In a nutshell: Trauma-focused therapy provides support and structure for the process of healing the emotional wounds, and the related behaviors, that trauma can leave in its wake.
What is trauma?
Trauma is not one thing. Many different experiences can create it. And the way we react to and process those experiences differs from person to person. Trauma can be especially complicated if it occurred during childhood or continued over a period of time.
A person struggling with trauma may show anger, fear, nightmares, flashbacks, or emotional distance. There could signs that may not even seem related to the traumatic experiences.
The Healing Process
There are therapies that have been shown to help relieve the effects of trauma. And recent research about newer methods has been promising.
The experience of trauma differs so much from person to person. And addressing trauma can be an intense experience. So we will use an approach that responds to what you need at a given time.
The first step in any treatment of trauma in therapy is to learn and practice skills to manage overwhelming feelings that may come up. We need to establish a sense of safety—and the ability to return to that feeling— before beginning to address traumatic experiences.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) has been shown to help relieve symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
This method focuses on exploring what ideas a person developed about the traumatic experiences. For example, it is fairly common for a person to feel some responsibility for the traumatic event, even when that is clearly not the case. In TF-CBT, we work to identify those ideas, examine them logically, and find more accurate—and less harmful—ways to think about the experiences.