Therapeutic Interventions for Trauma

Therapeutic Interventions for Trauma

What is Trauma and How Can It Be Treated?

The term trauma is sometimes misunderstood as emotionally intense or life-threatening circumstances. When we use trauma in a mental health context, however, we are referring to emotional, not physical trauma. Emotional trauma refers to the psychological response to traumatic experiences, rather than the experiences themselves. 

Emotional trauma is more common than most people probably realize. This is one reason why conditions and symptoms related to trauma, such as PTSD and anxiety disorders are so often overlooked or undertreated. People living with a trauma disorder are often unaware of their condition or apprehensive about asking for help. They may be well aware of the symptoms they have, but they don’t always draw the connection to a traumatic experience that may have happened years beforehand. 

The Evolution of Evidence-Based Trauma Treatment

Unresolved trauma can manifest in a person’s life in a myriad of different ways. Two different people can have very different responses to similar trauma in fact. The human mind is a remarkable mechanism. It does the best it can to help us manage and cope with whatever life throws at us, but sometimes trauma is just more than it can properly handle. 

When that happens, people may develop trauma disorders that cause them great difficulty in their everyday lives. The symptoms of trauma can be pervasive and disrupt everything from sleep to romantic relationships, careers, and education. There are few areas of life that remain unaffected by trauma in reality. 

This is one reason why therapeutic interventions for trauma are so important. Evidence-based treatment for trauma consists of a diverse set of therapeutic tools and modalities which can help patients process trauma and empower them to overcome their symptoms. A great deal of clinical research into trauma has been done over just the past few decades. One of the fruits of this labor has been the emergence of powerful therapeutic interventions for trauma. 

Examples of Therapeutic Interventions for Trauma

At Cottonwood Tucson, we employ therapeutic interventions for trauma to help our clients manage and ultimately overcome the effects of traumatic experiences. These interventions are designed to reduce symptoms, improve coping skills, and aid overall well-being. 

Some of the therapeutic interventions for trauma we utilize include: 

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): This therapy incorporates side-to-side eye movements, hand tapping, and/or auditory tones. This process helps change the way traumatic memories are stored, making them less distressing. EMDR also delivers relief for trauma survivors more quickly than most treatments.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Long considered the ‘gold standard’ of talk therapy methods, CBT helps people understand and change unhelpful or unwanted thought patterns. For example, a therapist may use CBT to help someone who blames themselves for their trauma learn to challenge and change these self-blaming thoughts.
  • Narrative Therapy: This innovative form of psychotherapy helps people identify their values, skills and knowledge. The therapist then helps them co-author a new narrative about themselves using that information. Narrative therapy helps in part by allowing people distance and perspective from their challenges. 
  • HeartMath: The HeartMath technique is also known as Heart Rhythm coherence feedback. HeartMath is a form of biofeedback that teaches trauma survivors how to control their body’s physiological response to stress (the “fight or flight response). 
  • Somatic Experiencing Therapy: This leading-edge trauma treatment uses the body’s own “fight or flight” mechanism to help trauma survivors process their experiences.  Somatic Experiencing Therapy is especially helpful in helping people cope with triggers. 
  • Wim Hof Breathing Method: This therapeutic intervention for trauma focuses on stress reduction. Wim Hof Breathing helps oxygenate the blood, induce a relaxation response, lower blood pressure and cortisol levels, and a lot more. This makes it invaluable for people with anxiety and other trauma-related symptoms. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD and CPTSD are perhaps the two most well-known trauma disorders. But trauma can manifest in many different ways for different people. People who have significant trauma often have a dual diagnosis which may include one or more psychological conditions like PTSD combined with a substance use disorder, for example. People with PTSD are more likely to develop substance use disorders than the population as a whole. Oftentimes, the PTSD sufferer is simply seeking relief from their symptoms.

Therapeutic interventions for trauma, like those listed above, can be tremendously helpful to people with PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and many other mental health conditions which are often tied to traumatic experiences. The key to successful long-term treatment of these conditions is identifying the trauma at the heart of them and addressing it directly. At Cottonwood Tucson, we put a great deal of emphasis on carefully and accurately diagnosing disorders and helping clients get to the root of their conditions for lasting change. 

Some of the trauma-related conditions which can benefit from therapeutic interventions include:

  • PTSD
  • C-PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Borderline personality
  • Disassociative disorders
  • Substance use disorders

Overcoming Trauma at Cottonwood Tucson

Understanding your trauma, processing it and learning to move beyond it is a process. It takes courage and patience, to be sure. But, recovering from trauma and its damage is an attainable goal. You or your loved one do not need to live at the mercy of your trauma any longer. Cottonwood Tucson has earned its reputation for delivering exceptional care by remaining at the leading edge of developments in mental health treatment. We have been helping people overcome mental health disorders for over 25 years. If you or someone you love could benefit from treatment for a trauma-related condition, Cottonwood Tucson is ready to help. Contact us anytime, 24 hours a day at (888) 433-1069.

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CARF - Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities NATSAP | National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs NAADAC