Blog / Therapist Speaks: Navigating Trauma Informed Therapy

Therapist Speaks: Navigating Trauma Informed Therapy

09.05.2024 | Nitara Rebello

Trauma-informed therapy has become a standard yet crucial aspect of mental health care in recent years, as we have come to understand the far-reaching impact of trauma on individuals and communities. It is an approach that recognizes the signs, symptoms, and effects of trauma and integrates this understanding into the therapeutic process.  
As budding therapists or as someone seeking trauma informed therapy, we often wonder what it takes to be trauma informed or what one should look out for. 
Before we delve into trauma-informed therapy, let's break down trauma and bust some myths surrounding it. 
Trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience that overwhelms an individual's ability to cope. It can result from a single event, such as a car accident, or a series of events, such as ongoing abuse or neglect. The effects of trauma can be profound and long-lasting, impacting an individual's emotional, psychological, and physical well-being.
Some common myths surrounding trauma are as follows: 
Myth: Trauma only affects individuals who have experienced extreme or life-threatening events.
Fact: Trauma can result from any experience that overwhelms an individual's ability to cope, including seemingly minor events. It does not necessarily have to be life threatening.
Myth: Trauma-informed therapy is a one-size-fits-all approach.
Fact: Trauma-informed therapy is tailored to the individual's unique experiences, needs, and goals, and is also based on client receptiveness. 
Myth: It  is only for individuals with severe or chronic trauma histories.
Fact: Trauma-informed therapy is beneficial for anyone who has experienced trauma, regardless of the severity or duration of the traumatic experience.
What does it mean to be Trauma Informed? 
To be a trauma-informed therapist means understanding the profound impact of trauma on individuals and integrating this awareness into every aspect of treatment.

Safety First: Creating a safe and supportive environment is essential for trauma-informed therapy. This includes physical safety, emotional safety, and ensuring that the therapeutic relationship is built on trust, transparency, and collaboration. This means that a trauma-informed therapist would prioritize creating a secure space where healing can occur without re-traumatization.
Trust and Transparency: They build trust through transparency and open communication and  involve clients in decision-making and respect their autonomy. 
Collaboration and Empowerment:  They collaborate with clients, empowering them to make choices and participate actively in their healing process. They focus on strengths and resilience rather than deficits. Together, the therapist and client also actively work towards goals, coping strategies and progress. 
Cultural Competence: A trauma-informed therapist acknowledges the impact of cultural diversity on trauma experiences. They are sensitive to cultural factors and tailor treatment accordingly.
Trauma-Specific Interventions: They utilize evidence-based interventions specifically designed to address the effects of trauma. 
Self-Care: This form of therapy also  recognizes the importance of self-care for both the therapist and the individual. This includes setting boundaries, managing stress, and seeking support when needed.

By embodying these principles, a trauma-informed therapist creates a compassionate and effective therapeutic environment that promotes healing, growth, and resilience in individuals who have experienced trauma.
How can one benefit from Trauma Informed Therapy? 
It helps individuals recognize the role of trauma in their emotions, behavior, and thinking patterns. It creates a safe space to navigate mental health and understand how trauma has influenced their life experiences. 
Instead of focusing solely on behaviors, trauma therapy takes a holistic approach, considering the underlying reasons for current behaviors. This approach can help individuals develop a more comprehensive understanding of their experiences and coping mechanisms
It is not just for individuals with PTSD or those who have experienced extreme events. It can benefit people with a history of depression, anxiety, emotional trauma, attachment issues, racial trauma, or any type of trauma.
In addition to these, some of the other benefits include iImproved emotional regulation, enhanced self-esteem and self-worth, increased self-awareness and understanding of triggers, improved coping skills and resilience and improved relationships and social connections and most importantly a greater sense of control and empowerment
Trauma-informed therapy is a vital approach to mental health care that recognizes the pervasive impact of trauma and integrates this understanding into the therapeutic process. By incorporating the key principles of trauma-informed therapy, therapists and laymen can work together to create safe, supportive, and empowering environments that foster healing, growth, and resilience. 
If you or somebody you know wants to learn more about trauma informed therapy, consider reaching our ‘Support’ and ‘Engage’ verticals for affordable and inclusive help!     
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