Before we unpack trauma therapy, it’s helpful to understand how trauma affects the brain.
When you’re faced with danger, your body enters fight or flight mode. Your stress hormones spike, your nervous system goes into overdrive, and you experience fear.
After the threat goes away, the body returns to normal—your muscles relax, your heart rate slows, and your mind slows down.
But with traumatic experiences, your brain stays on high alert. Even when there’s no threat, your body reacts as if you’re in danger. You stay in survival mode, which creates a lot of stress and discomfort. Anything that reminds you of the traumatic event can trigger this response—sounds, smells, or words.
Trauma disrupts your life, your happiness, and your stability. You feel helpless—like you have no control over your body or what happens to you. It prevents you from focusing at work, connecting with other people, and calming down after a stressful event.
This is not only upsetting but frustrating, too. You want to live your life and move on—not be held back by events from the past. How do you let go of trauma when your brain and body don’t let you?
With trauma-focused therapy, the goal is to help people work through and process their past. It targets the long-lasting effects that disrupt your life years after a traumatic event.
You’ll learn to accept what happened, let go of the self-blame you may have, and cope with those memories as you move forward.
Struggling to deal with the aftermath of trauma? You don’t need to go through it alone. All of the negative symptoms you deal with—nightmares, difficulty focusing, or trouble forming attachments with other people—can be treated through trauma therapy.
Many trauma survivors struggle to separate the past from the present. Even as the years go by, the memory of a traumatic event makes it difficult to enjoy the present moment.
Through trauma counselling, you can learn to:
Talking about traumatic events can cause distress. Sometimes, it can stir up the feelings you experienced during those times.
At One Life, it’s our goal to make you feel as comfortable as possible. You’ll be in a safe, calm environment. Our therapists are here to support you without judgment. We’ll work through your treatment at your pace.
The main focus of trauma therapy is that by the end of your treatment, you will no longer feel intense stress when remembering the event.
First, ask yourself this: Are you ready to start working through your trauma?
During therapy, you’ll need to revisit the event to share it with your therapist and work through the beliefs you have about it. Understandably, this can be stressful; you might not feel like you’re ready to relive it.
But remember that by going through this process, you can learn to free yourself from that distress, feel like yourself again, and reclaim your life.
Once you decide you’re ready, the next step is finding the right therapy.
When you schedule an appointment at One Life, we can meet with you and find the treatment you’re looking for. Learn how to reconnect your mind and body to find peace in the present moment.
A few common therapies for trauma include:
As we mentioned earlier, traumatic memories aren’t stored in your brain the same way regular memories are. EMDR is based on the idea that trauma gets stuck in your short-term memory; it never moves to long-term storage, which is why your body stays on high alert. Through EMDR, you learn to reprocess traumatic memories.
During treatments, you recall the details of the traumatic event. As you do this, the therapist will get you to move your eyes from left to right. They might ask you to follow their finger with your eyes or tap your knees on either side.
You learn to eliminate the negative beliefs and perceptions you may have about the incident. The trauma is reprocessed and moved into long-term storage. With enough treatments, recalling the event will no longer be distressing.
Imagine if you always felt stressed, anxious, or depressed. You may develop some unhealthy coping strategies to help you deal with those emotions. But what if you want to develop healthier coping mechanisms?
CBT looks at how our thoughts and feelings interact with our behaviours. By changing our thoughts, we can change the way we experience and react to life. It’s a problem-oriented approach that seeks to challenge unrealistic and distressing thoughts.
With trauma-focused CBT, a therapist can help you recognize and overcome negative thinking patterns. You’ll challenge cognitive distortions and separate them from reality. Once you begin to unlearn these ingrained ways of thinking, you’ll start to notice a difference in how you think about and experience daily life.
Interested in trying trauma-focused therapy? At One Life Counselling & Coaching, we’ll find a treatment that works for you. We offer EMDR therapy, CBT therapy, and more. Give us a call, and we can book your first appointment.