Why is Trauma Therapy So Difficult? An Expert's Perspective

Traumatic events are personal and can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) even in situations that are considered “nothing” by society. This makes trauma and PTSD difficult to treat, as emotions need to be felt in order to heal. But why is trauma therapy so difficult?A trauma therapist is there to help you overcome the painful emotions and get back on your feet. PTSD can create long-term adverse changes in emotions, thinking, and behavior as a direct result of exposure to trauma.

Trauma therapy is about bringing yourself and your world back together after having experienced one or more events that literally and metaphorically destroyed you in a deep and painful way, and that means you have to find all the pieces of yourself, the good, the bad and the ugly.But at least the therapist must know what he is dealing with and the history of the trauma must be on the table. If you don't understand why the therapist is asking you to, or if you don't expect to feel (sometimes) severe emotional pain, you're probably not going to stay much longer. In cognitive processing therapy, the therapist will ask the client to write about their traumatic experiences in detail and then read it aloud.Sharing the details of the trauma with a new therapist is like removing a bandage to show the doctor a raw, unhealed lesion. Unfortunately, several rounds of this process involved additional trauma to the point that even seeking therapy is very triggering and, in fact, going to an appointment requires 24 to 48 hours to recover (even if no real therapeutic work is done).They will be asked to access a traumatic memory during each session, either verbally, in writing, or imagining it in as much detail as possible, starting with less distressing thoughts and memories.

It's important to tell your therapist right away so they can help you get out of this state of activation.Research has shown that writing about trauma can also be effective in helping you process your experience. If therapy sessions are primarily focused on dealing with current life stressors, it can be difficult to devote the necessary time to trauma processing work. I have witnessed first-hand the kind of harm this can cause to a family when a therapist begins this type of therapy without understanding all the family dynamics and the risk for all members of the family.You can ask a trusted friend, loved one, support person, or therapist for suggestions and comments. Ultimately, healing from trauma is a very personal journey that requires a safe relationship with a trained, trauma-informed therapist.

Ruth Bupp
Ruth Bupp

Total music maven. Infuriatingly humble pop culture advocate. Proud coffee enthusiast. Infuriatingly humble food scholar. Freelance twitter guru. Evil beer junkie.

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