While not all trauma survivors experience long-term consequences, we know that the experience of trauma can profoundly affect a person’s psychological, social, physical, occupational, and financial functioning. As a result, many trauma survivors seek specialized therapy to heal and recover.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma is a psychological, emotional response to an event or experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. When loosely applied, the trauma definition can refer to something upsetting, such as being involved in an accident, having an illness or injury, losing a loved one, or going through a divorce.
However, it can also encompass extreme events and include exposure to life-threatening situations, such as combat, natural disasters, rape, or childhood abuse. In addition to the physical and emotional injuries that may result from trauma, it can also lead to long-term cognitive issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and psychosis.
What Are the Types of Trauma?
Everyone processes traumatic events differently because we all face life through the lens of our prior experiences. This difference in perspective is what makes trauma such a complex topic.
While the effects of trauma can vary significantly from one individual to the next, psychologists have found it helpful to conceptualize trauma reactions using a few different categories. These include complex trauma, PTSD, and developmental trauma disorder. Each of these categories represents a different way in which trauma can manifest. Understanding the distinctions between these categories can be helpful in diagnosis and treatment.
Complex trauma refers to exposure to multiple traumatic events, often of an extended or repetitive nature. This type of trauma can occur in the context of abuse, neglect, or other forms of maltreatment. Individuals who experience complex trauma often develop symptoms across multiple domains, including physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects.
PTSD is a specific type of trauma reaction that can occur after exposure to a single event or series of events that are perceived as life-threatening or otherwise highly stressful. Symptoms of PTSD typically include re-experiencing the event(s) through intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and nightmares, as well as avoidance of people, places, things, and situations that might trigger a flashback.
What Options Exist for Trauma Treatment?
Trauma therapy treatments come in many different forms. Evidence-based therapies are effective through scientific research. The following are some evidence-based treatments for trauma:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that helps people change negative thinking patterns and behaviors. This type of therapy effectively treats various kinds of trauma, including PTSD.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is a therapy that uses eye movements to help people process and release trauma memories.
- Exposure therapy: Exposure therapy helps people confront their fears and memories in a safe and controlled environment.
- Cognitive processing therapy (CPT): CPT helps patients challenge and modify unhelpful beliefs related to the trauma they experienced. Writing a detailed account of the traumatic event allows patients to reconceptualize the event to reduce its impact on one’s current life. CPT is an effective treatment for PTSD, with patients reporting reductions in symptoms such as reexperiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal.
- Narrative exposure therapy (NET): NET is a type of trauma therapy that focuses on people’s stories about their lives. The goal of NET is to help patients reframe their narratives in a more positive light. This can be achieved through storytelling, active listening, and positive feedback from the therapist. By chronicling both the positive and negative experiences from their past, patients can begin to see themselves in a new light.
The Benefits of Trauma Therapy
Traumatic experiences can have a lasting impact on a person’s life, causing difficulties in relationships, work, school, and social settings. However, research has shown that trauma therapy can help people recover from trauma and improve their quality of life.
Trauma therapy can provide a safe space for people to process their experiences and develop coping skills. In addition, trauma therapy can help people understand how their past experiences impact their current life and relationships. For many people, trauma therapy is an essential step in rebuilding their lives after a traumatic event.
How Can 449 Recovery Help?
449 Recovery is a mental health treatment center for individuals who suffer from maladaptive coping skills such as addiction. Located in beautiful Viejo, CA, our program is CARF accredited and DHCS licensed, offering partial hospitalization (PHP) and intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment.
Our goal is to integrate our clients back into the community at an improved level of functioning, using objective data to measure progress along the way. 449 Recovery is committed to providing the highest quality of care and individualized treatment plans. We are staffed by compassionate and experienced professionals.
449 Recovery offers several trauma treatments and is also an excellent referral source. Contact 449 Recovery today for more information.
Trauma is a reaction to a deeply distressing or disturbing event. When someone experiences trauma, they may feel scared, confused, and helpless. These feelings are normal and usually go away over time. However, some people may experience more severe symptoms that last for weeks, months, or even years. This may be a sign of PTSD. PTSD can occur after experiencing a life-threatening event, such as a natural disaster, a car accident, or a violent attack. It can also happen after witnessing something traumatic or learning that a loved one has been harmed. If you are struggling to cope with your emotions after a traumatic event, it is important to seek professional help. A therapist can provide you with the support and tools you need to heal and move on with your life. 449 Recovery offers evidence-based trauma treatments tailored to the individual client. Contact us at (949) 435-7449.