Many people experience trauma from distressing events like abuse, violence, homelessness, or injury. These traumas can take a dramatic toll on people’s health and well-being, often resulting in psychological, social, financial, and physical problems that make it challenging to function in everyday life.
While you might think you’ll always feel isolated, alone, and traumatized, help is available in the form of trauma therapy. When you find a professional willing to help you through your trauma, you might be able to improve your life in some of the following ways:
Having Your Experiences Validated
Many people who have undertaken intensive trauma therapy for weeks, months, or even years, start to feel relief at having their experiences validated. Before treatment, trauma survivors are often made to feel that their emotional reactions, experiences, and personality traits related to their trauma are unreasonable. Some people are even made to think that what happened to them was their fault.
Going to trauma therapy and discussing your experiences with a trained professional can often be freeing. You can finally hear from an expert that your emotions and reactions are valid and that what you’re feeling is normal based on what you’ve been through. Once you learn this, you can start on your journey to healing and feeling better.
Being Less Fearful and Avoidant
Fear is a normal feeling after a traumatic incident. You might be so scared about ending up in the same situation that you avoid environments and situations that might lead to it happening again. For example, it’s not uncommon for people involved in car accidents to avoid driving or being passengers in cars. If they stay away from vehicles, they can prevent the pain and trauma associated with another accident.
However, when you attend trauma therapy sessions, you learn the importance of confronting your traumatic memories, processing your emotions, overcoming your fears, and working through them. It might still take time to put yourself in a fearful situation again, but you will have the tools to take baby steps toward becoming a much stronger and mentally healthier version of yourself.
Improving Your Coping Skills
We will all face situations in life that will push us to our limits. If you don’t have coping skills, you might struggle to navigate a challenging situation and make positive decisions that benefit your well-being. If you’ve been through a traumatic event, you might even think you’re incapable of coping with it and anything that comes next. However, when you reach out to an intensive trauma therapist, coping skills are among the first things you can learn during your sessions. These can include some of the following:
Mindfulness describes a mental state in which you’re focusing on the present moment and your bodily sensations. You acknowledge and accept your feelings and thoughts but actively work toward being aware of the current moment. According to studies, mindfulness is an effective method for reducing stress, depression, and anxiety, and it’s a common coping tool therapists recommend for their clients.
When you become overwhelmed by all the thoughts in your head, your therapist might recommend journaling to give your thoughts order and prevent them from intruding into your mind as often. You might try journaling as a way to relax and calm down or as a way to make sense of everything you’re feeling at a particular moment.
Exercise might not be your favorite activity, but many therapists recommend it as a coping technique when everyday life and your trauma start to overwhelm you. Some people visit the gym and undertake intensive workouts, while others see the value in gentle walks in natural settings to regulate their moods and emotions.
Studies show that a 10-minute walk can sometimes be all it takes to improve your mood, especially among young adults. If you aren’t typically motivated to exercise, try doing it with a friend, listening to music while you walk or run, or doing it somewhere you enjoy, such as at your local park.
Understanding Your Trauma
Sometimes, it’s not until you experience a new trauma that the demons associated with an old one come to the surface. You might then respond with fear, helplessness, anger, and despair. It can be confusing to know why you feel how you do, especially when you haven’t given an old traumatic experience much thought for a long time.
However, trauma therapists can help you understand that when you don’t fully heal or recover from an experience and, instead, push it down, a new trauma can bring old wounds back to the surface. The most experienced therapists can help you work through new and old experiences and guide you through understanding how and why they affect you.
Trauma can make you lose all sense of self. Some people let what happened to them define them, and they can’t remember who they were before they experienced something traumatic. Intensive trauma therapy can sometimes help you rebuild yourself and regain your own personal place in the world.
It’s important to understand that rebuilding yourself can’t happen in a single session. Instead, it occurs slowly over several sessions. During these sessions, therapists urge you to be patient with your recovery pace and let you feel your feelings without judgment and guilt. They also remind you that you can’t force the healing process, nor can you rush it and hope to feel better in a set number of days, months, or weeks.
You might also find that rebuilding yourself isn’t something you notice immediately. One day, you might be able to look back and see how far you’ve come, only to realize that you don’t remember a day that you went from feeling broken to rebuilt.
Reduced Risk of Retraumatization
Many people seek professional help from trained counselors after experiencing a traumatic event in their life. However, if they visit a traditional counselor rather than one with specific training in intensive trauma therapy, there’s a risk of re-traumatization that can cause a patient to experience further harm.
However, intensive trauma therapists are trained to protect their clients from harm while gently working through their traumatic experiences. As a result, there can sometimes be a reduced risk of re-traumatization.
Deciding to receive help from an intensive trauma therapist for a particularly traumatic life event can be daunting. You might be worried about opening old wounds or talking about painful events. However, avoidance is not a permanent solution. Seek help, and you might experience some of these life-changing benefits above.