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  • Writer's pictureJodie James

The Role of Therapy in Overcoming Trauma

Trauma can cast a long and pernicious shadow, affecting our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. We understand the deep pain it can cause and are here to explore how therapy can help pave the road towards healing.





Understanding Trauma and Its Impact


We often define trauma as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. Whether it results from a single event, a series of events, or chronic, lasting conditions, trauma leaves indelible impressions on our emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. While some individuals might bounce back from a traumatic event, others may grapple with its consequences for years, even a lifetime.


When we experience trauma, our bodies, in an attempt to protect us, might respond with a fight, flight or freeze response. This reaction is a natural biological response to perceived danger, engaging various systems in our bodies. However, when such traumatic experiences are prolonged or occur frequently, the nervous system can become stuck in this survival mode. This dysregulation leads to what we understand as the symptoms of trauma: recurrent and intrusive recollections of the event, nightmares, emotional numbness, avoidance of anything associated with the trauma, hyperarousal, sleep disturbances and concentration problems, to name a few.


On a psychological level, trauma can warp our perceptions, leading to a distorted sense of self, others, and the world around us. We may develop negative beliefs about ourselves and struggle with feelings of shame, guilt, and self-blame. Moreover, we may also feel detached or disconnected from others, causing us to withdraw and isolate ourselves, thereby affecting our social and interpersonal relationships.


Additionally, trauma can also have long-term effects on our physical health. Several studies link trauma with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders. There is also a high comorbidity between trauma and mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Understanding these aspects of trauma is the first step in the healing journey. Acknowledging its impact can help us make sense of our experiences and the way we react to them. This awareness can provide a foundation for therapeutic interventions to address the pain caused by trauma, and facilitate recovery and healing.



Therapy for Trauma


The role of therapy in trauma recovery is multifaceted. Therapy assists in integrating traumatic experiences, helping you understand them and initiate the healing process. The traumatic memories remain, but their hold over your emotions diminishes. It provides a context to the traumatic event and equips you with new skills to manage your feelings and responses.


Person-Centred Therapy


At the heart of overcoming trauma and healing from abuse lies Person-Centred Therapy (PCT), a therapeutic approach that prioritises the individual's subjective experience. This therapeutic practice is based on the fundamental belief that each person has the innate capacity to move towards growth, healing, and fulfilment.


In Person-Centred Therapy, the therapist assumes a non-directive role, acting as a compassionate and empathetic guide, allowing you to steer the course of the therapy based on your own feelings and experiences. The role of the therapist is to provide an environment characterised by genuineness, empathetic understanding, and unconditional positive regard. This approach fosters a safe space for you to explore and process your trauma.


At its core, PCT aims to enhance your self-awareness and self-acceptance, empowering you to recognise and harness your strengths. This recognition can be transformative in reshaping the narrative of trauma and shifting away from a path of pain to one of resilience and healing. By facilitating self-discovery, person-centred therapy ensures that the process of healing is not just about overcoming trauma, but also about personal growth and development.


Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy


Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is primarily used with children and teenagers who have experienced trauma. This approach involves parents or caregivers, teaching children to recognise false beliefs, correct unhealthy behaviour patterns, and develop new ways to cope.


Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)


EMDR, developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1987, is a therapy that processes and releases traumatic memories through eye movements. The goal is to help your brain reprocess the memory, reducing nightmares, flashbacks, and triggers. This therapy can yield results faster than other forms of therapy for certain individuals.


Somatic Therapies


Somatic therapy recognises that traumatic memories are stored not only in the mind but also in the body. This therapy aims to release pent-up trauma to alleviate mental health symptoms and chronic pain. Methods such as developing body awareness and grounding in your body are employed in this therapeutic approach.


Psychodynamic Therapy


Psychodynamic therapy aids in understanding how your past influences your current emotions, behaviours, and relationship patterns. Your therapist can help you understand how early life experiences, family dynamics, and current relationships affect your present coping methods and world view.


Additional Therapeutic Techniques


Aside from the therapies mentioned above, therapists may employ other methods such as Accelerated Resolution Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Narrative Therapy, Internal Family Systems Therapy, Art and Music Therapy, Inner Child Work, and Trauma Systems Therapy. These can provide additional support in your healing journey from trauma.


Finding the Right Therapy For You


While exploring trauma therapy, it is crucial to find a service that prioritises your comfort and safety. Jodie James Counselling Services provides a compassionate and understanding environment where your feelings are validated. Through individualised counselling sessions and a genuine understanding of your experiences, you will find the support you need to overcome trauma and begin healing from abuse.


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