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Trauma is a powerful force that can leave deep scars on an individual’s psyche. Whether it stems from a single traumatic event or years of prolonged stress, trauma can disrupt a person’s life, affecting their mental, emotional, and physical well-being. However, the remarkable resilience of the human spirit allows us to find healing and regain control over our lives. This is where trauma therapy comes in. In this article, we will delve into the various types of therapy specifically designed to address trauma and highlight their efficacy in promoting healing and recovery.

3 Types of Trauma Therapy

1) Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a well-established and evidence-based therapy approach that has been extensively used in treating trauma-related disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CBT operates on the premise that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected and influence one another. This kind of trauma therapy aims to identify and challenge maladaptive thoughts and beliefs that contribute to distressing emotions and problematic behaviors.

CBT focuses on helping individuals recognize and modify negative thoughts and perceptions related to the traumatic event. This process, known as cognitive restructuring, involves examining the accuracy and helpfulness of these thoughts and replacing them with more realistic and adaptive ones. By challenging and changing distorted thinking patterns, individuals can reduce their distress and regain control over their lives.

CBT also incorporates behavioral interventions to address avoidance behaviors commonly associated with trauma. Exposure therapy, a key component of CBT, gradually exposes individuals to trauma-related triggers or situations in a safe and controlled manner. This process helps them confront their fears, learn new coping skills, and rewire their responses to traumatic stimuli.

Furthermore, CBT equips individuals with valuable coping strategies to manage trauma-related symptoms. This may include relaxation techniques, stress management skills, and problem-solving strategies. By seeking out trauma therapy and learning effective coping mechanisms, individuals can better navigate the challenges associated with trauma and enhance their overall well-being.

2) Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a highly specialized and innovative therapy specifically designed for trauma treatment. It was developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro and has since gained recognition as an effective approach for addressing trauma-related symptoms.

EMDR involves a structured eight-phase protocol that guides individuals through the processing and reintegration of traumatic memories. The unique aspect of EMDR is the use of bilateral stimulation, which can be achieved through eye movements, taps, or auditory cues. The therapist facilitates this bilateral stimulation while the individual focuses on the traumatic memory.

The bilateral stimulation in EMDR is thought to activate the brain’s natural information-processing mechanisms, allowing individuals to reprocess traumatic memories in a new and adaptive way. This process helps desensitize the emotional intensity of the memory, enabling individuals to integrate it into their past experiences rather than experiencing it as an ongoing threat in the present.

EMDR also involves identifying and addressing any negative beliefs or self-perceptions that emerged from the trauma. By challenging and replacing these negative cognitions with positive and empowering beliefs, individuals can experience a significant reduction in trauma-related symptoms and a restoration of their sense of self-worth and resilience.

3) Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is a specialized form of therapy designed specifically for children and adolescents who have experienced trauma. TF-CBT integrates various evidence-based techniques from cognitive-behavioral therapy, play therapy, and family therapy to address the unique needs of young trauma survivors.

TF-CBT employs a structured and phased approach to trauma treatment, emphasizing safety, stabilization, and the development of coping skills. It focuses on helping young individuals process and make sense of the traumatic experiences they have endured while addressing the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral effects of trauma.

One of the core components of TF-CBT is psychoeducation, which involves providing age-appropriate information to children and their families about trauma and its impact. By understanding the nature of trauma and its effects, young survivors can develop a greater sense of control and reduce feelings of self-blame or shame.

TF-CBT also incorporates techniques such as cognitive restructuring, which helps children identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs related to the trauma. It utilizes play therapy and

When it comes to addressing trauma, therapy plays a vital role in promoting healing and recovery. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) are powerful approaches specifically designed to address trauma-related symptoms and support individuals in reclaiming their lives.

CBT helps individuals recognize and challenge negative thought patterns, enabling them to regain control over their emotions and behaviors. EMDR facilitates the reprocessing of traumatic memories, reducing their emotional impact and promoting integration. TF-CBT focuses on the unique needs of children and adolescents, combining various techniques to empower young survivors and their families.

While these three types of therapy have been highlighted in this article, it is important to note that there are other effective approaches available as well. Each therapy has its strengths, and the choice of therapy should be based on individual needs and preferences.

Ultimately, the goal of therapy for trauma is to provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals to process their experiences, develop effective coping strategies, and find empowerment on their journey to healing. With the guidance of a skilled therapist, trauma survivors can overcome the impact of their past and create a brighter and more resilient future.

FIND A CHRISTIAN THERAPIST

Research shows that much of the change people experience during their time in therapy is because they felt heard and understood by their therapist–that their therapist “got them” and that the guidance they gave was relevant and applicable.  Because of this, it is critical that you find a therapist whom you can connect with, whom you feel comfortable with, whom you feel “gets you.” Therefore, we encourage you to take a few minutes to read a little about each one of our therapists. If you prefer to look at the counselors nearest to you, please click the office location buttons below. Otherwise, you can meet with any of our Christian Counselors online from the comfort of your own home. If you have questions about any of them, please contact us!

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DEVIN P. PIERCE

MA, LPC, NCC

TRUDI BECK

Clinical Supervisor MA, MS, LMFT      

Steven Werner

MA-Level Intern      

Ali Denny

MA-Level Intern      

Kayla Joslin

MA-Level Intern      

ERYNN FABER

MA, LPCC

RACHEL ZENISEK

Pre-Licensed Counselor

Emily Smyly

MA-Level Intern

SAMUEL DYSART

MA, LPCC

ANGELO WEYNEN

M.A., LPC
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