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Types of Trauma Therapy


There are multiple types of therapy that can help treat trauma. 

  • Prolonged exposure (PE): This form of therapy involves exposing you to the source of your fear, until you are not afraid of it anymore.

  • Cognitive processing therapy (CPT): CPT involves challenging your perspective about why the traumatic event occurred and the thoughts and beliefs you’ve developed since. This form of therapy can be performed in an individual or group setting.

  • Trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy (TF-CBT): This form of therapy is for children and adolescents. It can help address inaccurate beliefs and unhealthy behavior patterns.

  • Brainspotting: This form of treatment is a powerful, focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms.

  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): This form of treatment involves using rhythmic left-right (bilateral) stimulation to help release emotions that have been blocked by trauma.

What Trauma Therapy Can Help With


Trauma therapy can help you cope with trauma, whether it’s caused by a one-time event, or an ongoing or long-lasting situation.

These are some common forms of trauma that therapy can address; however it’s important to note that trauma can include any event or experience that causes emotional or psychological harm.

Reduce Fear and Avoidance


Trauma can instill fear and cause you to avoid people, places, or things that remind you of the traumatic experience, which can make it difficult for you to function. For instance, a person who was involved in a car accident on a freeway may avoid driving on freeways or be afraid to get into a car at all, therapy can help you confront the trauma memory and overcome your fears.

Build Trust

Traumatic events can disrupt your sense of safety and make it difficult for you to trust others. 

With therapy, someone who developed the belief  that the world is not safe may learn to start thinking “Even though I was hurt in the past, most people are good and trustworthy and it’s okay to give people a chance."

Things to Consider


A trauma therapist may consider several factors when assessing your readiness for trauma therapy, which can include:

  • Commitment level: It is essential to have a strong commitment to complete the treatment from start to finish because stopping the treatment midway can actually increase PTSD symptoms and cause the person to become more entrenched in trauma-related beliefs and avoidance.

  • Suicide risk: The person should have had no suicide attempts or self-harm incidents in the past two months. For individuals at high risk of suicide or self-harm, stabilization is the main focus.  Since safety is a top priority, somatic work would first be used to address any suicidal or self-harm inclinations before beginning the trauma part of treatment.

  • Coping skills: The person will need coping skills to complete exposure therapy safely and effectively. Coping skills are necessary for managing intense emotions without relying on emotional suppression and behaviors such as substance use or going to bed for the rest of the day.

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