What is Trauma Therapy?
Trauma therapy is a form of psychotherapy that centers around helping people who have experienced trauma, by processing their experiences and learning coping skills to better deal with the psychological impacts of the trauma.
The trauma is an emotional response to challenging events and can involve a traumatic event like physical or sexual abuse, experiences of battle or combat, life threatening situations or natural disasters.
Trauma-focused psychotherapy usually entails a variety of therapeutic techniques, like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy, Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and psychodynamic therapy. The aforementioned approaches can also be adapted for use online which enables people to access therapy from their home or place of preference.
What are different trauma therapy techniques?
There are several different approaches to trauma therapy. Each approach utilizes different techniques in order to aid people who have experienced trauma in processing their experience and developing better coping mechanisms.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) entails helping individuals in identifying and in turn changing negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors that could be contributing to their distress. CBT involves a breath of both cognitive and behavioral therapies.
Exposure Therapy is behavioral therapy that falls under the umbrella of CBT. Exposure therapy involves slowly and progressively exposing individuals to something that may have previously caused them distress, in a safe and controlled environment. Exposure therapy can be used when working with phobias, OCD and trauma. Exposure therapy for trauma involves exposing the individual to the thoughts, feelings, and environments that trigger their trauma linked distress. The expectation being that via repeated exposure an individual’s distress will reduce and they will be better able to cope with their traumatic experiences.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) utilizes eye movements, tapping, or other types of bilateral stimulation to aid individuals in processing traumatic memories and reducing their linked distress. EMDR for trauma aims to help people integrate their traumatic experiences and increase their resilience and wellbeing by engaging the brain’s natural healing processes.
Psychodynamic therapy aims to help people understand unconscious thoughts, feelings and underlying psychological conflicts that are contributing to their trauma-related distress.
The most suitable approach will depend on the individual’s distinctive experience, goals and needs.
How long does it take?
How long trauma therapy takes will differ based on numerous factors, such as the severity and complexity of the trauma, their overall mental health wellbeing and their therapeutic goals.
Generally trauma therapy can take between a few weeks to several months or longer, as some may only require a few sessions to process their traumatic experiences and develop healthy coping skills, whilst others may need longer term therapy to process more complex or chronic trauma linked distress.
Why is it so hard?
Trauma therapy can be deemed as hard as the process of reliving or talking about a traumatic experience is difficult in itself.Working through negative thoughts, emotions and behaviors linked to trauma can also be challenging.
Even though trauma therapy can be hard, it can also be valuable and beneficial, as by working through the trauma and developing better coping mechanisms individuals can live their lives with improved resilience and mental wellbeing.
What is Online Trauma Therapy?
Trauma online therapy does not differ in its content but in the environment that it takes place in. Online trauma therapy involves any form of trauma therapy that takes place online or via the Internet. This may involve therapist and client communicating via video conferencing, phone, or other forms of technology.
An advantage to online trauma therapy is its accessibility and convenience. Online forms of therapy can make therapy accessible to people who live in remote areas as well as individuals that have trouble leaving their homes. It can also aid individuals to work through traumatic situations from their homes which can feel like a safe place for them.
How to get digital trauma therapy in the UK?
Individuals can access online trauma therapy in the United Kingdom via the NHS by contacting their general practitioner (GP). The GP will then examine the individual’s needs and make a referral to a suitable mental health service. Any treatment offered by the NHS should be free.
Alternatively, individual’s can seek free or low cost trauma therapy via charities like Assist and Trauma Breakthrough.
Finally individuals may seek to self fund their therapy and seek out help privately. Finding a mental health professional that offers trauma therapy can be done by checking various official directories such as the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), the British Psychological Society (BPS) and the EMDR Association UK.
Last updated on: 2022.12.13
Author: Antigone Lanitis