About Therapy for Trauma
Some clients come to therapy after having experienced a traumatic event or events and know exactly what they would like to address. Others come in for seemingly-unrelated reasons such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, anger, perfectionism, or toxic relationship patterns, and realize through the therapy process that many of these issues stem from unresolved, painful or invalidating experiences from their past.
Trauma therapy is a broad term that, from our perspective, refers to the process of helping clients improve their lives by working through whatever unresolved stuff needs to be addressed and healed. Whether a person carries the debilitating symptoms of PTSD or wants to get past a nagging sense of low self-worth, working through one’s past adverse experiences is often a necessary step in the healing and recovery process.
Often, trauma therapy is done in a phased approach, the first phase’s goals being to increase stability, build rapport and trust with the therapist, and prepare for going back to some of those tender emotional places. The next phase involves addressing the traumatic memories using a variety of therapeutic approaches, then finally when things are resolved the goal becomes helping the client re-create their lives with a newfound sense of serenity and healing.
The trauma treatment plan can be simple and straightforward such as with a recent car accident or single traumatic event. In other situations treatment may be more complicated when other factors are present such as a complex trauma history, deficits in coping skills, addictions and substance abuse, and the presence of other comorbid mental health conditions.
Coming up with an appropriate treatment plan is a collaborative process, often with the therapist as a guide but with input all along the way from the client. Much trauma is interpersonal in nature and involves feelings of helplessness and powerlessness; therefore, it is crucial that in the healing process a client has a sense of trust and safety with the therapist and feels in control of the process.
Is all trauma therapy focused on the past? Not necessarily, as there is much work to do in the present that includes learning effective skills at managing symptoms, communicating and setting boundaries, and practicing healthy self-care behaviors. However, working through these old psychological wounds is often crucial to comprehensive recovery.
Consider the prospect of trauma therapy being like the demolition of an old, unwanted building. We wouldn’t just walk up to the building and start hitting it with a sledgehammer. First, we would need to review the blueprints and schematics, come up with a solid plan, and prepare the site to ensure safety and containment. Then we can work to take it down! When the old structure is gone, we then start the process of rebuilding an even better, stronger building in its place.
All clinicians at Mangrove Therapy Group specialize in treating trauma using evidence-based treatments. Call to make an appointment to get started in resolving trauma from your life.