What is Trauma Informed Therapy?

Learn more about how trauma informed therapy can benefit those who have experienced different types of trauma.

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What is Trauma Informed Therapy?

Trauma informed therapy recognizes and addresses the impact of traumatic experiences on mental health and well-being. It creates a safe and supportive environment for the individual to process and heal from their traumatic experiences, while also addressing any related symptoms of trauma such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Trauma informed therapy includes techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, EMDR, and somatic therapy.1

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Causes of Trauma

Trauma can be caused by many different experiences or events, including:2
  • Physical abuse, sexual abuse, or other forms of violence or harm
  • Witnessing violence or harm to others
  • Natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or floods
  • Accidents such as car crashes or severe injuries
  • Serving in the military and experiencing combat or other traumatic events
  • Losing a loved one or experiencing a significant loss
  • Being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or injury
  • Being a victim of a crime
  • Being in a situation where one’s life or physical safety is threatened
  • Being subjected to discrimination or prejudice

Symptoms of Trauma

Symptoms of trauma vary depending on the individual and the severity of the traumatic event. Common symptoms may include:

  • Intrusive thoughts or memories of the event
  • Nightmares or flashbacks
  • Avoidance of reminders of the event
  • Negative changes in mood or cognition, such as feeling detached, guilty, or angry
  • Increased arousal or hypervigilance, such as trouble sleeping or being easily startled
  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches or muscle tension
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Difficulty maintaining healthy relationships

It’s important to note that everyone experiences trauma differently and may have unique symptoms. Some people may not have any symptoms immediately after a traumatic event but may develop them later on. If symptoms are severe or persistent, it may be beneficial to seek professional help.

Principles of the Trauma-Informed Approach

Trauma informed therapy recognizes the impact of trauma in people’s lives and aims to create an empowering therapeutic environment. The principles of trauma informed therapy include:3
  • Safety: The therapist creates a physically and emotionally safe space to explore trauma and feelings.
  • Trustworthiness and Transparency: The therapist establishes trust by being transparent, consistent, and reliable.
  • Peer Support: Trauma informed therapy often involves group therapy and support groups, which can provide a sense of community and validation.
  • Empowerment: The therapist helps the client to regain a sense of control in their life.
  • Collaboration and Mutual Respect: The therapist and client work together as a team, and the therapist respects the client’s autonomy about their own experiences.
  • Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues: The therapist takes into account the client’s cultural background, historical experiences, and gender identity, and how these may have influenced their trauma.
  • Addressing the Impact of Trauma: The therapist helps the client to understand and cope with the impact of the trauma on their life, and to develop new coping mechanisms.
  • Trauma-Specific Interventions: These interventions could include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Benefits of Trauma-Focused Therapy

Trauma informed therapy provides many benefits for individuals who have experienced trauma. These potential benefits are detailed below.4

Reduced Symptoms of Trauma

This type of treatment can help individuals process and make sense of their traumatic experiences, which can reduce symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and avoidance behaviors.

Improved Emotional Regulation

Trauma therapy helps people develop more effective coping mechanisms, which can improve their ability to regulate their emotions and reduce the impact of trauma on their daily life.

Increased Self-Awareness

This treatment can help individuals to gain a better understanding of themselves and their reactions to traumatic events, which can lead to increased self-awareness and self-compassion.

Improved Relationships

Trauma informed therapy can help people improve their relationships with others by addressing trust issues, improving communication skills, and reducing negative patterns of behavior.

Increased Resilience

Trauma informed therapy can help patients build resilience and a sense of control over their lives, which can improve their ability to cope with future stressors.

Key Ingredients of Trauma-Informed Organizational Practices

There are many ingredients needed for a trauma-informed approach to be truly beneficial for patients. These can include:

  • Leading and communicating about the transformation process
  • Engaging patients in organizational planning
  • Training clinical, as well as non-clinical, staff members
  • Creating a safe environment
  • Preventing secondary traumatic stress in staff or therapists

If you or a loved one are looking to start this therapy approach, make sure you look for these key approaches to trauma-informed care.

How Do You Know if a Therapist is Trauma-Informed?

The easiest way to find out if a therapist is informed about trauma practices is to ask them. If they are, they should speak about the process in terms of safety, creating healthy boundaries, and making sure that you feel comfortable while talking about your past traumatic experiences. You can also ask your doctor or any friends if they have recommendations for therapists, as this can make the process less stressful.5

Receive Trauma-Informed Care at Profound

If you or a loved one think you may benefit from trauma informed therapy, reach out to Profound today. We specialize in this sort of care and will do all that we can to make sure you feel comfortable, safe, and like you’re in a welcoming environment. We know just how scary past trauma can be to work through, but we will be with you every step of the way during your therapy appointments and healing process.

Also, if you’re struggling with any other issues, such as mental health disorders or substance abuse issues, we can help you treat these co-occurring disorders as well. We offer holistic practices depending on what our patients need and what we can do to make sure they heal fully.

Experience Profound Healing

Reach out to Profound today if you have any questions or want to get started with trauma-informed care, substance abuse help, or mental health treatment.

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