Trauma Focused Therapy for Adults

People who continue to experience problems after a traumatic experience may be diagnoses with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This type of disorder involves ongoing symptoms that can last for months to years and may require professional treatment.

Fortunately, mental health professionals have developed trauma focused therapy for adults who may need help coping with symptoms of PTSD.

In this article, we’re exploring the benefits of trauma focused therapy for adults.

Trauma-Focused Therapy for Adults

Have you had sleep disturbances like insomnia or waking up from sleep due to nightmares? Do you have memories of a terrible event in your life that you can’t seem to get rid of no matter what you try? Do you have anxiety and depression?

Answering yes to any of these questions can signal you are struggling with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.

You are not alone. In America, eight million people will experience a traumatic event in a given year, according to the National Center for PTSD.

The numbers are high, possibly because there are many forms of trauma. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, and even witnessing someone else being abused is considered traumatic. If you have fought in combat, survived a natural disaster, or lost a loved one, you may have after-effects of trauma.

Much research and learning have been done on PTSD, allowing experts to develop specific trauma-focused therapies that help you overcome symptoms. Therapy should be given by a licensed therapist who determines which PTSD treatment will help you, based on a comprehensive assessment of your symptoms and history.

Here’s what you need to know about trauma focused therapy for adults.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy

Depending on the type of trauma you experienced, some therapists may want you to try prolonged exposure therapy. This type of treatment helps you face the emotions surrounding your fears. The more you can examine the feelings, the less sensitive they become.

Prolonged exposure therapy takes place over many sessions. It involves talking about all the details of the trauma so that eventually, you can better cope when memories of the trauma appear.

Written Exposure Therapy

Writing about your trauma can be an effective way to process through the details that cause your symptoms of PTSD. Mostly used as a supplement to other therapies, written exposure therapy does not last many weeks, and there is usually no homework involved.

Sessions can vary. In one, your therapist may guide you in your writing, while in another session, you may be asked to write for a while then discuss your writing with your counselor.

Written exposure therapy is used in virtual counseling sessions with success.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)

A certified EMDR therapist should be the only one to perform this type of therapy with you. It can be highly effective, and many people are overcoming the negative emotions associated with traumas.

Your therapist will use their finger or a pointer of some kind, instruct you how to move your eyes back and forth while concentrating on the worst parts of the trauma. The brief exposure times, combined with the distraction of the eye movements, allow you to work through the emotions of the traumatic event.

Post-Induction Therapy Model

Traumas can hinder emotional development. When traumas take place in childhood, they can make you seem stuck at the age when it happened. For example, if you were traumatized at the age of 12 and the trauma is not treated, you can mature physically but not emotionally. Your body with mature, but your emotional health will remain as a pre-teen.

Post-induction therapy is an effective way to help you break through emotional obstacles. Quickly your emotions can catch up with your actual age.

Counting Method

Counting is a trauma-focused therapy for adults that involves you visualizing your trauma in a movie-style format. While you are visualizing, your therapist will count to 100 out loud. The visualization of the memories combined with the distraction of counting can help you better cope. It can also teach you how to limit time spent thinking about harsh memories.

Instead of focusing on them all day and allowing them to ruin your day, you can spend a focused set of time and then move on from them.

Trauma-Resilience Model

Being resilient means you can experience negative emotions, daily obstacles and overcome the stressors life can present. Those with PTSD find this more difficult if they have not learned how to cope with stress properly.

Some skills you can learn are recognizing sensations and being aware of how your body responds to stressors. You can learn how to move your focus from the point of distress to an area on your body feeling better.

Your therapist will help you develop the ability to recognize, reprocess, and respond to stressors.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for adults is often used and combined with other treatments. CBT works because the therapist helps you change how you think about the traumatic events in your life.

Your thoughts influence how you feel, and your feelings affect how you act and react. Changing your thoughts can ultimately change your behaviors.

CBT is often considered to be talk therapy. However, it can include many more treatments to supplement and enhance your recovery, such as those listed above. You can also include family members during some of your trauma-focused CBT.

Parents, spouses, and even children can benefit from therapy because they may not understand how your past traumas affect you today. Once they learn why you are struggling, they can learn how to help you recover.

Each person in your life can make it harder or easier for you to overcome PTSD, an anxiety disorder that requires support from loved ones.

Additional Treatments

There may be times, especially at the beginning of treatment, where you need more intensive support. You and your therapist may consider working with a psychiatrist to include medication as part of your treatment. Even if used temporarily, it can help you get clear-headed, so you can stop focusing on the negative symptoms so you can engage in therapy.

PTSD may not be the only disorder you are struggling with right now. Many people also have co-occurring disorders like depression, codependency, and even addiction.

The right mental health center treatment team will develop a plan to address all your issues and combine them in your trauma-focused therapy. They will help you heal so you can lead a long, happy life.