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How to Heal From Trauma

When you live through traumatic events, it can colour your life for years to come. The effects of trauma aren’t easily overcome, but there is a path to trauma healing.

Trauma therapy in London teaches you to manage the symptoms of trauma, provides evidence-based strategies to help you heal, and offers lasting support for your new life in recovery.

The Challenges of Living with Trauma

Trauma is the natural human response to living through unnatural or distressing events. When you live through a traumatic experience, you may lose the ability to control your emotions, struggle with personal relationships, or simply not feel safe anymore, even though the traumatic event is over.

These consequences can have a ripple effect throughout your entire life. It could lead to you struggling at work, school, or even in your home life and can generally shift your overall mental health in the wrong direction.

Left untreated, trauma can lead people to learn maladaptive coping mechanisms, such as turning to drugs or alcohol to numb the effects of a traumatic experience. The best way to keep your physical and mental health intact is to contact a professional trauma expert to help you along the path to recovery.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

When the effects of trauma linger for an extended period, psychologists label this as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While anyone can feel the effects of shock, sudden mood swings, or crying spells shortly after a traumatic event, experiencing negative symptoms for months or years is a significant cause for concern.

People living with PTSD show several symptoms, typically grouped into four main categories — avoidance, intrusive memories, mood changes, and reactivity. Examples of these symptoms include:

  • Avoiding situations that remind you of your traumatic experience (avoidance)
  • Not talking to friends or family about topics that remind you of the traumatic event (avoidance)
  • Recurring thoughts or memories of your traumatic experience (intrusive memories)
  • Having nightmares about the traumatic event (intrusive memories)
  • Inability to regulate your emotions (mood changes)
  • Sudden mood swings (mood changes)
  • Sudden physical or emotional reactions to external events (reactivity)

These symptoms can be severely disruptive and often lead to people rearranging their whole lives to avoid dealing with them. Yet this doesn’t lead to recovery; it only leads to the problem getting worse.

Getting Help for Trauma and PTSD

No matter how severe your symptoms may be, there is hope for trauma healing. Starting trauma therapy in London connects you with mental health experts who have decades of experience and training in helping people overcome the symptoms of PTSD, learn to prevail over their challenges, and live happier and healthier lives in recovery.

Trauma therapy in London comes in many forms. You can choose talk therapy approaches, medication interventions, adjunctive therapy options, or a combination of all these treatments to produce the greatest results.

These treatments have decades of research proving their effectiveness in helping people work through the challenges of PTSD. Many people will achieve a full recovery. Trauma therapy can’t help you to forget the past, but it can help you move forward in a healthy and productive way.

Talk Therapy Approaches

Talk therapy is the simplest and most effective way of heal from trauma. Talk therapy typically involves sitting down with a licensed therapist, sharing what your challenges are, and learning new methods to live a healthier life.

But multiple types of psychotherapy options are available, with two that are particularly effective.

Eye-Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing

Eye-movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is an evidence-based technique that combines conventional psychotherapy with a unique intervention to help people process traumatic experiences.

The key distinguishing element of EMDR is known as bilateral stimulation — a technique that brings your attention from the right side of your body to the left side of your body and back again.

This technique activates both hemispheres of your brain, which is thought to help ease the task of processing and working through traumatic experiences.

Multiple techniques produce bilateral stimulation, such as:

  • Rhythmic tapping on your knees
  • Following a light from the right side of your body to the left
  • Wearing headphones that deliver alternating tones in the right and left ears

This may sound like hypnosis, but it is not intended to produce a hypnotic state. It simply activates multiple regions of the brain while you continue to talk to your therapist during individual therapy sessions.

Research has shown that EMDR is dramatically effective in helping people recover from trauma and PTSD and may do so much faster than conventional prolonged exposure therapy.

But it’s also easier for you as the client since, with bilateral stimulation, the intense, visceral emotional reactions to traumatic experiences are lessened, allowing you to open up to your therapist more freely.

Parts Work

Parts work therapy is a style of therapy that acknowledges the many different “parts” in a person’s personality. This lens can be incredibly useful for people dealing with trauma or PTSD and can help you resolve conflicts that have surfaced because of your traumatic experience.

Sometimes called internal family systems therapy, parts therapy focuses on three main components of a person’s personality, including:

  • Exiles: The younger parts of your sense of self, which were ignored or “exiled” as you became an adult
  • Managers: The part of your sense of self that tries to control your emotions and behaviours, which can lead to perfectionism or stress
  • Firefighters: The parts of your sense of self that try their hardest to put out fires, disengage from pain, and cover up any negative emotions

Parts therapy helps people learn how these different parts interact, which parts are overexpressed, and which need to come to the forefront in order for you to heal.

Medication Interventions

Another style of treating trauma and PTSD is through meeting with a psychiatrist who can prescribe specific medications to help you on the path to recovery. There’s no pill that can cure trauma, but some medications can help you deal with the symptoms.

Medication interventions are best paired with traditional styles of talk therapy. The medication can give people a brief reprieve, during which they may be able to open up more with their therapist and begin the work of trauma healing.

Ketamine Therapy

Ketamine-assisted therapy is a novel approach to help people work through the challenges of trauma or PTSD.

Ketamine is a short-acting dissociative medication that can help people experiencing significant traumatic symptoms disconnect from their charged emotional state and process their memories without becoming overwhelmed.

Ketamine-assisted therapy is always done with a trained clinician, who will sit with you and walk you through your treatment experience. It’s a very safe style of trauma therapy and can help propel you on the path to a lasting recovery.

Peer Support

True peer support plays an important role in any trauma therapy program. Typically delivered through group therapy options, peer support helps people learn that they are not alone and proves that recovery is possible.

When you’re living with trauma, it can feel incredibly isolating. You may believe your situation is completely unique and no one knows what you’re going through. This is rarely the case, and while someone may not have gone through your exact situation, some people know how you feel and can help you through it.

Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care isn’t a style of treatment in itself but, instead, an overarching principle that’s held throughout a treatment centre. This refers to an entire treatment team, including support staff and admissions professionals, that are taught to recognize the effects trauma can have on an individual’s life.

It is designed to reduce the risk of retraumatization, make people feel comfortable in the treatment environment, and help them become willing to work toward their goals in recovery.

Moving From a Trauma Victim to a Survivor

Ultimately, trauma healing comes from the ability to move past being a victim of trauma to being a survivor of traumatic experiences. No trauma therapy can erase the past. Your experiences will always shape who you are moving forward.

Instead, trauma therapy can help you to put down the guilt, shame, remorse, or fear that comes from living through traumatic experiences and refocus your energy on what’s important to you.

The first step is reaching out for help. Traumatic experiences can be incredibly overwhelming, and no one is equipped to deal with catastrophic situations on their own. But mental health professionals can help guide you toward evidence-based treatment methods that can help you regain control of your life and start anew in recovery.

To hear more about APN London’s trauma therapy programmes in London, contact our team through the live chat function on our website or by filling out our confidential online contact form. Our team can help guide you toward the treatments that fit you best and help you start the journey of trauma healing.

Reference

  • “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” SAMHSA, www.samhsa.gov/mental-health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder. Accessed 23 Dec. 2023.