What is the Difference Between Therapy and Trauma Therapy?

Therapy and trauma therapy are two distinct forms of treatment that are used to help people overcome the effects of traumatic events. While both approaches involve working with a therapist, a trauma therapist has additional training in techniques designed to help people heal without being re-traumatized. Trauma-focused therapy sessions are tailored to the individual's age, traumatic experience, environment, and other factors, and aim to help them develop skills and coping strategies to better respond to reminders and emotions associated with the traumatic event. Trauma therapy is not just for those with obvious traumatic symptoms, such as combat veterans or those who have experienced abuse.

It can also be beneficial for those who have experienced a single event or a lasting situation, or a combination of both. Expressive arts therapy is one form of trauma therapy that uses creative activities such as art, movement, theater, music, and writing to treat PTSD, acute stress disorder, and other trauma-related problems. In Trauma and the Soul by Donald Kalsched, he explores the spiritual moments that can occur during psychoanalytic work through clinical vignettes. Janina Fisher's book Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors explains that from a neurobiological point of view, the legacy of trauma responses indicates an “attempt at adaptation”.

When searching for a trauma therapist, it's important to pay attention to how they describe their approach to treatment. Professionals' education, understanding, and experience with trauma patients will also influence the chosen trauma-based care plan. Children may show reactions that seem out of proportion to an experience but may actually be reactions to memories of the trauma. In addition to traditional therapy methods, there are two subsets of psychotherapy that can be used in trauma-focused treatment: trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Jungian therapy.

CBT focuses on helping people identify and change negative thought patterns while Jungian therapy focuses on understanding the unconscious mind. Overall, trauma therapy is an effective approach for helping people heal from traumatic experiences. It is important to find a therapist who has additional training in this area and who understands how to tailor their approach to each individual's needs.

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