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Understanding Trauma – Informed Counseling and Therapy

Traumatic experiences can have long-lasting effects on a person’s mind and body, so counseling for trauma is essential. Since everyone reacts differently to trauma, the outcome can vary depending on the psychological and emotional impact of the event or events.

Trauma is an emotional response to a traumatic event. Initially, a person may experience shock or denial. As time goes on, the reactions can worsen into unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, and relationship problems.

A traumatic event can include any incident that causes physical, psychological, emotional, or spiritual harm. Gaining a sense of emotional and mental stability is the main goal in conquering the effects caused by the traumatic experience, but that takes time, depending on the cause of the trauma.

About the Causes of Trauma

Trauma can occur at any age and appear as a single event or a series of events.

Trauma affects us differently due to how we handle each situation, the age the events occurred, whether the cause is buried in the subconscious, and other factors. Counseling for trauma is vital in order to unearth the root causes and explore their depths in a safe, supportive environment.

In the days to weeks following a given trauma, there are signs and symptoms to look for that can lead to other issues such as acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Signs and Symptoms

If left untreated, traumatic events can lead to other mental health issues due to trauma’s psychological and emotional damage.

Emotional and psychological symptoms can include:

  • AngerAnger after trauma is one of the psychological effects which can be triggered due to survival instincts related to the trauma itself. This anger may manifest itself overtly but may show up in more subtle forms like increased irritability or a resistance to change.
  • DepressionThe long-term psychological effects of trauma can increase the risk of developing depression, whether clinical or otherwise, with an increased likelihood of abandonment issues or other co-dependent responses.
  • AnxietyExperiencing a traumatic event can increase someone’s fight or flight response and thus their anxiety, typically when seeing, hearing, or smelling something that reminds the individual of their trauma’s cause, whether subconsciously or consciously.

Young woman in Miami looking into the distance

Counseling for trauma can also help with physical symptoms, which may include:

  • Insomnia or nightmares – When the experience is so shocking, the mind keeps bringing the memory back to understand it better.
  • Difficulty concentrating – The stress caused by trauma can leave a person in a state of heightened vigilance and, over time, puts extreme pressure on the mind and body, making concentration more difficult.
  • Easily startled – Trauma itself startles the body and mind leaving it vulnerable and yet prepared if it were to happen again.
  • Racing heartbeat – When any trigger of the traumatic event occurs, the mind remembers and prepares the body for action by increasing the heart rate.

When trauma occurs, the mind will find coping mechanisms. Traumatic responses and the resulting ways people cope are directly connected with behavioral health issues such as the development of eating disorders and substance abuse through drugs and alcohol.

When the signs and symptoms start interfering in daily life, including day-to-day activities, school, work, and relationships, it may be time to consider trauma-informed psychotherapy.

Treatments for Trauma at Therapy

Sometimes, we need to breathe and release, but it is not easy, especially when past traumas take over. Still, with counseling for trauma administered by a trained professional, the past no longer has to control you.

There are five primary principles with trauma-informed psychotherapy, which are:

  • Safety – Ensuring that the physical and emotional needs of the patient come first in a safe environment.
  • Choice – The patient is provided options regarding their unique treatment plan.
  • Working Together – Making decisions with the patient provides a sense of power and mutual collaboration.
  • Trust – Being clear and concise along with creating healthy boundaries help build confidence and assurance.
  • Empowerment – Having the patient learn and contribute to their therapy plan helps provide inner strength and the skills needed to conquer any obstacles that may occur in the future.

Utilizing trauma-informed care is a unique type of counseling for trauma that involves the therapist focusing on three main aspects of how trauma has affected a person’s life.

  1. The realization of the magnitude and prevalence of the trauma
  2. The recognition of how the trauma affects all the individuals involved
  3. The response of the therapist by applying a specific or multiple type treatment plans

One of the best forms of treatment is trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is based on our thoughts that create our feelings and, ultimately, our behaviors. If we change our thoughts, we change our behaviors, resulting in a more positive and enjoyable life.

With trauma-focused CBT, trauma-sensitive interventions are infused with CBT to provide a reduction in traumatic stress symptoms along with the skills needed to regulate behavior, thoughts, and relationships while enhancing safety, trust, and communication.

At Miami Hypnosis and Therapy, we offer a wide range of counseling for trauma treatments, including CBT, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), and hypnotherapy. In addition, we apply integrative treatments by combining therapies to expedite and enhance the results.

Person with hands in the air on top of a mountain

Releasing the adverse effects from past traumas can feel like you just climbed a huge mountain and finally made it to the top, which can be accomplished through trauma-informed psychotherapy.

Contact us today and overcome whatever is holding you back from living the joyous life you were meant to live! Let Miami Hypnosis and Therapy help you pull you off the path of fear and take control of your mental well-being.

Anna Marchenko

Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M. is the principal therapist at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy. She holds a bachelor's degree from NYU and dual masters degrees from Columbia University. Marchenko’s hypnosis certification is from the only hypnosis program in Florida that has been certified by the state’s Board of Education. She helps her clients by utilizing an integrative approach to psychotherapy, tailored to each individual’s mental health journey, drawing from hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, NLP therapy, EMDR, and more.

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