What is Trauma Therapy?

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Trauma therapy

Trauma is events that initiate fear, helplessness, confusion, or hopelessness. Symptoms of traumatic stress often exist even when the person does not connect them to the original stressor(s). Trauma is like being alone in the deep-sea. In medical terminology, a trauma is simply a wound or injury that happens suddenly or violently. Analogously, psychological trauma results when “stress” overwhelms a person and causes lasting psychological effects. A traumatic event such as a natural disaster such as an earthquake, flood, or fire, or an accident such as a car or flight crash, can occur to anyone. A traumatic event involves a single experience, or a repeating event or events that totally devastate the individual's ability to cope or integrate the ideas and emotions involved with that experience. The sense of being besieged can be delayed by weeks, years or even decades, as the person struggles to cope with the immediate circumstances. Psychological trauma can lead to serious long-term negative consequences.


What is a trauma therapy?

Trauma Therapy can make significant success in reducing and/or eliminating invasive, avoidant and stimulating symptoms in the trauma survivors without using any medications in a moderately short period of time. Trauma survivors can learn to administer disturbing auditory illusions and suicidal urges that arise from trauma. A lot of trauma survivors will be very silent, assuming that their severe depression symptoms, suicidal urges, depersonalization, de-realization, and auditory hallucinations makes them fell that they are “mentally disordered.” Actually, these symptoms in addition to terror attacks, hyper attention, social fear, self-disfigurement, eating problems, frequent nightmares, flashbacks, and substance abuse are often the result of trauma. Trauma therapy treats all these symptoms as they process the traumatic events.


Who will be affected by trauma? 

Any one can be affected by trauma. Verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse, being the victim of or witnessing a violent crime, responding to a horrific emergency call, natural disasters, and car accidents are some examples of traumatic events. Regrettably, trauma is a part of every person's life at some point of time, and however some of us are overloaded with life's difficulties, more than others. There doesn't seem to be any reason why trouble strikes some people more than others, no matter how much people try to look for reasons for the uncontrollable. Everybody wishes to control of the world, but sometimes things happen that are beyond control.


What are the physical and emotional symptoms of trauma?

Some of the symptoms of trauma are:

  •  sleeplessness or nightmares
  •  Being worried easily
  •  Fast heartbeat
  •  Aches and pains
  •  Exhaustion
  •  Difficulty focusing
  •  Sudden changes in weight
  •  Restlessness and agitation
  •  Muscle tension
  •  Shock, refutation, or disbelief
  •  Anger, irritability, mood swings
  •  Guilt, shame, self-blame
  •  Feeling sad or hopeless
  •  Confusion, difficulty concentrating
  •  Anxiety and fear
  •  Moving back from others
  •  Feeling disengaged or without sensation.
  •  Loss of interest or pleasure in activities (such as hobbies, work, or being with friends)
  •  Frequent thoughts of death or suicide.


What does the trauma treatment involve?

Trauma treatment and healing involves:

  •  Development of trauma-related memories and feelings

  •  Releasing pent-up “fight-or-flight” energy

  •  Learning how to control physically powerful emotions
  •  Constructing or re-constructing the ability to trust other people.


What are the stages in a trauma therapy?

There are 3 stages in trauma therapy. They are:

I. First stage: The first stage of trauma therapy will teach the patient about trauma and therapy. In this stage, he/she will create more effective strategies to manage the effects of trauma on his/her life. The first stage of trauma treatment does not involve looking at or dealing with early experiences of abuse. Though, it's vital for the abuse survivor to acknowledge any experience of abuse or neglect. That way the therapist and patient can begin a process of helping the patient understand how the past affects the present. The three primary tasks of first stage trauma treatment are establishing safety, psycho education and managing trauma responses.
II. Second stage: The second or middle stage of trauma therapy involves looking at past experiences of trauma. It explores how the trauma has affected the patient in the past and how it continues to affect him/her. Processing traumatic experiences can be difficult and requires special methods. The most effective methods for dealing with traumatic memories are:

  •  EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing): This treatment encompasses fundamentals of cognitive-behavioral therapy with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation. In a classic EMDR therapy session, the patient concentrates on traumatic memories and related negative emotions and beliefs while tracking the therapist’s moving finger with the patient’s eyes. These back-and-forth eye movements are believed to work by “unfreezing” traumatic memories, permitting the patient to destroy them.
  •  Somatic experiencing: This therapy utilizes the body’s exclusive ability to heal on its own. The core of therapy is on bodily sensations, rather than thoughts and memories about the event. The patient gradually gets in touch with trauma-related energy and tension, by concentrating on what’s happening in the body. From there, the natural survival instincts take over, safely releasing this pent-up energy through shaking, crying, and other forms of physical discharge.
  •  Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This therapy aids the patient to process and assess his/her opinions and feelings about a trauma. Although cognitive-behavioral therapy doesn’t treat the physiological effects of trauma, it can be useful when used in addition to a body-based therapy such as somatic experiencing or EMDR.

III. Third stage: The third and last stage of trauma therapy involves addressing any remaining difficulties in the patient’s life, as well as working on ways to connect fully in his/her relationships with others. The final stage is about dealing with the issues of daily life for survivors who are doing well, but who are still struggling with specific issues.


How to choose a therapist?

Therapy for abuse-related trauma is usually a long-term commitment. Therefore, taking the time to find a therapist a patient is comfortable with is vital. It is important to find out what kind of qualifications a therapist has before a patient agrees to start therapy with her or him. Good therapists should want to explain to the patient about their educational background and whether they have any special training in different areas of therapy. A professional therapist may be a psychologist, a social worker or a psychiatrist. The therapist should at least have a university degree in a clinical counseling field at a graduate level, from a recognized university. It is very important to find a professional with specialized training in trauma therapy, and experience working with individual's who have been abused.

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