How is Trauma Treated?

Therapy is a first-line treatment for trauma

Within my practice it is fundamental that, before anything else takes place, the individual feels safe.  I work with the Phase-oriented treatment approach:

Establishing safety, stabilisation and symptom reduction

The fundamental key to recovery is for you to feel safe. People who have experienced trauma often feel betrayed, both by what has happened to them and by their own bodies.  You need to feel safe and stable (in control), before working on or talking about what happened.  We work gradually to help you gain an understanding of trauma and an improvement in your daily life as well as your ability to cope.  This is done by helping you to learn how to practice self-soothing and self-care skills, as well as techniques to help you experience safety and to be more ‘present’ or mindful. For some this phase happens quickly, for others it takes time.  You and your experiences are unique to you and I work at a pace that is right for you, in a respectful and caring manner. In this phase I will take a history of your presenting issues and together we will assess your inner strengths and coping skills and if necessary I will provide psycho-education about trauma.

Working through and integrating traumatic memories

Before this stage can be implemented, it is important that you are stable or have become reliably stable during phase one.  For some survivors discussing and processing their trauma can be re-traumatising and may compromise their ability to function daily, therefore time is taken to ensure that you are ready to move to this phase.

In the second phase of recovery, talking about what happened is more a part of the treatment.  This is only done with your permission and at your pace and it is where you can uncover what happened; the aim is that the traumatic memories are integrated and become less disturbing. Being able to re-experience and express these feelings in a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship is part of the healing process, you begin to integrate body, mind and spirit. EMDR is often helpful in this phase.

Integration and rehabilitation

This is the final stage of the process. Integration has been taking place throughout the other two phases.  You will have gained insight into your own resources, the memories of trauma and the powerful feelings the trauma generated will have lessened and will not be impacting upon your day to day life. The final stage of recovery involves you making more meaningful relationships and engagement in your life.  You are no longer defined by your traumatic experiences, you are an amazing human being who found a way to survive overwhelming events and who knows that no matter what life presents to you, you will thrive. You are a survivor.

My professional mission is to bring insight into the world of an individual who has been traumatised, empowering them from a place of suffering, to one of hope and recovery, transforming the mind, body and spirit from terror to calmness.

“Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.” - Buddha

What is Trauma?

Trauma is an event or events that cause a sudden or significant negative change in our concept of self, the world and/or our future.  When this sudden or intense shift occurs, we experience it as loss, confusion, disorientation or even threat and danger.  To move through the trauma experience in healthy ways requires an adaptive neurological, physiological and psychological response that integrates the trauma experience into a new sense of identity, worldview, and sense of future.  The problem is that for some people this adaptive integration does not occur. There are many possible reasons for this, but the end result is that the person continues to experience parts of the trauma as if it were alive and in the present.  It is like they cannot get away, close the door, or just get back to “normal” life.   They are haunted by the event every day if not every hour and this can lead to changes that complicate life. A trauma-informed therapy approach is specifically aimed at integrating the trauma experience.

It is essential to keep in mind that therapy is not a magic pill or a quick fix: therapy is a healing process that necessitates participation and investment from clients. Making small changes to self-defeating behaviour and coping with feelings of sadness, fear, and pain can bring life-altering results. Therapy is not always easy, sometimes you may feel worse before you feel better. My aim is to guide clients in learning to take responsibility for their own choices and making choices that align with their values and help them to live in a way that embodies their personal values and to form a realistic and authentic relationship with life. The important thing is this: to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.