To heal from trauma means finally dealing with the source of the trauma, whether it’s childhood abuse or neglect, combat experiences, or a natural disaster or a violent assault. How can this be done, however, when trauma provokes such negative and overwhelming feelings – feelings that most try hard to keep safely buried?
Therapy can be a vital step, helping the person feel safe enough to revisit their trauma without being retraumatized in the process. Getting the right support is key, however. Not only is it important to connect with a therapist well-versed in effective therapeutic approaches, it’s also vital to seek out a person with whom you feel a personal connection.
Multiple studies confirm that a person who feels good about their relationship with their therapist is more likely to have a positive outcome. A recent study from Bowling Green State University researchers takes the concept a step further, noting that a deep connection between a therapist and patient can lead to “sacred moments” that increase well-being on both sides.
- Knowledge. Your therapist should, of course, be up to date on treatment options – techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, which teaches new ways of thinking of old experiences; neurofeedback, which can help rewire the brain to overcome trauma-induced changes; equine therapy, which can be a helpful supplement for those who find it hard to trust human connections; and EMDR, which can help with the process of moving beyond the past.
Ask your therapist to explain which treatments they consider most effective and the training they’ve had in each. Some therapists have come by some of their knowledge through personal experience with trauma. While it’s not appropriate to delve into the personal background, you can ask if they’ve gone through the treatments (most do, as part of their training), what they gained from the experience, and why they think it may be right for you.
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*Due to my own life dealing with both sexual and emotional abuse, it’s detrimental to seek out an Experienced Trauma Therapist for all PTSD issues. When I first sought therapy and was new to all of this, choosing the wrong therapist was a disaster.