Many people will experience extremely distressing or disturbing events over the course of their lifetime. These events are known as trauma, and they can include ordinary events all the way up to unimaginable scenarios. You might experience a lot of symptoms in the aftermath of such an intense experience, but what do you do with all of those feelings that you have bottled up inside of you?
Finding the right therapy for trauma can help you to go about living your life once again. Learn more about what trauma is and how the right therapies can help you now.
What is Trauma?
Trauma is a deeply disturbing or distressing event that occurs at some point in your life. Some trauma occurs during the early childhood years while other trauma may not happen until later in life. There are no set guidelines for when trauma must occur in order for it to be considered valid. When you have experienced trauma, there is always a response to the experience that you had. You may experience that response physically, psychologically, or emotionally for a period of time until you are able to work through what happened to you.
Many people will experience some sort of trauma over the course of their lifetime. It can include simple events such as being in a car accident, witnessing the death of a loved one, being diagnosed with a major illness, or going through the divorce process. Ordinary events can definitely be traumatic for certain individuals depending on their previous life experiences and the situation itself. When it comes to diagnosing these ordinary events as trauma, we must remember that it is only considered trauma if there is a significant response to the event.
However, the spectrum of events that can be encompassed under trauma is relatively far-reaching. Trauma may also include much more serious experiences such as being exposed to war, torture, rape, or other horrific scenarios.
In order for the trauma to qualify for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, it is generally accepted that the trauma must have involved an event that threatened death, serious injury, or the physical integrity of you or someone around you. The event could have been experienced firsthand or you may have witnessed the trauma occur to someone else. It most often involves feelings of fear, helplessness, or horror.
When is Trauma Therapy Used?
Trauma therapy is used when the symptoms of your trauma begin to interfere with your daily life, relationships, and experiences. While some of these symptoms will be present in everyone directly following the trauma, some people experience them long-term. They can eventually interfere with their ability to work, have relationships, and feel safe in their own home.
Everyone who has experienced trauma is likely to respond to the event in a different way, even if they all experienced the same type of event. Here are just a few of the common reactions that people will have following a traumatic experience:
- Shock or denial of the event
- Persistent feelings of anger or sadness
- Unpredictable emotions or mood swings
- Intense feelings of guilt
- Feelings of isolation or hopelessness
- Physical symptoms like headaches or nausea
Some people may even begin to avoid situations that remind them of the original event. For example, they may avoid driving down the interstate if they were involved in a terrible car accident on the highway. Avoidance symptoms like these can greatly interfere with someone’s ability to live their life.
While these symptoms may not be problematic in the very beginning, they can worsen over time. This is when trauma therapy should be used to lessen these symptoms and help someone return to living their normal life.
What is Trauma Therapy?
Trauma therapy is a unique treatment plan that is used to help you cope with the different symptoms that you might currently be experiencing. Each therapist may take a slightly different approach to help you understand what happened, process your emotions toward that event, and begin to live your daily life once more.
In general, there are considered to be three effective treatments available for helping with trauma:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients to identify the patterns of thinking that might be leading them toward negative behavior patterns. It is based on the idea that we often have faulty lines of thinking that can skew our perception of the events around us. The entire goal is to address those faulty ways of thinking and begin to replace them with healthier coping skills.
This unique type of therapy is designed to lessen your response to situations that remind you of the original trauma by exposing you to those situations. Exposure therapy is meant to reduce your fear response in these situations.
Talk therapy is a great way for a therapist to begin to assess what types of skills you already have to help you cope with the trauma you experienced. It provides you with an opportunity to work through some of the painful emotions associated with your trauma and learn new coping skills to manage the stress or emotional response that you feel.
Reasons to See a Therapist
The primary reason that you would seek out the help of a therapist would be when your symptoms stemming from the trauma are too severe for you to continue living your daily life. There may come a time when you realize that the symptoms of your disorder are interfering with your ability to work, maintain relationships with others, and simply go about your daily activities.
When something traumatic happens in your life, it is always best to seek out help early before your avoidance symptoms become too severe. It is much easier to work through new trauma than to reduce your symptoms that stem from trauma that has been left to simmer for months or years. You can regain control of your life much sooner when you reach out for professional help in the very beginning.
You should know that healing from your trauma is completely possible with the right help. Regain control of your life again with the help that is available from professional counselors, psychologists, and therapists who can put together a customized treatment plan just for you. Leave the past behind and start focusing on a safe future once again with the best trauma therapy that you can find.
If you or your loved one is in need of therapy, we are here to help.
Please fill out the form below and click on submit. One of our licensed therapists will be in touch within 24 hours to discuss your unique case.