Do you believe that you might be experiencing the effects of trauma? If so, Inward Healing Therapy can help. We offer a range of scientifically-validated techniques to help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
How Our Trauma Therapy Works
Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is a special type of talk therapy that focuses on returning the brain to a healthy state after a traumatic incident (such as a life-threatening situation or death of a loved one).
The intervention was originally designed to help children experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, therapists now apply it more broadly, including in teens and young adults.
Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy involves:
- Modifying inaccurate beliefs that you might have about the world around you
- Identifying and addressing unhealthy, trauma-related behaviors
- Modifying responses to stimuli that might cause panic (such as a car backfiring)
It addresses PTSD symptoms by:
- Helping you to relax. After a traumatic experience, the brain can rewire itself in a way that makes relaxation difficult, affecting your quality of life. Given this, TF-CBT teaches you how to dial down panic pathways and experience less anxiety during regular, everyday life.
- Improving emotional regulation. Individuals with PTSD can sometimes struggle to deal with emotions such as fear, anger, anxiety, and dread. Therapists can help you identify these emotions and provide you with techniques that let you self-soothe.
- Exposing you to the original trauma. Exposure therapy attempts to slowly reintroduce you to the original trauma, giving your brain more time to adjust to it in a healthy manner. While this type of intervention can be emotionally difficult, experts widely regard it as one of the most powerful techniques available.
- Reducing rumination. Racing thoughts are a common symptom of PTSD. TF-CBT gives you techniques that help you reduce compulsive thinking and achieve greater peace. It gives you tools to switch off unhelpful thought patterns, particularly those that keep you awake at night.
- Creating a trauma narrative. Having a story that explains why your trauma occurred in the first place and what it means in the context of the rest of your life is another common exposure technique. Narratives are powerful because they reintroduce you to the trauma while also letting you put it in context.
Our therapy has three phases designed to maximize your chances of recovery.
Phase 1: Stabilization And Safety
Inward Healing Therapy therapists begin treatment by assessing your circumstances and the nature of the trauma you’ve experienced. The first phase involves helping you come to terms and cope with what’s happened. You’ll learn relaxation techniques, self-soothing methods and ways to better regulate your emotions.
Phase 2: Gradual exposure
The next step is use a variety of tried-and-tested counter-trauma techniques to re-expose you to traumatic events in a safe way. Trauma narrative and processing helps you see the widespread impact of trauma on your behavioral, emotional and spiritual responses and makes it easier to chart a path to recovery. In-vivo gradual exposure slowly reintroduces you to situations that caused your trauma with the aim of reducing or eliminating adverse responses.
Phase 3: Integration And Consolidation
The final step is to enhance your personal safety and ensure future development. In cases of child abuse, parents will learn to spot the signs and symptoms of abuse and how to invervene if they suspect wrongdoing. The goal is to prevent a repeat of the traumatic experience in the future.
How Effective Is It?
Research shows that TF-CBT is a highly effective technique that can reduce a range of trauma-associated symptoms, including depression, shame, behavioral problems and anxiety. Evidence suggests that it is particularly effective for people who’ve experienced sexual abuse and individuals not directly involved in the abuse but who are otherwise adversely affected, such as family members.
How Long Does It Take?
For traumas caused by single events in adulthood, patients typically require between 8 and 25 TF-CBT sessions. However, for complex PTSD – a condition characterized by PTSD symptoms alongside other symptoms – patients may need more therapy sessions.
To confirm a trauma or PTSD diagnosis, you will need to get a professional examination. However, there are some telltale signs that strongly suggest that you might have the condition. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may want to come forward for help:
- Difficulty sleeping at night
- Racing thoughts
- Repeatedly thinking about the same dangerous situation
- Feeling generally anxious or never safe
- Finding yourself easily startled when cars or bicycles go by
- Having a racing heart beat (particularly before you go to sleep at night)
- Experiencing aches and pains throughout the body
- Feeling agitated or irritable, even with people you love
- Having a sense of numbness or disconnection from the people around you
- Feeling overly tired or fatigued, even if you have slept well
- Having trouble concentrating on your work
- Isolating yourself from other people
People with these symptoms may label themselves as “abnormal,” believing that there is something wrong with them. However, these experiences are just a normal reaction to an extremely dangerous or difficult event – a way that the brain defends itself against future threats.
What Type Of Events Are Most Likely To Lead To Trauma?
Trauma can arise in a variety of situations, including one-time events, multiple traumatic events, or because of ongoing circumstances. It can result from any event that causes emotional or psychological harm.
Common causes of trauma include redundancy (or being fired from a job), sexual abuse by caregivers, domestic abuse, homelessness, bullying, racism, terrorism, war, divorces, being the victim of a crime, being imprisoned, or experiencing a life-threatening event. Other common causes include neglect, natural disaster, injury and accidents. However, this list is not exhaustive. You may be experiencing trauma even if you haven’t experienced a common cause.
What Benefits Does TF-CBT Offer?
TF-CBT is a powerful procedure that lets you face your fears and move on with your life. It gives you potent psychological coping skills you can deploy when symptoms arise.
Adjust Problematic Beliefs
TF-CBT can help you challenge thought patterns, including how you describe yourself and the world around you. For example, you may worry that if you go outside, you will experience a similar situation to the one that caused your trauma in the first place. You may also believe that a certain event occurred because you brought it on yourself. For instance, you might say to yourself, “I must be a terrible person because, otherwise, I wouldn’t have been abused.”
TF-CBT and other talk therapies help you move beyond these harmful beliefs and look at your trauma in a different way. Therapists help you chip away at your assumptions and replace them with more plausible explanations, helping to reduce shame and guilt that you might feel.
Increased Sense Of Personal Safety
After a traumatic event, it is hard to feel safe. You worry that something similar might happen again at any moment.
TF-CBT addresses this belief and challenges the idea that “nobody can be trusted.” The goal is to help you see that even though somebody hurt you in the past, that isn’t necessarily the case in the future.
Patients who successfully complete TF-CBT find that they are more open in their relationships. They are able to relate to other people more confidently, without fearing a repeat of the traumatic event.
Dealing with PTSD and other trauma-related issues is also challenging. Many people with persistent symptoms believe that they are incapable of coping with life’s challenges and feel the urge to withdraw from society.
Trauma counseling counteracts this by providing you with improved coping skills that give you more confidence to function. You learn how to be your own advocate and challenge negative thoughts telling you that you can’t do something.
Validation Of Your Trauma
Traumatized people are often told that their experiences “weren’t that bad” or that they are “overreacting.” Colleagues, friends, family and other associates might minimize their experiences.
By contrast, trauma therapy validates your emotional reactions. When you talk to a therapist, they accept that how you feel is legitimate and that you have experienced suffering because of it.
This understanding is often the first step to dealing with trauma and puts you on the path to healing and helps to reduce self-attack.
Get Started With Trauma Therapy At Inward Healing Therapy
If you’d like to get help for your PTSD, get in touch with our team today. You can share your story with us and get clinically-proven treatment to reduce trauma symptoms and begin the healing process.
Many people recover from traumatic experiences every year. You don’t need to remain in the pain that you find yourself in now. Instead, you can take action, work with sympathetic professionals, and get on the road to recovery.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Arrange a free consultation today with Inward Healing Therapy in Santa Clara, CA, today.