What are Trauma Therapy Services?
Trauma Therapy is also known as Trauma Counseling (TC). This type of therapy is geared towards helping children, teens, adults and families heal from trauma or from a traumatic event, in many cases these traumatic events stem from childhood. TC can help a person who has experienced trauma learn to cope with it and go on to live a “normal” life. Any service related to coping with trauma is considered to be a Trauma Therapy Service.
Traumatic events could include instances of physical abuse, sexual abuse, sexual assault or neglect. It could also include domestic or community violence, whether that violence was witnessed or experienced. For example, witnessing a crime or witnessing domestic abuse can be very traumatic, especially for children, teens and young adults.
Most TC programs provide help to populations that have experienced or witnessed the trauma, as well as their families. In addition to individual and family therapy, a TC program might include case management and advocacy, as well as a plan for safety. Staff will be specialized in trauma and will be comfortable working with victims, children, teens, young adults, adults and their families. Staff members might include the following roles:
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSWs)
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs)
- Victim Advocates
Trauma Assessment Pathway (TAP)
TAP is a clinical pathway for treating and assessing patients by keeping the essential components of trauma in mind. This type of therapy is performed on children and adults who need to move past childhood trauma. So, what are traditional components of childhood trauma? This could include abuse, neglect, crime. To do TAP properly, the provider needs to take a full, multifaceted assessment of the child (or adult) they are treating. The assessment process needs to be in-depth in order to work efficiently. Understanding the child will include a recognition of their developmental level and a complete understanding of their traumatic experience.
The clinician will also want to understand the child’s family dynamic. Who is the child and what is their place within the family? Who are their parents or caregivers? What is the child’s relationship with their parents or caregivers? To accomplish this type of insight, the clinician will take a deep dive into the family’s unique situation.
They’ll do interviews and also sit back and observe the family in its normal surroundings. They’ll also take a look at the child from a cultural perspective. What’s the dynamic of the child’s surrounding community? What’s the cultural system in which they live? What are the cultural norms? TAP is a general clinical pathway, but different practices have different methods.
Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) and Treatment
When anything is evidence-based, that means the treatment has been thoroughly investigated and is deemed effective. Therefore, EBPs have been proven successful with extensive research and review from other professionals in the therapeutic field. An efficient practice will train its staff members in EBPs. They’ll be taught how to identify and utilize EBPs for any application possible. EBPs are specific when it comes to TC. Here are a few examples of EBPs within this field:
- Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
- Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)
- Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
Types of Trauma Therapy
Other therapeutic types can be utilized to help heal trauma. Many of them can be done in either group or individual sessions. Here are a few additional pathways:
- Prolonged exposure or PE exposes patients to what they fear. Clinicians repeatedly expose the patient until they no longer fear the source of the trauma.
- Cognitive processing therapy or CPT rewrites the book on the trauma. It challenges long-held beliefs about a traumatic event and WHY it occurred.
- Trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy or TF-CBT is specific to children and adolescents who hold inaccurate beliefs and participate in unhealthy patterns of behavior as a result of their experienced trauma.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing or EMDR unblocks trauma and releases emotion with rhythmic left-right stimulation, also known as bilateral stimulation.
Techniques in Trauma Therapy
Here are some of the techniques clinicians employ for unrooting trauma:
- Imaginal exposure helps the patient get over trauma by vocalizing it.
- In vivo exposure helps the patient perform day-to-day activities without carrying trauma as baggage.
- A written account allows the patient to write a descriptive account of their trauma.
- A statement of impact teaches the patient to write about their trauma and how it has impacted them.
- Cognitive restructuring strategies are about restructuring thoughts and beliefs so that unhelpful thoughts become more helpful.
Trauma Therapy or Trauma Counseling is an emerging type of therapy that helps patients move past trauma so they can live fulfilling lives. There are many different types of therapy and many techniques for helping those with trauma, PTSD, anxiety and more.
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TAP Pathway. Practiced at different places, not just chadwick
Some more Trauma Therapy pathways: