5 Things You Need to Know About Trauma Therapy
Beginning psychotherapy for trauma can be overwhelming and intimidating. Many people who have experienced trauma may have a challenging time starting therapy, as their experiences may have been confusing, painful, and overwhelming. However, a therapist can be a significant help to trauma survivors.
Indeed, psychotherapists talk with their clients, form professional relationships with them, help explore what blocks them from their ideal lives, and work with them collaboratively to help them reach their goals. It’s really that simple. Just two people working together to help create the client’s best life and as much freedom from the impact of trauma as possible.
Several things to keep in mind before undertaking an effort to overcome trauma include:
- Your experience of the event matters more than the details of the event
When many people consider Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and its symptoms, they think of victims of violence and combat veterans. However, trauma responses can occur following just about any event that was tremendously upsetting or life-altering. Events that might lead to post-traumatic disorders are those in which people are exposed to actual death or the threat of it, sexual violence, and serious injury.
Hearing about or witnessing such events can cause a traumatic response, as well. Research shows that watching television coverage of traumatic events can lead to an increased stress response, particularly in youngsters, such as children and adolescents. However, it’s important to note that what happened is not as important as the reaction to what happened. If you start to feel distressed following an event, you are well-advised to seek out a clinical psychologist to talk about and help you cope with your experience.
- Your feelings are not odd, strange, weird, or out of line
There is no standard right or wrong response to trauma. Many of the challenges that follow trauma may cause people to feel foreign and unpleasant, but this does not mean those feelings are abnormal. In fact, a trauma response is a typical reaction to an unusually stressful situation. Following a traumatic event, people may have nightmares, anxiety, headaches, intrusive memories, anger, irritability, insomnia, or confusion. It is also totally normal to feel shame, depression, numbness, isolation, or dissociation. Although responses to trauma can manifest in many ways, whatever feelings that arise are normal—but with the help of therapy, they don’t have to be permanent.
- PTSD can manifest physical symptoms
Some people have physical symptoms and discomforts in response to traumatic events. Therapy provides a safe place to make sense of these uncomfortable and undesirable reactions.
- Self-medicating can interfere with healing
When feeling overwhelmed by trauma, many people reach for things such as a soothing drink, a medication that “takes the edge off,” or comfort foods. While these may offer short-term relief, they likely worsen trauma symptoms in the long run. Trauma therapy helps traumatized people working through their troubling feelings and helps to provide much-needed coping skills.
- Therapy is most likely the optimal treatment for trauma
Research has shown that therapy is more effective than taking medications in treating trauma, both the short and long term. Trauma impacts your quality of life. Such issues, when discussed and explored in therapy, can help you cope with and make sense of trauma and its associated feelings. For more information about how you can benefit from therapy, contact a trauma therapist in Palatine, IL.
Thanks to Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into counseling and trauma therapy.