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Trauma Therapy Can Help You Heal
When you’ve experienced a trauma, it can throw your whole world out of order, make you feel unsafe, and cause you to feel lost. The impact of trauma can be significant and affect you for years and years afterwards. Trauma therapy can help you heal by providing you with a safe space and professional guidance so that you overcome your trauma and live a healthy, happy, full life.
Some common sources of trauma include:
- Interpersonal violence, such as: sexual assault, abuse, or violent assault
- Acts of violence, such as terrorism or armed robbery
- Involvement in a serious accident, such as a car crash or workplace accident
- Natural disasters, such as hurricanes or fires
Many things can cause trauma, such as sudden death or a loved one, bullying, childbirth, harassment, falls and injuries, life-threatening illnesses, and more. Traumatic events can be isolated or repeated and ongoing. A person can be traumatized by witnessing another person’s trauma.
Trauma therapy recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma, realizes the widespread impact of trauma and all potential paths of recovery, and uses knowledge of trauma in policies and procedures in order to avoid re-traumatizing clients.
Trauma therapy aims to help you heal, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and improve your ability to function. While it may be scary to open up about what happened to you and how it affected you, trauma therapy can help you process what happened and empower you to move forward and live an empowered life.
Something that many people don’t realize about trauma is that it can physically change your brain. The amygdala, the part of your brain that controls and regulates emotions, can get over-activated after trauma, which can then cause any memory of your trauma to make your amygdala scream that you need help and you’re hurt. Neurons within your brain can start to die after trauma, which impacts the pathways in your brain. New synapses form and start to change your brain. The psychological effects of trauma can last for years after the event or situation. People can develop mental health problems, personality changes, and other symptoms.
Due to something called neuroplasticity, which basically means that your brain is malleable, trauma therapy can help you recover from trauma and change your brain in a positive way, by influencing your brain to create new, positive pathways. This is especially important for people who have experienced severe trauma.
People from minority backgrounds may also experience intergenerational trauma and historical trauma. This is when effects of trauma are passed down through generations. This can happen as a result of colonization, slavery, and other major traumatic events that oppressed groups of people.
Trauma and PTSD Symptoms
People can experience many, many different symptoms after experiencing trauma. Depending on the type of trauma you experience, you may experience different symptoms. These also vary greatly from person to person and can range from mild to severe.
Some common symptoms of trauma and PTSD include:
Emotional And Psychological Symptoms
- Intrusive thoughts
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Emotional numbness
- Overwhelming fear
- Panic attacks
- Social isolation/withdrawal
- Avoidance of people, places, and activities that remind you of the event
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Easily startled
- Digestive issues
- Racing heart
- Sexual dysfunction
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Changes in eating patterns
- Aches and pains
Developmental trauma refers to childhood trauma that people can experience, such as abuse, neglect, manipulation, and household dysfunction, that has been repeated many times. Since children are not able to control how they are treated and cannot leave, this can cause trauma. Developmental trauma can result in misdiagnosis later on in life as one’s history with trauma is overlooked, as well as put people at risk for many different complex cognitive, emotional, and physical illnesses throughout their life.
Exposure to traumatic situations and events throughout childhood can manifest in many different ways, such as:
- Sensory processing disorder
- Personality disorders
- Mood disorders
- Developmental delays
- Learning disabilities
- And more
Developmental trauma can result in feeling isolated, becoming hopeless, feeling powerless, deep-rooted shame, hyper-vigilance, trouble with emotional regulation, and other common symptoms of trauma. Many different complex issues can be traced back to developmental trauma, so treatment is important in order to help one live a healthy, normal life.
What To Expect In Trauma Therapy
When you start trauma therapy, you should know that it can be incredibly challenging. Working through trauma and how it impacted you and your life can be very difficult. However, not seeking treatment for your trauma can result in all manner of issues and be very emotionally debilitating.
There are several different types of trauma therapy; your therapist will determine which they think will be most helpful for you or may also combine tactics from different approaches. You should always feel comfortable telling your therapist when you feel like something isn’t working so that they can adjust their approach if need be.
Although therapy can look different depending on your trauma and the approach used, you can expect to talk about what happened and work through your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. How long trauma therapy takes can vary greatly, depending on your needs, your therapist’s availability, and your progress.
Here at Ogden Psychological Services, we use CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and Neurofeedback to treat trauma.
How Trauma Therapy Can Help
Trauma therapy is a very effective treatment method for overcoming trauma. Trauma therapy can help you address the traumatic event or situation, process your feelings, face your fears in a safe space, and learn healthy coping mechanisms.
Left untreated, trauma can drive people to seek out unhealthy coping mechanisms and cause devastating impacts on nearly every aspect of their lives. Some common effects of untreated trauma include:
- Substance abuse
- Inability to maintain healthy relationships
- Loss of former belief symptoms
- Impulsive behavior
- Sexual problems
- Self-destructive behaviors
- Constantly feeling threatened
- Constant arguing
- Feeling permanently damaged
- Inability to make healthy lifestyle or occupational choices
- Uncontrollable reactive thoughts
- Development of mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety disorders
- Personality changes
Trauma therapy helps you to overcome fear, make it easier to trust people again, improve your coping skills, challenge any problematic thought patterns you may have developed about yourself or others, and offer you validation, acceptance, and understanding of your experiences and your reactions to them.
Some common benefits and goals of trauma therapy are:
- Learning how to successfully handle the reality of the trauma
- Eliminating or lessening the symptoms of trauma
- Shifting your focus from the past to the present and future
- Improved daily functioning
- Regaining your confidence and self-esteem
- Learning the skills to prevent unhealthy coping mechanisms from developing
- Overcoming addictions caused by unhealthy coping mechanisms
- Emotional support
- Learning how to enjoy life again
Trauma therapy can greatly improve your quality of life and your relationships with others. It isn’t easy, but with the support of a licensed therapist from Ogden Psychological Services, symptoms of trauma can lessen over time, you can make sense out of what happened, and you can go on to live a life that isn’t dominated by the effects of trauma. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment.