Life is an unpredictably woven patchwork of joy, grief, and unforgettable moments that permanently imprint our psyches. Trauma and mental health have a complicated relationship, with long-term impacts on the structure of our minds. Trauma stands out as a driving thread among these, its influence typically reaching far above the immediate blow of the occurrence. Imagine a sudden storm – a loud blast, blinding light, then pin-drop silence. The physical rubble settles down, but the psychological shocks might persist. Trauma, whether a single occurrence or a series of strikes, destroys our sense of security and breaks down our worldview. It might have effects in various ways, affecting our ideas, feelings, and behaviours all the years after.
Trauma always leaves a few scars. The aftermath is not desirable. This includes anxiety, recurring flashbacks, a few behavioural changes, health issues as well as impaired cognitive functions, be it related to memory or concentration. The most common psychological disorder after a traumatic incident is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Trauma therapies are a few techniques which make the client realise that the stressful and traumatic experience was a part of their past, which in turn helps to align the mind and body.
9 MAJOR TYPES OF TRAUMA THERAPIES ARE:
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR): EMDR therapy for PTSD desensitises patients to their traumatic memories by having them recall and recreate the event in a therapeutic setting. As patients remember the event, the psychotherapist will use bilateral brain stimulation (lights, noises, and/or tapping) to aid in memory reprocessing.
Comprehensive Resource Model: The therapist uses a guided imagery procedure and breathwork to help clients connect with their sacred place in comprehensive resource model therapy (CRM). These connections are created to the religious being, spirit, living thing, or natural force that helps them through the process. Once these connections are established, trauma work can begin. The client's aspects that appear to hold the sorrow associated with the specific incident will be requested to share their tale. Curiosity is used to observe both emotional and physical responses or memories that develop. Layers of helpful resources assist the individual in entering the heart of their trauma, enabling them to completely feel, process, and dismiss it while acknowledging new realities.
Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS): Internal family systems therapy (IFS) posits that we have a Self, which is the essence of who we are, and Parts, classified as Exiles, Managers, and Firefighters. When the Exiles breach the Managers' defences, these portions carry the anguish of trauma, enact defences to guard against the suffering, and turn to extreme means to defend themselves from pain. The purpose of IFS is to help people connect with themselves, enabling them to learn more about the Management and Firefighters who work to safeguard them and the suffering of the Exiles. Through Self-led efforts, the Exiles' suffering is released, and healthy contact between the parts can continue, resulting in dramatically reduced PTSD symptoms.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (CBT): Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) was originally designed to treat depression, but it can also be used to treat anxiety disorders, interpersonal problems, low self-worth, and trauma. CBT depends on the assumption that our mental and behavioural processes are inextricably linked, which means that adjustments in thinking patterns can aid behavioural changes. CBT focuses on maladaptive behaviours and attitudes that generate distress and hinder functioning. Survivors of trauma frequently develop profoundly negative ideas about themselves, other people, and the world. A therapist assists clients in learning how to recognise, assess, and adjust negative attitudes and actions that cause unneeded discomfort symptoms. Picture Insertion
Cognitive Processing Therapies (CPT): CPT (cognitive processing therapy) is a type of CBT that was designed expressly to treat trauma. CPT is a structured strategy that typically consists of 12 sessions and incorporates both psychoeducation and coping skill development. A therapist will investigate the effects of trauma on the body and mind before as well as after the event. They will then employ cognitive restructuring to assist the individual in identifying, assessing, challenging, and changing rigid, maladaptive thoughts associated with the trauma.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE): A type of exposure therapy known as prolonged exposure therapy (PE) is used to treat PTSD avoidance behaviours. To shield themselves from overwhelming terror and suffering, trauma survivors often avoid recollections of their trauma. Unfortunately, this serves to foster fear. Throughout therapy, the therapist uses systematic desensitisation strategies that involve prolonged exposure to unpleasant trauma stimuli, which results in symptom relief. A therapist will explicitly teach clients relaxation and grounding skills to employ when confronted with distressing reminders. As a result, individuals can discover that these recollections do not endanger them and should not be ignored.
Trauma Focused- CBT (TF-CBT): Trauma-focused CBT (TF-CBT) is a sort of CBT that is specifically developed to address trauma in kids and adolescents. This technique, however, has recently been expanded to encompass adults and families. TF-CBT can be delivered independently or in a group and is conducted by trauma-informed therapists. TF-CBT primarily focuses on giving psychoeducation regarding trauma as well as symptom stabilisation through mindfulness and coping skills. Telling and processing a client's trauma narrative allows them to incorporate it into past experiences rather than their current situation.
Brief Eclectic Therapy (BET): Brief eclectic therapy blends elements of CBT with psychodynamic approaches to best fulfil a client's needs. During treatment, a person is going to discover about trauma as well as how to use relaxation exercises while addressing their experience. They may be urged to bring in artefacts that remind individuals of the incident so that they may recall it more easily when prompted. The final sessions concentrate on how a client's trauma affected them and what they gained from it.
Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET): Narrative exposure therapy (NET) is a short-term strategy that can be delivered individually or in small groups to survivors of complicated trauma. It focuses on aiding a client in constructing a narrative of how their trauma has impacted and continues to affect their lives to reclaim their identity and story. A caring therapist helps a person write an orderly story involving painful and pleasant life events. While telling their trauma narrative, they will be advised to pay attention to their emotions, thoughts, and bodily sensations at the current time. The therapist will give them a written autobiography when their story is finished.
Finally, the severe and long-lasting impact of trauma on psychological wellness highlights the critical need for thorough understanding, compassionate intervention, and effective treatment approaches. This investigation has shed light on the complex ways in which trauma may penetrate many aspects of a person's mental health, changing emotional reactions, cognitive processes, and relationships with others. Recognising that trauma is not limited to a single event but can present as a complex interplay of emotional, psychological, and physiological components emphasises the significance of nuanced and individualised trauma rehabilitation techniques.
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Diana Ghelber, MD. (n.d.). 5 Long-Term Effects of Emotional Trauma: Institute for Advanced Psychiatry: Psychiatrists. https://www.psychiatryfortworth.com/blog/5-long-term-effects-of-emotional-trauma
Reyes, M. I. (2023, December 27). 9 types of therapy for trauma. Choosing Therapy. https://www.choosingtherapy.com/types-of-trauma-therapy/#:~:text=Unlike%20other%20therapeutic%20modalities%2C%20trauma,reprocessing%2C%20and%20prolonged%20exposure%20therapies.