physical, mental, emotional, or sexual trauma and not realize it until years later.

By then, they might have developed some kind of health issue, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or stress disorder. This is when trauma therapy becomes important.

When someone experiences trauma, it also alters a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is responsible for decision-making. Trauma can cause people to make poor decisions or cloud their judgment.

Trauma therapy by a trained professional helps the person understand the root cause of the trauma and how to combat it efficiently without relapsing.

2. Difference between trauma and being traumatized

Next, it’s important to understand the major differences between a traumatic incident occurring and being traumatized.

For example, a war veteran experiencing the horrors of being on a battlefield will not only see traumatic events but also become traumatized.

This is different from going through a traumatic incident but not getting affected or traumatized, such as a painful breakup.

Of course, psychologists say that the extent to which a person gets traumatized varies depending on their emotional range, proximity to the traumatic event, and the circumstances under which they experienced it.

If left unchecked, trauma can result in sleeplessness, changes in appetite, and many other signs and symptoms.

3. Signs and symptoms of trauma

Fortunately, trauma won’t always result in mental health issues. You might often get over the incident alone without feeling too upset.

However, many events can drastically alter one’s life, and changes can be seen in one’s daily routine. So, here are some signs and symptoms of severe trauma:

  • Intrusive memories

One common symptom of trauma is when the victim constantly replays the incident in their minds and may even relive it as if it’s still happening. It can also result in nightmares or upsetting dreams, or anything related to it triggers them majorly.

  • Avoidance

Another major sign is when the patient refuses to talk about the incident or won’t think of it in any way, especially while talking to a therapist.

They might even avoid going to where it happened or being associated with anything that reminds them of what occurred.

  • Being negative-minded

When the trauma victim keeps thinking about the incident, their mood automatically turns sour, and this results in a negative mindset.

They seem irritated, angry, or hopeless. In extreme situations, they might even wish to detach themselves from others.

  • Behavioral changes

Believe it or not, trauma can change a person’s behavior more than what meets the eye. They’ll stop eating altogether or start binge eating. They might even seem to be on guard all the time, waiting for a similar traumatic experience to happen.

  • Changes in daily routine

Some of the obvious signs that a person is going through mental and psychological trauma is when there are clear changes in their daily routine, such as irregular sleep schedules. They also stop participating in activities that they once loved.

4. Importance of trauma therapy

If you or a loved one is going through trauma, then trauma therapy is the best way to move forward.

The first step in this kind of therapy is breaking down avoidance and understanding why the patient has experienced such a shock.

Since trauma victims tend to bury their memories not to relive the incident, they might turn to harmful behavior like substance addiction or self-destruction.

But if they open up to a trauma therapist, they can process their feelings to get over the past. This eventually helps the patient to combat negativity and lead a healthier life.

For example, many depression treatment centers in California conduct one-on-one special sessions to make the patient feel more at ease.

5. Types of trauma therapy

There are four major types of trauma therapy, depending on what sort of trauma occurred:

  • Prolonged Exposure (PE)

This therapy occurs when a patient meets with the therapist weekly for three or four months.

The therapist gradually uncovers the experience and lets the victim know that there is no need to fear what happened. The patient is slowly exposed to their feelings and fears, which helps them to overcome the past.

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

In CPT, a professional helps the victim understand that their feelings or views might not always be true. For example, a victim of sexual abuse might blame themselves when, in reality, the therapist tells them that it was the abuser’s fault. They aid the victim in learning how to challenge their preconceived notions.

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

When a patient suffers from severe trauma triggers, EMDR Therapy Toronto can be a useful way to combat it. This method involves processing how the traumatic incident is stored in the brain and how the patient perceives it. The therapist focuses on the patient’s eye movements and gradually reduces the triggers that accompany the incident whenever it is mentioned.

  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT)

This kind of therapy is perfect for children or adolescents. Often, parents accompany the patient better to understand their child’s mental and emotional health. Parents can also be taught coping skills to ensure the child is brought up in a safe environment. Prescription medicines may also be given in severe cases.

Conclusion

Even though trauma therapy can be challenging, you must remember that it is one of the best ways to heal from any sort of challenging event. Through the therapist’s help, you will eventually be able to look at the incident in a more positive light and move on!