Trauma therapy is a form of psychological treatment that can help individuals cope with the emotional aftermath of a traumatic event. Trauma is defined as a psychological and emotional response to an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. This can include anything from being in an accident, having an illness or injury, losing a loved one, or going through a divorce. It can also encompass more extreme experiences such as rape or torture.
Psychologists have developed categories to differentiate between types of trauma, such as complex trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and developmental traumatic disorder. Each person's trauma is unique and requires its own set of biological, physiological, neurological and psychological needs and reactions. People who have experienced trauma and have been repeatedly told that their experiences, characteristics, or emotional reactions are unreasonable and unacceptable may suffer even more and develop chronic difficulties. If you or someone you know 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.
Trauma therapy can help challenge problematic thought patterns that may have developed about yourself and the world around you, to help you understand why the traumatic event occurred.
Prolonged Exposure (PE)and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) are the first-line treatments for trauma, since they have the most research evidence demonstrating their effectiveness. Trauma can instill fear and cause you to avoid people, places, or things that remind you of the traumatic experience, which can make it difficult for you to function. Traumatic experiences can affect a person's life and relationships, as well as cause difficulties in work, school, and social environments.
A trauma-focused therapist can help the client understand how they think about their trauma and how to turn it into more useful thinking. Essentially, each “trauma symptom” was created by the individual's body as a solution to the traumatic event or situation. Intensive long-term exposure therapy for patients with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder after multiple injuries and multiple attempts at treatment is also available. Trauma therapy helps people process traumatic events and the lasting experience of trauma that may follow those events.
It often occurs within a certain time frame or within a specific relationship and often in a specific environment. In this type of therapy, mental health professionals will guide the patient as they talk about their problems, traumas, memories, and thoughts to help with a wide range of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties.