Processing Trauma in Therapy: A Guide to Recovery

When it comes to trauma, recovery is the primary goal for those affected, their families, and their care providers. Trauma-centered therapy, trauma-based care, or trauma therapy is a form of psychotherapy designed to help people manage the impact of traumatic events on their lives. Through this process, trauma is no longer a defining and organizing principle, but rather a part of someone's life. Participating in trauma therapy involves looking at our trauma from different angles, considering new information, and helping our brain understand the experiences we've had.

Trauma therapies examine our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and actions. Processing is the brain's way of trying to heal; however, when something distressing happens, the brain may experience flashbacks, nightmares, or bodily memories after a frightening experience. It can play a role in preparing you for counseling, asking for help, or answering some questions you may have about the trauma and its impact. The goal is not to “relive the trauma”, but also to tell the story without associated emotions.

There are several types of evidence-based trauma therapies and treatments that can improve a person's quality of life. You can start by finding a therapist who specializes in trauma that you feel comfortable connecting with. Yoga gradually teaches trauma survivors to learn to tune in, to feel in their skin and to begin to connect their mind and body in a gentle way. Obviously, this is an individual matter; many may find it beneficial to recount and recount their traumatic experiences, while others may find it harmful to their well-being. If you or a loved one is struggling with trauma, you can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) national helpline online or call 1-800-662-4357 for more information on finding support and treatment options specific to your geographic area.

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