Approximately 70% of adults will experience some type of traumatic experience at least once in their lives. For years, doctors have been looking for better and more effective ways to treat trauma. Because people experience and process traumatic events differently, it can be difficult to identify a therapy method that is more effective. Counseling centers and therapists use several different types of trauma therapy to help people in their most vulnerable moments.
Also known as talk therapy, psychotherapy provides the patient with an opportunity to talk about their trauma and work on the healing process. Doctors help their patients talk about the problems they're experiencing on a regular basis. The patient and doctor form a bond of trust so that they can open up and share. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of behavioral therapy. Doctors help their patients identify behaviors and attitudes that reflect negatively on their lives.
Patients then work to replace these negative attitudes with positive ones. Patients often use these new skills in their daily lives. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) helps teach patients new and more positive ways to address trauma-related beliefs and emotions. Like other types of trauma therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) aims to better regulate emotions. This form of therapy has been effective in helping those who have suicidal thoughts.
This method has been effective for several mental health disorders, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It helps instill new skills to help people change unhealthy behaviors. CBT focuses on recognizing problematic thought patterns and working to change them, which then helps to change behavioral patterns. This treatment requires the person to attend weekly appointments to learn skills that can be used to control their symptoms. Throughout the treatment, the person will practice the skills outside of the sessions. Designed for children and adolescents, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) works to improve a variety of trauma-related outcomes in children.
This treatment lasts 8 to 25 sessions and the treatment involves both the child and a caregiver or a trusted adult. TF-CBT is one of the most effective trauma therapy methods available to help young people recover from PTSD. TF-CBT addresses other trauma-related challenges, such as anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems. In addition, the caregiver or trusted adult can ease their distress over the child's traumatic event and learn effective parenting skills. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is different from most talk therapy.
It does not require a person to explain their trauma in detail. Instead, the person will perform eye movements or hit with the eyes while focusing on an image related to the trauma. EMDR therapy helps a person to “unwind” so that their brain can go through its natural healing process. It is designed to help a person quickly resolve traumatic memories. Unlike other therapies, it doesn't focus on changing trauma-related emotions, thoughts, or behaviors.
EMDR therapy can often be completed in far fewer sessions than other talk therapies. Exposure Therapy is another form of behavioral therapy where you gradually face your fears (for example, memories of a traumatic event) without the dreaded consequence. Often, this exposure causes the individual to learn that fear or negative emotion is unjustified, which in turn allows the fear to diminish. Stress Inoculation Training (SIT), also known as relaxation training, teaches people how to manage stress and anxiety. Hypnotherapy is a popular alternative for people who have had problems with other types of therapy, such as EMDR or CPT.
Often, problematic or irrational thinking keeps a person “stuck” and makes it difficult to recover from trauma. Negative thoughts associated with trauma can then be reprocessed into more positive and accepting beliefs. Codependent behavior could be a response to early traumatic experiences, and you can make significant progress in overcoming it. The CBT category encompasses several types and elements of treatment used by cognitive-behavioral therapists, while cognitive processing therapy, cognitive therapy, and long-term exposure are more specialized treatments that focus on particular aspects of CBT interventions.
Somatic therapy aims to “release repressed trauma” to alleviate mental health symptoms and chronic pain, through methods such as developing body awareness and establishing a foundation in the body. While there is no “best trauma therapy” people may find that they respond better to one type of treatment than another. It requires preparation, repeated practice, courage, determination, and the support of others including that of a professional coach or therapist.