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Trauma Focused Therapy

Hannah Tishman

What is Trauma Focused Therapy?

Trauma Focused Therapy is an approach to therapy that views client's experiences through the lens of past trauma. Trauma Focused Therapy allows clients to address distressing symptoms and understand the root cause, leading to healing from past trauma. Taking a look at a client's history in terms of their environment, family, biological factors, culture, and childhood experiences can help Trauma Focused Therapy may involve regulating the nervous system through different types of interventions, some including EMDR, CBT, TF-CBT, medication, EFT.  

Trauma Focused Therapy is not one specific intervention, but rather a set of principles that guides and recognizes trauma's impacts on a person. A strong relationship between therapist and client is the foundation of trust and safety, which can lead to recovery from past trauma. Most individuals have experienced some type of trauma in their life, whether it was a single-incident trauma, complex trauma, or attachment-related. Traumas can be single-incident or complex. An example of single-incident trauma would be a car accident or fire. Complex trauma might include childhood sexual abuse or domestic violence.

Attachment-related trauma might involve a disruption in bonding between a primary caregiver and child. A result of attachment-related trauma may be feelings of worthlessness or "being damaged", or being unloveable. Emotional safety, collaboration, trust, choice, and empowerment are all essential in treating trauma. A Trauma Focused approach can allow therapists to better understand eating disorders, addictions, and other behaviors that are typically in response to past traumatic events.  

Benefits of Trauma Focused Therapy

Some benefits of Trauma Focused Therapy includes understanding trauma and its impact on the brain and body, re-establishing a sense of safety in the body and the world, identifying trauma triggers, creating healthy coping mechanisms, decreasing distress, and reprocessing trauma to regulate the nervous system. A helpful resource for clients to better understand trauma and its impact on the brain and body is the book 'The Body Keeps The Score'. I often encourage my clients to read through this book as we work together to reprocess trauma. Understanding the impacts of trauma on the nervous system can be cathartic in itself, allowing clients to feel less isolated in their experience and disregulation.

Oftentimes, clients may report chronic pain or illness that can link directly to past unresolved trauma. Experiencing trauma can lead to a higher risk of health problems. This can resolve or improve with trauma treatment. It's very important when seeking Trauma Focused Therapy to find a therapist who has specialized training in how to treat trauma. As a client, you should never feel that you have to retell your trauma history from A-Z without preparation and stabilization as this can be re-traumatizing in itself. Clients should feel a sense of safety and trust with their provider, and should also feel stabilized enough to begin exploring trauma.

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Trauma Focused Therapy


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About the Author

Hannah is a psychotherapist who believes in a holistic, non-judgmental approach to therapy. She works with adults, primarily in their 20s-40s who want to cope with the impacts of past trauma, reduce anxiety, manage disordered eating, improve interpersonal relationships, increase self-esteem, and navigate life transitions. She is trained in Attachment-Focused EMDR therapy, a therapy that can allow you to heal and distance yourself from traumatic memories or difficult symptoms, in turn reducing and eliminating distress. She takes a relational approach to therapy, using the therapeutic relationship to model safety, boundaries, and trust. You can contact Hannah directly through her MyWellbeing profile.