Understanding Trauma-Focused Therapy Approaches

There are many different kinds of therapy out there that may benefit individuals, couples or families, and one that’s especially important for some people is known as trauma-focused therapy. This form of therapy, as its name suggests, focuses on understanding past traumatic experiences and how they’re impacting you today – and it can be enormously beneficial for many people with trauma of any kind in their past. 

At Sunrise Solutions, trauma-focused therapy is one of several forms of therapy we offer to patients in Draper, and nearby parts of Utah. Let’s dig into what trauma-focused therapy refers to, some of the common activities or treatments that may be involved in it, and its key benefits for many people.

trauma-focused therapy approaches

Defining Trauma-Focused Therapy

As we touched on above, trauma-focused therapy is a type of counseling that focuses on helping people with past traumas confront and better understand their experiences. It often involves exploring the way in which these experiences have impacted your life today. The goal here is to help you work through any residual pain, anger or other emotions associated with the traumatic event itself.

Common Treatment Activities

Depending on several factors, including the nature of your trauma and more, there are several activities or treatments often utilized within trauma-focused therapy. These include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This type of therapy works to identify and challenge any unhealthy or unhelpful thoughts associated with the trauma. It will also involve identifying any behavioral patterns contributing to the trauma and working on ways to change them.
  • Exposure therapy: This type of therapy, as its name suggests, involves exposing individuals to the thoughts and feelings associated with their traumatic experience in a controlled setting. The goal here is to help you become more comfortable with these emotions over time – not necessarily relive the experience.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is a type of therapy that involves stimulating specific parts of your brain with visual or auditory stimuli while you talk about your traumatic experience, in an effort to help you better process those memories.
  • Brainspotting therapy: This type of therapy is similar to EMDR in that it involves stimulating certain parts of your brain, but it also encourages you to focus on physical sensations associated with the trauma.

How does trauma-focused therapy help many people who have dealt with past trauma that’s still impacting their lives? Our next several sections will dig into this question.

Establishing (Or Re-Establishing) Safety and Comfort

For some people who have experienced trauma, the thought of talking about that experience can be terrifying. In these cases, one of the primary goals of trauma-focused therapy is establishing (or re-establishing) a safe and comfortable environment where you can talk about your experience without fear or shame.

This may involve several activities such mindfulness practices, relaxation exercises designed to help you recognize and manage physical sensations of stress, or other activities. By doing so, many people find that they can begin to work through the emotions associated with their traumatic experience in a safe and comfortable setting.

IDing and Managing Triggers

Another major benefit of trauma-focused therapy is learning to identify and manage any triggers associated with your past trauma. A trigger is anything that causes you to suddenly experience flashbacks, intrusive thoughts or other intense emotions related to the traumatic event. These can vary from person-to-person, and may include certain sounds, smells, objects or even conversations.

By working with a therapist in this setting, many people find that they can better recognize when these triggers arise and learn to manage their emotional response to them. This can help you be better prepared for the occasional trigger and its associated emotional responses, allowing you to take back control of your life.

Developing Coping Mechanisms

Trauma-focused therapy can also help you develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with the occasional stress, anxiety or other emotion associated with the trauma. This might include breathing exercises, visualizations or simple conversation techniques that allow you to better process and manage negative emotions as they arise.

By doing so, many people find that they are better able to navigate life’s daily challenges and take back control of their emotional wellbeing.

Decreasing Traumatic Stress Symptoms

Many who have experienced trauma report a variety of symptoms associated with that experience, such as PTSD, depression and anxiety. By working through traumatic memories in therapy, many people find that they can lessen the intensity and frequency of these symptoms, allowing them to lead more fulfilling lives.

By making use of trauma-focused therapies like those described above, many people are able to better understand and manage their past traumatic experiences, allowing them to better live in the present.

Reaching Closure

Finally, trauma-focused therapy can help many people reach closure on their past traumatic experience. By engaging with these uncomfortable memories in a safe setting, many are able to come to terms with what happened and begin to move on with their lives.

Ultimately, trauma-focused therapies can be enormously beneficial for many who have experienced any kind of past trauma. By engaging in these activities, many are able to let go of the past and focus on building a better future for themselves.

For more here, or to learn about any of our trauma-focused therapy or other caring counseling services for patients around Draper, and nearby areas, speak to our team at Sunrise Solutions today.