Do you struggle with moving forward from your trauma? You’re not alone. In fact, it’s a problem that affects many people. But the good news is that there are supports available to help you overcome this challenge. In this post, we’ll show you exactly what those benefits are to help you cope with your trauma.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma can be anything that leads to a threat to your life or safety, overwhelms your capacity to cope and where you have no control over the situation or the outcome. Trauma can be a singular event, or a cumulative experience of trauma, such as ongoing stressors.
Furthermore, Trauma can be classified as big T trauma which includes assault, loss of a loved one or a natural disaster, or little t trauma, which includes racial trauma or a breakup. Both can be equally as impactful for you and can have lasting effects.
How Does Trauma Affect the Brain?
Trauma impacts three main areas of the brain, the amygdala, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. The amygdala acts as your brain’s internal threat system which responds to triggers using the flight, fight, freeze, fawn response. Trauma causes the activity in the amygdala to increase which perpetuates the feelings of anxiety or danger.
The hippocampus is the memory system of the brain which responds to cues of safety and danger. Trauma causes the effectiveness of the hippocampus to decrease which can lead to flashbacks or fragmented memories of the trauma. The prefrontal cortex which is the reward system of the brain helps control our emotional response to events.
During trauma or even following a traumatic event, the prefrontal cortex shrinks, allowing negative emotions from the trauma to take over the cortex’s reasoning ability.
Can a Therapist Help With Trauma?
Following a traumatic event or trauma exposure, a therapist can help you better understand your emotional reaction and help you with emotion regulation. Common emotional reactions of trauma include over-regulation and under-regulations of your emotions. Over-regulation comes from too much emotional self-control where you may engage in numbing or shutting down your emotions to help maintain safety.
Under–regulation occurs when you don’t know how to react to large pieces of emotion and are experiencing flashbacks or nightmares. Once emotional regulation has been identified, your therapist will work with you using a trauma-centred or trauma-informed approach to help address your emotions and heal your wounds.
What Type of Therapy Is Best for Trauma?
There are many different approaches to working through your trauma. Depending on your various concerns your therapist may use trauma–informed approaches of establishing safety, maintaining choice, collaborating with you, trustworthiness and client empowerment to help guide you in practice.
Other approaches include trauma-centred psychotherapy, trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy or Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).
How Do I Know if I Need Trauma Therapy?
If your traumatic symptoms, no matter big or small, are impacting your daily functioning, you may need trauma therapy. Your trauma can impact relationships with friends and loved ones and more importantly your relationship with yourself.
It can impact your sleep, motivation and ability to focus. It is important that you begin noticing these impacts and addressing them. Working with a therapist will help you realign yourself with skills and tools to achieve positive growth.
Booking an appointment at Body Science Therapy is the first step towards a healthier, happier you. Our trained therapists can help guide you on your journey of self-improvement and empowerment. Don’t wait any longer to start seeing the results you deserve. Book your appointment now.