Following my last piece that focussed on how to involve self-care following a trauma. This article is shining a spotlight on the ways in which you can seek outside support. A way by which you can gradually recover from your experience. In general recovery is the ability to live in the present without being overwhelmed by the thoughts and feelings of the past.
There are many different ways to get treatment and support for trauma. In order to recover from psychological and emotional trauma, working through the difficult feelings, memories and challenges that you have been struggling with, is deeply beneficial. Finding the right method for you is of the upmost importance. It may take some further research but I have listed some of the main avenues.
Ok, so I may be bias here! But therapy is a great way of having a safe space to be able to uncover and work through what has been happening for you. A specialist therapist in trauma may use a variety of different therapy approaches in your treatment, including but not limited to:
EMDR (Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing). It is a form of psychotherapy that uses a client’s own rapid eye movements, to take emotionally charged memories out of traumatic events.
Somatic Experiencing: This focuses on bodily sensations, rather than thoughts and memories about the traumatic event. By concentrating on what’s happening in your body, you can release pent-up trauma-related energy through shaking, crying, and other forms of physical release you feel needed.
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy: CBT helps you process and evaluate your thoughts and feelings about a trauma. CBT operates on an understanding that how we feel and behave is linked to what we think. So, we can change our behaviours and modify how we feel by paying closer attention to these thoughts. It provides skills and tools to help and learn how to process trauma.
Other forms of therapy include:
- Exposure Therapy
- Psychomotor psychotherapy
- Internal family systems
- Somatic experiencing
- Sensorimotor psychotherapy
There are often common misconceptions about what may happen in the therapy room, this can provoke fear and lead to avoidance. The main one is that you may have to go back to the trauma and “regress”. That is not necessarily the case.
There is a strong, ongoing, debate in the field of trauma as to whether revisiting traumatic memories is essential for healing or whether it may in fact even be harmful. My belief is that this is an individual matter; many may find it valuable to tell and retell their experiences of trauma where as others may find that damaging to their well-being. A good therapist should be able to support you through whatever decision you feel is best.
It is of upmost importance that if you are struggling beyond what therapy can assist with on its own, that you speak to your GP or a psychiatrist. Sometimes therapy is just not enough and you may need some extra help. That is perfectly normal! If you are in the UK and you see a GP, they should endeavour to send you to a mental health professional also. However, if you are not in the UK, and you or your therapist think it’s a good idea to consider medication, you should ask about the prescribing provider’s experience treating trauma.
Even though it seems a lot easier to just take a pill, recovering from trauma or stressor-related difficulties typically involves more comprehensive interventions; therapy is greatly encouraged.
Trauma plays havoc with the body, having space to dedicate towards your body healing too is a great idea. There are several approaches to healing trauma that are based upon the premise that humans are comprised of energy. Different forms of energy therapies are in use as alternative or complimentary treatments. These can range from Reiki, acupuncture and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). I am no expert in this field, however it is important to talk about these types of therapy to reinforce that one size does not fit all!
Recovery does not necessarily mean complete freedom from post-traumatic affects but generally it is the ability to live in the present without being overwhelmed by the thoughts and feelings of the past. It is important to remember that there are no right or wrong ways to react after a traumatic experience and that recovery is not linear. Take your time and be kind to yourself.
Pic1: Thisalkshmi – Pic2/3/4: Allwomxnproject