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What is a Trauma Therapy Program?
Usually, treatment for traumas incorporates several elements that include dynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR, trauma process groups, and more. There are several trauma disorders in which trauma process groups can help: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder (ASD), childhood trauma disorders, dissociative disorders, and adjustment disorders.
The program can be individual or in a group setting, and either in a residential inpatient setting or in an outpatient therapy setting. Either way, a counselor or therapist directs the program that best fits a person’s individual needs and comfort level. Since those who have dealt with trauma tend to be anxious or have depression, it’s an excellent setting to peel back the onion of memories, or at least the ones that have affected the person in a safe environment. Doing so helps them process the trauma(s) and enables their brains to stop sending triggers of danger.
Trauma therapy programs can be daily, or it can be three times a week, or just once a week. It all depends on the severity of the trauma and the individual’s comfort level.
Types of Therapy Programs
To ensure people who are going through trauma processing have the best chances of success and in a safe environment, a counselor may employ different techniques of therapy. For example, those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a therapist may incorporate EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Rapid Processing), trauma-informed cognitive behavioral therapy, trauma processing group therapy, or mind-body bridging (MBB) treatment.
For someone who was abused as a child, the therapy may focus on trauma-informed cognitive behavioral therapy or other therapies to help the person process their abused past. For domestic violence, couples therapy or group therapies work well. At Steps Recovery center, we customize trauma therapy programs to ensure the person has the care and support they need to heal.
Goals of Therapy Programs
Trauma affects most everyone, but not everyone will develop a disorder related to their trauma(s). It’s the goal of therapy programs to bring survivors out of isolation and into connection with one another. This is done in a group setting, usually, and can be very therapeutic. It also allows the person to contribute to the healing of other people in the same situation.
Other goals of trauma therapy programs include:
- Relieving shame –This is particularly true when the trauma was verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. Shame is one of the lasting effects of interpersonal trauma that a person can carry for a lifetime. They may feel an intense and destructive feeling of self-disgust or self-worth. Participating in a group setting with fellow survivors can provide a powerful antidote to shame. Knowing other people feel the same way, and allowing those feelings to the surface is very empowering.
- Promoting mastery– Individuals who have experienced trauma feel a sense of helplessness and loss of control over their lives. When the trauma is on-going or repeated, it can lead to a sense of powerlessness. The goal of therapy is to reclaim that power and refuse to let the trauma victimize you.
- Providing a future orientation – adeep-seated effect of psychological trauma is a foreshortened sense of the future. Survivors are typically stuck in the past and may feel hopeless to change. The act of planning and executing a goal is very empowering in fostering a new mindsight that includes hope and determination.
- Integration of past and present and memory and affect – Within this treatment modality, it allows for the person to bring out the traumatic memories and associated reactions in a safe environment that allows for self-reflection and the expression of emotions. Memory and affect are joined, and the past is remembered with feeling, along with any bodily states that first accompanied those events. Memories are then interwoven with new feelings born of remembrance and reflection on the past.
Following a successful trauma therapy program, individuals can move forward with their life, knowing they are in full control of their emotions and no longer feel victimized.
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