The Science of Trauma: What Is Trauma-Informed Therapy?
Trauma-informed therapy considers the complex impact of trauma on an individual’s well-being and how it shapes a person’s ability to cope. Unlike traditional therapy, trauma-informed treatment integrates an awareness of trauma into every aspect of treatment while making safety a priority for clients.
Whether you’re navigating past trauma, managing trauma symptoms, or coping after a traumatic event, trauma therapy can make all the difference in your mental well-being. Here’s what you need to know about trauma-informed care to start the healing process.
How does trauma-informed therapy work?
Trauma therapy focuses on the impact of past trauma on life experiences and relationships. During trauma therapy, your therapist will help you understand trauma’s role in your emotions, behavior, and thinking patterns. Instead of focusing on the behaviors you’re trying to change, trauma therapy takes a more holistic approach, considering the underlying reasons for your current behaviors.
Trauma therapy can help people safely recognize traumatic experiences, even when they don’t believe their life experiences include trauma. In reality, many stressful situations can contribute to trauma, and some are easier to recognize than others. Although some people may not believe that they’ve experienced trauma, unhealthy coping mechanisms may reflect the impact of a traumatic experience. Trauma treatment brings awareness to this trauma by creating a safe space to navigate your mental health.
Depending on your personal preferences and mental health needs, your trauma therapist may recommend different types of therapy for trauma, including:
- Trauma-informed cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT)
- Psychodynamic psychotherapy
What does trauma therapy treat?
Trauma treatment can be a valuable resource for many people, including people who aren’t living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma therapy is not just for people with obvious trauma symptoms, combat veterans, or those who have experienced abuse. It can be beneficial for people with a history of depression and anxiety, people with emotional trauma or attachment issues, racial trauma, or any type of trauma.
Trauma therapy can help trauma survivors recognize the role of trauma in their life experiences and start the healing process. Trauma-informed care takes a holistic approach, offering safety, compassion, and support to help people make long-lasting changes in their mental health.
What should you look for in a trauma-informed therapist?
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to find a truly trauma-informed therapist. While many therapists specialize in trauma treatment, this isn’t the same as adopting a trauma-informed approach.
During your search for a trauma therapist, it’s essential to pay attention to how potential therapists describe their approach to treatment. Trauma counselors who offer a holistic, client-oriented trauma-informed approach will:
- Prioritize emotional safety and physical safety to create a safe space where healing can occur.
- Talk about self-care, emotional boundaries, and grounding techniques.
- Help you understand your coping skills, how you’ve coped with past trauma, and how to develop healthy new strategies.
- Help you navigate the treatment process at a pace you feel comfortable with, checking in with your progress along the way.
Comprehensive, Data-Driven Trauma Therapy
Ultimately, the success of your trauma treatment relies on your therapeutic relationship. According to the American Psychological Association, the relationship between you and your therapist can influence your mental health outcomes, even after treatment ends. Even though finding the right therapist might feel overwhelming, it’s essential to take your time, trust your gut, and find a trauma counselor you can trust.
To find a trauma therapist, reach out to a mental health professional through the Therapy Group of DC. Whether you’re starting therapy for the first time or searching for a trauma-informed therapist, we’re here to help you every step of the way. One of our experienced therapists will help you navigate your mental health, manage your trauma symptoms, and start the healing process.