Trauma-informed therapy is a treatment modality that considers the psychological, biological, neurological, social and emotional effects of the trauma patients seeking mental health services and addiction treatment have experienced. Therapists draw on a deep understanding of the ways trauma impacts people’s lives and the behaviors it can trigger. This cognitive behavioral approach to treatment is very effective in helping people of any age overcome the residual effects of the trauma they have endured even as a child.
Trauma Affects Mental And Emotional Health
On the surface, addictions and other types of detrimental behaviors may seem totally unrelated to traumatic experiences a person suffered many years prior. Trauma-informed therapy acknowledges physical violence and abuse can make people more susceptible to negative patterns of behavior. To effectively treat inappropriate or dangerous behaviors, therapists have to recognize, understand and help the patient to properly process the trauma they have experienced. This can be very enlightening for the patient, help to bring about true healing and a profound change in their behavior.
Today, all properly trained behavioral therapists base their treatment modalities on an understanding of trauma-informed therapy. Left unacknowledged, unaddressed and untreated, the effects of trauma are internalized and impacts the person’s mental, emotional and physical health and their relationships. Newly developed trauma-informed models give therapists the tools and insight they need to help patients address and overcome the trauma they endured and see how it’s related to their present problems.
Many patients develop incorrect beliefs as a result of experiencing trauma. In therapy sessions that are trauma-focused, therapists can help patients identify incorrect beliefs they hold because of the trauma they experienced. Therapists can help patients process the traumatic event, identify the ways in which it impacted their life, change the incorrect thoughts and beliefs and put the event behind them and live a healthier, more balanced life. The process can be quite enlightening, cathartic and empowering.
Family Therapy Can Help
Some therapists and patients find it helpful to have family members who were involved in or aware of the traumatic event participate in the therapy sessions. This has often proved beneficial to all involved. Family therapy sessions help people to get a better understanding of how trauma has impacted the patient and led to their unhealthy habits and behaviors. This often leads to improved relationships and a renewed commitment by family members to help the patient overcome their addictions and other challenging behaviors instigated by the trauma.
Dual-Diagnosis And Trauma-Informed Therapy
Substance abuse treatment programs that use trauma-informed therapy have higher success rates than other programs. Research done at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies concluded almost 95% of people who are struggling with substance abuse had traumatic experiences. Identifying and addressing addiction’s root cause should be the first goal of treatment. Many traumatized individuals have problems with mental and emotional health and substance abuse issues. This type of ‘dual diagnosis’ can complicate recovery and frustrate both patients and therapists.
Using therapeutic methods informed by the patient’s traumatic experiences can sever the symbiosis that exists between substance abuse and mental health issues. Breaking that potent, powerful and dangerous relationship can free the patient to overcome both of them. That’s the goal and the strength of therapeutic treatment that’s informed and guided by awareness and understanding of the trauma a patient has experienced. It’s a treatment modality that’s been very effective in helping people with PTSD who are addicted to drugs. They are the ideal candidates for cognitive behavioral trauma-focused therapy.
Effective Addiction Therapy
For addiction therapy to be effective, it must address the underlying forces that drive people to adopt addictive behaviors. Unless the triggers are identified and counteracted, people seeking addiction therapy will experience an unending cycle of addictive behavior and treatment. Therapists skilled enough to help people find, face and overcome the trauma that has led to their addiction is the only salvation for people seeking effective addiction therapy.
Trauma impacts the lives of everyone it touches. It can cloud their judgment and make simple, safe, rational, decisions difficult. As a result of bad decisions, people end up addicted and suffer dire consequences. Trauma-informed treatment focuses on finding the causes and triggers of the problem, not just addressing its often ugly and dangerous manifestations. It takes excellent training, skill, courage and an understanding of the processes and procedures involved to help patients dig beneath the surface to find the root cause of their behavioral problems.
A therapist skilled in trauma-informed treatment can help anyone to recover from addiction and other negative behaviors.
Recognizing The Trauma
Among the biggest challenges of helping people overcome addiction, and the mental and emotional health issues that often accompany it, is recognizing the trauma that led to it and processing it successfully. Trauma-informed therapy provides the tools to do that effectively. It helps therapists and their patients navigate and dissect the psychological, physical and social impact trauma can have and take determined steps towards healing, wholeness, sanity, and freedom from negative addictions.
Why People Resist Trauma-Informed Treatment
People may try to avoid treatment for many reasons. Some are subconsciously avoiding the pain, embarrassment, stigma, inconvenience, and discomfort of seeking treatment. Others don’t recognize their experience as being trauma. They rationalize those painful, dangerous, events were ‘normal’ and unrelated to their current addictive behavior. Lacking resiliency and effective tools, they seek solace in drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, work or myriad other addictions. But ignoring or hiding from the pain enables it to continue to victimize them through anxiety, depression, addiction, and destructive behaviors. A trauma-informed therapist can help people deal with pain and emotion and find healing through the use of psychotherapy techniques.
Individuals seeking treatment must be honest and straightforward with the therapist for real healing to take place. The therapeutic relationship is only effective if built on trust and honesty. This enables both parties to face the problem and identify the most effective solution. If you or a loved one has experienced trauma along with addiction, don’t hesitate in giving us a call to learn more information. It could be the first step in saving your life.
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