Trauma-Based Treatment

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Trauma Therapy in New Jersey

Types of trauma

Trauma comes in many forms. When most people think of trauma, they imagine a person struggling with a single, physically dangerous experience like an assault. The reality is, however, that trauma can be mental, physical, emotional, social, or even financial. Trauma can occur after a single event, or trauma can happen as a result of repeated stressful situations that cause emotional or psychological harm. Trauma is divided into three types known as acute, chronic, and complex trauma.

Acute trauma

This form of trauma is generally the result of a single traumatic event like a sexual assault, a car accident, or surviving a disaster. The traumatic event occurred, and it was severe enough to damage a person’s emotional and physical sense of security. This ultimately will change their thought patterns and behavior. This form of trauma displays the following symptoms:

  • Unhealthy sleeping patterns
  • Neglecting grooming habits
  • Aggression or angry outbursts
  • Inability to trust others
  • The feeling of being disconnected
  • Extreme moments of panic and anxiety
  • Cognitive confusion

Chronic trauma

This form of trauma is caused by an ongoing traumatic experience that consistently occurred for an extended period of time. Chronic trauma survivors result from experiences like domestic violence, bullying, ongoing military combat, or surviving a long-term illness. The symptoms start to occur long after the past traumatic experiences. Post-traumatic stress disorder is an example of a disorder characterized by chronic trauma.

People with chronic trauma experience the same symptoms as those with acute trauma, but also experience many additional, severe physical and psychological symptoms like complex digestive issues, flashbacks, and chronic headaches.

They also have difficulty trusting which makes it very difficult for them to have a job or be involved in a romantic relationship.

Complex trauma

This mental illness is the result of being exposed to various traumatic events or experiences. Usually, this is caused within a relationship with a loved one. This causes the person to feel trapped, which has a serious impact on the person’s mind. This is typically seen in trauma survivors of childhood abuse, long-term neglect, consistent unstable family life, domestic violence, and other repetitive, destructive situations. Complex trauma also makes it difficult to trust, build relationships, or focus on building a career.

Mental health professionals recognize that everyone experiences trauma differently. That is why trauma therapists use a variety of treatment methods in treating trauma as each person requires a unique treatment plan.

Explore common types of trauma-based therapy

Therapy comes in a variety of forms. Different types of trauma therapy can be more effective for different people and different situations. Trauma therapy can have a specific timeline in mind, or it can be an open-ended treatment. Here are a few of the most common trauma-based therapy options.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most common types of trauma treatment overall. This treatment involves your therapist helping you identify unhelpful thought and behavioral patterns from trauma-related issues. Once you recognize distorted and harmful thoughts, your therapist then teaches you techniques to neutralize those thoughts and create healthier habits.

Trauma-based cognitive behavioral therapy uses these techniques to help patients unpack trauma and recognize the ways trauma is distorting their thoughts. Then they use the therapy to develop more effective coping skills.

Cognitive-processing therapy (CPT)

Cognitive processing therapy is very similar to CBT, but it’s a little more targeted to treat PTSD. Unlike CBT, trauma-informed CPT isn’t about improving general well-being. Instead, it has a narrow focus on trauma-induced behaviors. You do things like identify triggers and get tools for handling PTSD symptoms. CPT works by challenging your thoughts behind the cause of your trauma, so you can reframe it in a healthier light.

Prolonged exposure

Often called exposure therapy, prolonged exposure (PE) is a type of behavioral therapy often used to treat trauma. This therapy involves exposing yourself to the things you fear to help you become better acclimated to them. If you decide to try prolonged exposure therapy, it’s very important to work with a trauma-based therapist. They have the training needed to help you process fearful experiences instead of simply worsening your trauma.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a cutting-edge trauma treatment that combines mental and physical exercises. The EMDR therapist guides patients through exercises where they move their eyes or tap the sides of their bodies while recalling traumatic events. This bilateral stimulation may help people to process memories of trauma. EMDR therapy also helps to desensitize you to traumatic events, so they’re less likely to bother you in day-to-day life.