Do You Need a Psychotherapist for Trauma?

psychotherapist-for-trauma-nyc-brooklyn-01Do you need a psychotherapist for trauma? When you think of the word “trauma,” what automatically comes to mind? Maybe it’s a veteran who just returned from war, a survivor of domestic violence, or an abused child. Most people associate the word “trauma” with life-threatening events like war or a natural disaster, but what if that definition of trauma is too narrow? Today the definition of trauma is expanding and becoming more individualized. What may be traumatic for one person may not be traumatic for another person. This is influenced by family of origin, life experiences, and beliefs. Everyone’s definition of trauma is valid and every trauma is important and worthy of healing.

What is Trauma?

Often trauma is invisible so it’s hard for others to understand, and even for individuals to admit the trauma to themselves. For example, maybe you don’t have physical bruises, but systematic invalidation from a partner has left you emotionally wounded. Working on this interpersonal trauma is just as important as healing from a more “traditional” trauma.

Based on our environment growing up and beliefs we’ve learned, we may be left with a negative view of ourselves, relationships, and the world. On the outside, everything might seem fine, but inwardly these beliefs can have a negative impact on our relationships, confidence, professional success, and overall happiness.

Symptoms

trauma-symptoms-do-need-nyc-therapist--specialists-02So how do you know if you’re dealing with trauma to begin with? There is a spectrum of responses to trauma ranging from an acute stress reaction to full on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Responses to trauma can be brief, time-limited, or chronic. Everyone is different. However, some of the common signs include experiencing at least one of the following intrusive symptoms associated with a traumatic event:

  • Involuntarily reliving the traumatic experience which can include having nightmares or flashbacks.
  • Avoiding certain situations that remind you of the trauma.
  • Changes in beliefs and feelings about yourself and others.
  • Hyper-vigilance – always feeling on guard and like something terrible will happen even when you’re not in danger.
  • Somatic symptoms like insomnia, loss of appetite, panic attacks, heart palpitations, etc.
  • Difficulties with emotional regulation. PTSD is often misdiagnosed as a mood disorder like depression or anxiety.
  • Negative self-image and thoughts about themselves. Those who have experienced trauma often blame themselves. Themes of guilt, shame, and responsibility can be prevalent.

Therapeutic Approaches

emdr-for-trauma-psychotherapists-nyc-brooklrn-03The journey to healing trauma can be a long and difficult one. But with courage, resilience, and the support of a psychotherapist for trauma, it is possible. There are many therapeutic approaches and techniques that are used to recover from trauma. Some of them include:

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) EMDR works to support clients in reprocessing distress, reintegrating information, and making more adaptive connections.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): TF-CBT is a short-term, structured treatment approach that works to help individuals recover from trauma.

Attachment Theory: This includes working to explore and understand interpersonal and relational traumas.

We Can Help

At Cobb Psychotherapy we don’t have a one-size-fits-all definition of trauma. We have therapists who specialize in trauma and are trained in EMDR, Trauma-focused CT, and Attachment Theory.

Contact us to learn more or to schedule a free fifteen-minute phone consult:

(718) 260-6462

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