A traumatic event can stay with us for years, even decades. No matter how long ago a traumatic event happened, it can impact everything from our relationships, self-esteem, and the ways in which we go about our daily lives. Many people need the help of a therapist to come to terms with the trauma of their past. A therapist can help guide you through the steps of releasing yourself from any guilt you may have and give you tools and resources to help you when past trauma comes back to haunt you.
When we think of therapy, we typically imagine talk therapy. Talk therapy can be used in many different ways to help you learn how to handle the pain of trauma in a healthy way, but these are some specific types of talk therapy that can help patients with a trauma background.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, therapy was developed in 1987 and has been proven to help clients heal from trauma caused by past events. It uses imagery along with eye movements, taps, or tones to help the two hemispheres of the brain work together to process and release the pain and trauma without having to relive disturbing events.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of short term therapy where you can learn to change your behavior by addressing harmful thoughts and attitudes. By working closely with a therapist, you can learn to become aware of these harmful thoughts and develop techniques to view situations more positively.
Stress Inoculation Training
Stress inoculation training, or SIT, is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy in which a therapist works with you to help you learn to cope with the anxiety and stress caused by trauma. This type of therapy helps you recognize what triggers you and gives you the tools to work through your stress responses in a healthy way.
Cognitive Processing Therapy
This type of therapy has shown great success in treating patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Cognitive Processing Therapy is a form of Cognitive Behavioural therapy that uses a written statement from the patient as a form of analyzing how trauma has impacted the patient. The therapist works with the statement and the patient to address how the trauma is affecting thinking patterns.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
This is a type of behavioral therapy with the goal of helping the patient overcome his or her fears by exposing the patient to their fears with the help of a therapist. For example, a patient may go along with her therapist to revisit a location where something traumatic happened, or someone with a fear of public speaking may work up to giving a speech. Fears can also be addressed by imagining the situations and working through bodily reactions to anxiety such as hyperventilation.
Trauma can take many forms and affects each person differently. There are many types of therapy available, so if you or someone you love is suffering from the pain of past trauma, please seek out the advice of a therapist to discover the best type of therapy for you.