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Topic: What is "trauma work" in therapy?

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. b.l.u.e.b.e.l.l.
    b.l.u.e.b.e.l.l. avatar
    61 posts
    10 August 2017

    I saw myour psychiatrist today... for the first time in about 2 years. I've recently been seeing a psychologist and have had to resume medication for severe depression and anxiety.

    Psych Dr today asked if I have done "trauma work" with a therapist (I have a long history of trauma) .... and I said no. Why? I don't know. I'm terrified I suppose that once the lid is off I'll not be able to put it back on and I'll never be ableasier to even pretend I'm ok ever again.

    What would trauma work entail, in therapy sessions?

    Has anyone done it and been able to see the long term benefit of having done so?

    Many thanks in advance..

  2. Guest_9809
    Guest_9809 avatar
    1676 posts
    10 August 2017 in reply to b.l.u.e.b.e.l.l.

    Hi Bluebell. You must have your own support thread elsewhere, but my apologies I am not 'up to speed' with your personal story. However, I can answer this question in a general sense. I too have a traumatic history, have been officially diagnosed with PTSD, and have undergone some trauma therapy already with more to come.

    I will say that many people who experience a traumatic event will not require treatment, as they are able to work through their anxiety with help from close friends and family. For others however, the response to trauma is debilitating and treatment from a trained therapist is often needed in order to help that person recover.

    It is this treatment which is referred to collectively as "trauma work". These trauma based phsycological treatments focus on providing education, stress management, and helping the person to confront feared situations and distressing memories. Therapy is devised to help us make sense of our experiences, the feelings and emotions around those experiences, to help develop plans to stay safe and to learn healthy coping skills for life. Often AD medication is used in conjunction with therapy.

    The most commonly used, clinically tested and successful therapies for trauma include: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Prolonged Exposure Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). I believe that Hypnotherapy can also be used to good effect as well.

    These therapies are all conducted during therapy sessions (usually) with a clinical psychologist who specialises in trauma therapy. All those therapies will require a series of appointments over a period of time. Yes I have personally undergone most of those therapies, and yes I have benefited from having done so. However, dont expect any of this to be easy. Its hard yakka! Essentially all, other than EMDR, are 'talk therapy' in your therapists rooms. EMDR is a little different in that you dont need to disclose your trauma in any great detail to your therapist. So its often considered a little 'gentler'. If that interests you, google it for further info.

    I totally understand your fear of releasing the "genie from the bottle". It's a hard task to pack it up afterwards. But if you have any unresolved trauma, its always going to be there anyway. So my philosophy is that you are best to deal with it. Therapy aims to desensitise us from the feared memories and situations that currently cause extreme distress. Surely thats worthwhile?


    1 person found this helpful
  3. Dr Kim
    Dr Kim avatar
    479 posts
    11 August 2017 in reply to b.l.u.e.b.e.l.l.
    Hi Bluebell,

    I think this is a huge topic and there is so much work being done around the pros and cons of various ways of helping those who have experienced trauma . There is no “right way” but there are some clearly wrong ways that can be  harmful and I think you should be aware of potential pitfalls of therapy and potential gains before embarking on it.

    Therapy has clearly been wonderful and freeing for many trauma survivors but there are always provisos.

    There is a wonderful resource called the Blueknot foundation . 

    I suggest you look at their website and call their helpline for trauma trained therapist recommendations and also to know how to educate yourself about what a “good therapist” in this arena will feel like and what  an untrained therapist in this area may feel like so your feel  secure starting on your journey.

    Good luck!
    2 people found this helpful
  4. b.l.u.e.b.e.l.l.
    b.l.u.e.b.e.l.l. avatar
    61 posts
    12 August 2017

    Thank you both so much for your replies..

    I really had no idea about the complexity of it all... I guess in my mind it just involved divulging the trauma event/s and almost "reliving" the experiences.... I haven't been able to see how it would be at all helpful in the grand scheme of things.

    You've definitely given me some things to think about and I will look into that blueknot resource too.

    Thanks again, I really appreciate it.

  5. b.l.u.e.b.e.l.l.
    b.l.u.e.b.e.l.l. avatar
    61 posts
    15 August 2017 in reply to Dr Kim

    Hi Dr Kim,

    I just wanted to come back and thank you for recommending Blueknot.

    I made the phonecall yesterday and spoke with someone about trauma work and what best practice looks like.. and have the names of a couple of therapists who are local to me.

    Thanks again.

  6. Dr Kim
    Dr Kim avatar
    479 posts
    15 August 2017 in reply to b.l.u.e.b.e.l.l.
    I am so pleased this resource was helpful to you. I wish you all the best on your journey to feeling your best self!
  7. startingnew
    startingnew avatar
    5860 posts
    26 August 2017 in reply to b.l.u.e.b.e.l.l.

    Hi bluebell

    Im wondering if you have started trauma work as yet?

    Ive agreed to start trauma work myself and wondered how you were finding it..

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