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What is Trauma Therapy? Everything you Need to Know! By Bali Counselling,

What is Trauma Therapy Bali ? Everything you Need to Know!


By Bali Counselling, Trauma informed Trauma Therapists.



Trauma is really common, with more than 70% of individuals experiencing a traumatic event at some point in their lives. People who have experienced are more likely to seek mental health care than those who have not.

For consumers, it is essential to be educated in what trauma therapy is, and what treatments are effective in order to make informed choices about one’s mental health care.

For providers, it is important to be aware that most clients that seek therapy will have experienced trauma at some point in their lives.

In order to provide ethical care, clinicians need to be well-trained and knowledgeable about trauma based therapy and trauma-focused therapy.

This post will clarify what trauma therapy is, what someone can expect from trauma therapy, who trauma therapy is for, how trauma therapy can help and how to find trauma therapy that’s right for them.

What is trauma therapy

What is trauma focused therapy?

Trauma focused therapy is psychotherapy or counseling that aims to address and ameliorate the psychological after-effects of a traumatic event.

A traumatic event is defined as exposure to death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury or actual or threatened sexual violence. Traumas can be experienced in any one of four ways:

Directly experiencing the event,

Witnessing the traumatic event in person,

Learning that a traumatic event occurred to close friend or family member (violent/accidental),

Experiencing first-hand repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of trauma (not via media, unless work-related).

Examples of traumatic events can include:

Childhood sexual abuse and physical abuse

Rape or sexual assault

Physical assault

Intimate partner violence

Combat

Serious motor vehicle accident

Natural disasters

Terrorism/shootings

Witnessing serious injury or death

Learning about death of someone close

Exposure to death

Immediately after traumas, most people experience some posttraumatic distress. While many people naturally recover and distress dissipates over time, others experience a “stalling out” of recovery and many continue to struggle with trauma-related symptoms for months, years or decades, especially if left untreated.

The nature of someone’s trauma-related difficulties can vary widely. Therefore, the best way to determine the most appropriate course of trauma therapy is to consult with a mental health professional, particularly one with expertise in trauma.

Because the impact of trauma is heterogeneous, therapies to address trauma symptoms can also greatly differ, depending on the specific nature of a client’s symptoms, difficulties and treatment goals.

For example if someone’s post-trauma difficulties are mostly interpersonal, they would benefit from trauma therapy that addresses relational challenges and improves interpersonal skills.

If someone’s post-trauma difficulties are more consistent with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), then they would most benefit from a gold-standard, evidence-based PTSD treatment like Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

What is trauma based therapy

Types of trauma based therapy

There are many different types of trauma focused therapies. It is important to note that some trauma therapies have extensive research showing that they are effective for a majority of individuals with trauma-related symptoms, while other trauma based therapy options lack sound empirical support.

For prospective clients and clinicians alike, it is useful to know which treatments are backed by science and which are not in order to have realistic expectations of what to expect from trauma therapy.

For clients who meet criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), including Complex-PTSD, there are several short-term effective treatments that can lead to full remission of symptoms. PTSD is characterized by:

Recurrent re-experiencing of the trauma(s) during daytime or at night, in the form of nightmares.

Avoiding thinking or feeling about the trauma(s) and any reminders of the trauma(s).

Changes in thinking and changes in mood, including significant trauma-related blame and changes in thinking about safety, trust, power/control, esteem and intimacy.

Changes in physiological arousal and reactivity, such as exaggerated startle reaction, being super-alert and on-guard, hypervigilance, and trouble with concentration and sleep.

These symptoms must be present for at least one month following the trauma(s), they must lead to significant impairment and/or distress and they cannot be accounted for by another mental or physical illness.

The most effective treatments for PTSD have over two decades of research showing that they lead to clinically significant improvements that are long-lasting.

All of these treatments are specific subtypes of Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT) that address avoidance and problematic beliefs that form after trauma(s), as both of these factors maintain PTSD.

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

CPT is a short-term trauma-focused PTSD treatment that helps clients address problematic and painful thoughts that often follow trauma.

These thoughts often center around the meaning that one makes about why the trauma happened (“it was my fault,” “it could have been prevented”) and the impact of the trauma on how someone thinks about themselves (e.g., “I am broken”), others (“no one can be trusted”) and the world (“nowhere is safe”).

CPT helps decrease avoidance, facilitates processing natural emotions and helps clients develop skills for making sense of the traumatic events and their impact in more balanced ways.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)

PE is a short-term trauma-focused PTSD treatment that teaches clients how to gradually approach trauma memories and people, places and activities (that are objectively safe) that have been avoided since the trauma(s), in a safe and supportive manner.

Confronting these challenges leads to a decrease in PTSD symptoms and to a greater sense of self-confidence.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR helps clients process distressing memories, feelings and thoughts about trauma(s) they have experienced while focusing on an external stimuli that moves back and forth (e.g., lights, sounds, tapping). Although EMDR has been shown to be effective for PTSD, there is disagreement about exactly how it works.

If someone is struggling with trauma-related symptoms, but they do not suffer from PTSD, there are a number of other treatments that may be a great fit, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Seeking Safety, Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Relations (STAIR), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or general Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) skills.

Who trauma focused therapy is for

Trauma therapy is for anyone who is looking for relief from symptoms that began or got worse after the experience of a traumatic event.

Trauma focused therapy is especially beneficial for those who suffer from PTSD. Trauma therapy can help with any of the following kinds of difficulties.

How to Become a Trauma Therapist

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What is Trauma Therapy? Everything you Need to Know

Written By Stephanie Sacks

Trauma is really common, with more than 70% of individuals experiencing a traumatic event at some point in their lives. People who have experienced are more likely to seek mental health care than those who have not.

For consumers, it is essential to be educated in what trauma therapy is, and what treatments are effective in order to make informed choices about one’s mental health care.

For providers, it is important to be aware that most clients that seek therapy will have experienced trauma at some point in their lives.

In order to provide ethical care, clinicians need to be well-trained and knowledgeable about trauma based therapy and trauma-focused therapy.

This post will clarify what trauma therapy is, what someone can expect from trauma therapy, who trauma therapy is for, how trauma therapy can help and how to find trauma therapy that’s right for them.

What is trauma therapy

What is trauma focused therapy?

Trauma focused therapy is psychotherapy or counseling that aims to address and ameliorate the psychological after-effects of a traumatic event.

A traumatic event is defined as exposure to death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury or actual or threatened sexual violence. Traumas can be experienced in any one of four ways:

Directly experiencing the event,

Witnessing the traumatic event in person,

Learning that a traumatic event occurred to close friend or family member (violent/accidental),

Experiencing first-hand repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of trauma (not via media, unless work-related).

Examples of traumatic events can include:

Childhood sexual abuse and physical abuse

Rape or sexual assault

Physical assault

Intimate partner violence

Combat

Serious motor vehicle accident

Natural disasters

Terrorism/shootings

Witnessing serious injury or death

Learning about death of someone close

Exposure to death

Immediately after traumas, most people experience some posttraumatic distress. While many people naturally recover and distress dissipates over time, others experience a “stalling out” of recovery and many continue to struggle with trauma-related symptoms for months, years or decades, especially if left untreated.

The nature of someone’s trauma-related difficulties can vary widely. Therefore, the best way to determine the most appropriate course of trauma therapy is to consult with a mental health professional, particularly one with expertise in trauma.

Because the impact of trauma is heterogeneous, therapies to address trauma symptoms can also greatly differ, depending on the specific nature of a client’s symptoms, difficulties and treatment goals.

For example if someone’s post-trauma difficulties are mostly interpersonal, they would benefit from trauma therapy that addresses relational challenges and improves interpersonal skills.

If someone’s post-trauma difficulties are more consistent with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), then they would most benefit from a gold-standard, evidence-based PTSD treatment like Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

What is trauma based therapy

Types of trauma based therapy

There are many different types of trauma focused therapies. It is important to note that some trauma therapies have extensive research showing that they are effective for a majority of individuals with trauma-related symptoms, while other trauma based therapy options lack sound empirical support.

For prospective clients and clinicians alike, it is useful to know which treatments are backed by science and which are not in order to have realistic expectations of what to expect from trauma therapy.

For clients who meet criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), including Complex-PTSD, there are several short-term effective treatments that can lead to full remission of symptoms. PTSD is characterized by:

Recurrent re-experiencing of the trauma(s) during daytime or at night, in the form of nightmares.

Avoiding thinking or feeling about the trauma(s) and any reminders of the trauma(s).

Changes in thinking and changes in mood, including significant trauma-related blame and changes in thinking about safety, trust, power/control, esteem and intimacy.

Changes in physiological arousal and reactivity, such as exaggerated startle reaction, being super-alert and on-guard, hypervigilance, and trouble with concentration and sleep.

These symptoms must be present for at least one month following the trauma(s), they must lead to significant impairment and/or distress and they cannot be accounted for by another mental or physical illness.

The most effective treatments for PTSD have over two decades of research showing that they lead to clinically significant improvements that are long-lasting.

All of these treatments are specific subtypes of Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT) that address avoidance and problematic beliefs that form after trauma(s), as both of these factors maintain PTSD.

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

CPT is a short-term trauma-focused PTSD treatment that helps clients address problematic and painful thoughts that often follow trauma.

These thoughts often center around the meaning that one makes about why the trauma happened (“it was my fault,” “it could have been prevented”) and the impact of the trauma on how someone thinks about themselves (e.g., “I am broken”), others (“no one can be trusted”) and the world (“nowhere is safe”).

CPT helps decrease avoidance, facilitates processing natural emotions and helps clients develop skills for making sense of the traumatic events and their impact in more balanced ways.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)

PE is a short-term trauma-focused PTSD treatment that teaches clients how to gradually approach trauma memories and people, places and activities (that are objectively safe) that have been avoided since the trauma(s), in a safe and supportive manner.

Confronting these challenges leads to a decrease in PTSD symptoms and to a greater sense of self-confidence.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR helps clients process distressing memories, feelings and thoughts about trauma(s) they have experienced while focusing on an external stimuli that moves back and forth (e.g., lights, sounds, tapping). Although EMDR has been shown to be effective for PTSD, there is disagreement about exactly how it works.

If someone is struggling with trauma-related symptoms, but they do not suffer from PTSD, there are a number of other treatments that may be a great fit, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Seeking Safety, Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Relations (STAIR), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or general Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) skills.

Who trauma focused therapy is for

Trauma therapy is for anyone who is looking for relief from symptoms that began or got worse after the experience of a traumatic event.

Trauma focused therapy is especially beneficial for those who suffer from PTSD. Trauma therapy can help with any of the following kinds of difficulties.

Trauma-related memories and nightmares

Trauma therapy can decrease the incidence of intrusive unwanted memories of traumatic events.

PTSD treatments like CPT, PE and EMDR are very effective at reducing, and often eliminating, trauma-related memories that occur in daytime or at night in the form of nightmares.

Anxiety and hypervigilance

Following trauma, some people may start to think of the world as unsafe and may become fearful of their surroundings due to fear that catastrophe will occur again.

Certain stimuli that was present during the trauma can continue to elicit a fight-flight-fear reaction, even after the threat is gone, especially when individuals avoid those trauma triggers.

Trauma treatments can help people gradually confront objectively safe situations in order to reduce intense physiological arousal and anxiety.

Guilt and shame

Following traumas, especially interpersonal traumas, people may believe that they were at fault for the trauma(s) or could have prevented them somehow. These kinds of thoughts typically lead to feelings of guilt and shame.

Sleep problems

While sleep problems can be due to many factors, sleep problems are very common for survivors of trauma.

Sometimes sleep problems occur due to hypervigilance or fears about safety when falling asleep, other times sleep issues are due to disrupted sleep due to trauma-related nightmares.

Benefits of Trauma Based Therapy

Trauma based therapy can lead to different benefits. For some, it provides an avenue for reclaiming power in their lives, for some it provides relief from PTSD symptoms, and for others it can provide avenues for reconnecting to people and activities that are important to them.

Trauma therapy can help survivors gain control over trauma-related memories

For individuals who experience intrusive trauma-related images and memories, evidence-based treatments for PTSD can lead to significant decreases, and often complete remission, from distressing and unwanted trauma-related memories.

For many, this means that they get to control if, and when, they think about traumatic events, rather than the trauma memories intruding into consciousness without choice.

No matter how long ago traumatic events occurred, evidence-based PTSD treatments (CPT, PE and EMDR) can effectively treat re-experiencing symptoms of the trauma(s).

Trauma therapy can help people make sense of a senseless event

It is often extremely challenging to make sense of a traumatic event. By definition, traumas are outliers of human experience and can be difficult to integrate into pre-trauma beliefs people may have held.

This may lead to people getting stuck in certain patterns of thoughts that reflect un-doing the trauma in some way (e.g. “If I had only done x, the trauma wouldn’t have happened,” “if they had done y, this could have been prevented,” “this was my fault,” or “this should never have happened”).

These kinds of beliefs are very common among trauma survivors and can lead to a great deal of guilt, shame and anger. Trauma therapy provides skills and tools to help people make meaning of why and how traumatic events could have occurred in ways that are balanced and contextualized.

Trauma therapy can empower people to stop avoiding and can decrease fear and anxiety

Often after trauma(s), people begin to avoid situations and other stimuli that remind them of the trauma(s). These are often called trauma triggers. Although avoidance can provide a little short-term relief, it leads to many problems when used as a long-term strategy.

Often people describe that avoidance makes their worlds become smaller and smaller. Avoiding trauma cues that prolong unwanted fight-fight-freeze reactions and anxiety, can inhibit processing of the trauma and can keep trauma survivors from learning important information about perceived vs actual risk.

Trauma therapy provides numerous avenues for getting back to living fully and for facing trauma cues that are objectively safe. Trauma therapy provides a path for decreasing avoidance and getting one’s life back.


Contact us today at Bali Counselling, for your free 30 minute consultation,


#traumainformed #traumatherapynewyork#traumatherapylosangeles


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