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  • Writer's pictureIntermountain Counseling

What Are the Benefits of Trauma Therapy?

Woman doing trauma therapy with her therapist

Experiencing trauma leaves lasting physical, mental, social, and spiritual effects. It can happen to people of any age and ethnicity. In the US alone, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects approximately 3.5% of adults each year. Even more, 1 in 11 people will have a PTSD diagnosis in their lifetime.

Traumatic events leave lasting effects on your brain, causing you to live in fear and constantly feel triggered by memories. If you're scared about getting trauma therapy due to this, learning more about the benefits can put you at ease.

Trauma therapy changes lives and will allow you to face these fears in a safe and comfortable space. Read on to learn what you need to know about trauma therapy and its benefits to see how it can help you.

Overview of Trauma Therapy

Trauma-focused therapy or trauma therapy is a type of therapy that helps people who've gone through a traumatic event. It provides a supportive approach that allows people to process and deal with emotions from trauma.

Experiencing trauma can lead to various psychological and emotional issues like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Trauma therapy can help with any event that leads to psychological or emotional harm:

  • Abuse

  • Accidents

  • Abandonment

  • Bullying

  • Death of a loved one

  • Crime and violence

  • Illness

  • Job loss

  • Sexual assault

  • Natural disasters

  • Near-death experience

  • Neglect

Even a one-time event or witnessing a traumatic event can leave long-lasting trauma. Therefore, trauma counseling is a critical part of your healing process.

Types of Trauma Therapy

There are different types of therapies available to treat trauma. You first need to find an experienced trauma counselor to complete an initial assessment. During the intake session, you'll complete paperwork and learn more about trauma therapy.

Once your trauma therapist understands your social, psychological, and biological history, they'll form a treatment plan.

Although the type of therapy you'll receive can vary, there are common types of trauma therapies, which include:

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves moving your eyes rhythmically from left to right while focusing on a traumatic memory.

Focusing on traumatic memories with rhythmic eye movements helps reduce the memory's emotional impact. It may also involve other stimulation like auditory tones or taps. This stimulation helps desensitize you to these traumatic memories.

In time, repeated exposure to these memories greatly reduces or eliminates your negative responses to them. In fact, EMDR reduces many symptoms of PTSD:

  • Avoidance

  • Emotional numbing

  • Flashbacks

  • Startling easily

  • Panicking with reminders of the trauma

Talking about trauma sounds terrifying initially since you'll need to face what has happened. However, EMDR is a transformational tool that rewires trauma responses. It's beneficial if talk therapy hasn't addressed your trauma completely.

An experienced EMDR therapist will guide you through each session, helping you with coping skills.

Each EMDR session lasts approximately 50 minutes but can take up to 90 minutes, depending on your needs. You'll typically need at least eight consecutive weeks of therapy sessions to achieve the best results.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a therapy that helps you identify and change harmful and damaging thought patterns. Negative or inaccurate thoughts cause more emotional distress, leading to other mental health problems like anxiety.

CBT helps you explore how your thoughts and emotions impact your actions. Once you see these patterns clearly, you can learn how to change them. CBT usually involves:

  • Learning problem-solving skills

  • Learning how to face challenges and fears

  • Recognizing how inaccurate thinking makes things worse

  • Learning how to gain confidence

  • Desensitization to situations that cause distress

  • Journaling feelings

Your therapist will also help you set realistic and measurable goals for therapy.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

MBCT is a subtype of CBT therapy and uses mindfulness and meditation. It's frequently combined with CBT to help people with PTSD and anxiety disorders.

Mindfulness involves becoming more aware of the present moment and how you feel. It may seem simple, but it's very effective. This is because, most times, our minds are full of thoughts regarding the day. Constant thoughts about work, planning meals, or past events can lead to overthinking.

Mindfulness is all about observing your thoughts and feelings in the present moment without judgment.

Meditation is very helpful in stress reduction and can calm anxiety. It also helps to increase self-awareness and reduce negative emotions.

You can practice meditation by breathing slowly and focusing on your breath. If your attention wanders, simply refocus on your breathing. While doing this, allow thoughts to pass through your mind without reacting.

Benefits of Trauma Therapy

Traumatic experiences impact your entire life, from relationships to social settings. It even causes difficulties at work or school. Facing traumatic events is challenging, but trauma therapy provides life-changing benefits like:

Rewires Your Brain

Trauma therapy, like EMDR therapy, can rewire your brain. PTSD can lead to lasting changes in your brain. Not getting treatment can prevent you from living the happy and healthy life you deserve.

Trauma affects your amygdala, the part of your brain that puts you into fight-or-flight mode. Fight or flight mode also releases the stress hormone cortisol.

When you're reminded of a traumatic experience, your brain reacts as if it were experiencing trauma for the first time. Ultimately, you'll feel constantly on alert, with high-stress levels and anxiety.

Trauma also impacts the learning center of the brain, known as the hippocampus. This results in memory and problem-solving issues since you can get stuck between the past and the present.

Trauma therapy desensitizes you to these reactions, taking you out of fight or flight mode. After treatment, you'll be able to relax much easier since you won't always feel the need to be on alert.

Allows You to Understand Your Trauma

When you don't understand your trauma symptoms, they're much more challenging to deal with. This can lead to feeling anger and despair over your situation.

An experienced therapist helps you gently go down the road of painful, traumatic memories. Step by step, they'll help you understand the history of your trauma and how it affects you. You also learn more about how trauma impacts your brain. This normalizes how you're feeling, making you feel less alone.

You'll start to see why you react in specific ways, which reduces fear. You'll also begin to realize you're in control and things aren't hopeless.

Overall, understanding trauma brings you to a deep understanding of yourself.

Rebuild Your Sense of Self

Trauma essentially attacks your place in this world. It alters perceptions and shatters the world you once knew. It also changes how you perceive yourself and others. After trauma, the world no longer feels safe or manageable.

Trauma therapy helps you to rebuild your sense of self and the world around you. It does this in an authentic way, allowing you to become more resilient.

Therapy also teaches you ways to help yourself and cope with the symptoms you're experiencing.

You'll be able to feel more grounded and reconnect to yourself and life in a new and meaningful way.

Helps You Overcome Feelings of Shame and Low Self-Worth

Trauma frequently causes people to feel shame about their situation. It can even cause low-self worth, causing people to feel inadequate and unloved. This can spiral, leading to an intense fear of letting people down or making mistakes.

When you experience trauma due to a partner or childhood experiences, you tend to inflict more trauma on yourself. This is because you continue to feel the need to be perfect in everything you do.

Since trauma therapy dives deep into negative thinking patterns, it addresses these feelings. These toxic self-defeating thinking patterns are debunked, allowing you to reconnect with your thoughts and feelings.

Instead of rejecting yourself, you'll reach a place of acceptance.

Gives You Healthy Coping Skills

The long-term effects of PTSD can become debilitating, seriously impacting your mental and physical health. As a result, you don't cope with stress from work or relationships in a positive way.

You may feel isolated and alone and have trouble maintaining jobs or relationships. You'll also have difficulty expressing and controlling your emotions.

Learning new healthy coping strategies for PTSD renews your life, giving you a sense of hope. These coping strategies include:

  • Self-monitoring of thoughts and feelings

  • Mindfulness techniques

  • Deep breathing

  • Forming healthy social support systems

  • Self-soothing

  • Distraction

  • Journaling

Therapy will teach you how to make these healthy coping strategies a habit in your daily life.

Improves Relationships and Connections

Remember, PTSD affects your sense of self, making it difficult to handle relationships of all kinds. Traumas like childhood abuse or past abusive relationships can cause various relationship issues.

First, since trauma affects your thought processes, you lose the ability to trust others. This prevents you from forming close relationships with other people, including intimate partners.

Trauma also makes you hyper-alert because it causes you to go into fight or flight mode. You'll be hyperalert in relationships when you're stuck in this mode. For example, your partner may accidentally bump into you and trigger this mode all over again.

Trauma also leads to frustration and anger since you tend to feel like you're not in control of your emotions. This causes you to become frustrated with others and feel like you won't be understood.

Since trauma therapy validates your experience and builds self-awareness, it helps you break through these relationship barriers. Over time, you'll be able to form positive and lasting connections with people.

Experience the Benefits of Trauma Therapy

The benefits of trauma therapy are far-reaching and will change your entire life for the better. Now is the time to write a new chapter in your life.

You can turn to Intermountain Counseling for your trauma counseling needs. We began as a private practice in 2015 to help individuals and families in the Colorado Springs area.

Our staff has the mental-health expertise to help you reach the other side of trauma and reclaim your life. We provide trauma therapy and EMDR therapy and will guide you every step of the way.

Make sure to reach out and contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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