Experiences of trauma are often intimately tied up with mental health and substance abuse disorders. One of the biggest risk factors for the development of a mental health or substance abuse problem is a history of trauma. The exact type of trauma can take many forms, from an accident to a death in the family to sexual or physical violence. What remains true is that lasting recovery becomes impossible for people in that situation unless that past trauma is dealt with and processed. One of the best methods of addressing a history of trauma is through trauma therapy.
What Is Trauma Therapy?
So what is trauma therapy? It is a therapeutic approach that emphasizes dealing with the ways that trauma impacts social, mental, emotional, and physical health. Trauma therapy recognizes the connection between trauma and the manifestation of behavior and thought patterns. This type of therapy is designed to help people understand, cope with, and process their trauma in order to move forward and alleviate symptoms that are leading to mental health or substance abuse disorders.
Many healthcare providers highlight four key aspects that underpin trauma therapy. These are outlined below.
- Trauma therapy realizes the impact of past trauma and seeks to help people process that trauma as part of recovery
- Trauma therapy recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma as being rooted in traumatic experiences that linger in a person’s mind and body
- Trauma therapy responds to this recognition by incorporating trauma-informed care into every aspect of recovery
- Trauma therapy places a deliberate focus on avoiding retraumatization
To expand on that last point, trauma therapy does not avoid confronting past trauma. However, it is careful to ensure that exploring a person’s trauma does not end up deepening their pain in needless ways.
Trauma Therapy Process
The trauma therapy approach often begins with a series of sequential goals in mind. The first one is to establish safety. Whether a person knows it or not, their past trauma has tricked their body and mind into believing that safety has been irrevocably compromised. Regaining a sense of safety is paramount to the rest of treatment going smoothly.
Next is to identify triggers and equip people with coping skills. Some triggers may be obvious; others may be harder to identify. Nonetheless, they are there to some degree and must be pinpointed in order to help people understand how they can respond to those triggers productively. After that comes a focus on reducing stress symptoms. These may be tied up in a mental health or substance abuse disorder.
The last goal of trauma therapy is to practice trauma integration. This goal recognizes that future trauma, to some degree, is inevitable. A person’s original trauma may never be repeated, but it is unrealistic to expect that someone will face zero amounts of trauma for the rest of their life following trauma therapy. Thus, it is critical to get clients to a place where they can face new instances of trauma without becoming stuck.
Find Trauma Therapy at Serenity Grove
Trauma therapy is a relatively new method in the addiction treatment space. Some aspects of the approach have been around for decades. Yet its use as a distinct method is more recent. Not every addiction treatment provider offers trauma therapy. If this is something you know you need as part of your recovery process, be sure to specifically look for it in web searches or ask direct questions to treatment providers about whether they offer trauma therapy.
Serenity Grove is one addiction treatment provider that offers trauma therapy to every client if it makes sense as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. We understand the lifelong impact trauma can have, particularly when it takes place in childhood. Contact us at 844.904.3485 to learn more about trauma therapy services near you.