Trauma knows no age, demographic, and gender. Survivors often feel drained, helpless, anxious and numb. Some survivors may even have recurring nightmares and visual imagery of the event. In the case of war veterans, they may become startled upon hearing a honking vehicle in the street. Given that, it’s not easy for survivors to cope with the effects from the trauma. Recovering from a traumatic event takes time and effort. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to seek support as soon as possible.
What’s Trauma Counseling?
Trauma is an emotional response after an upsetting or tragic event. It originates from the following:
- Loss of a loved one
- Sexual assault, violence, and abuse
- Child/domestic abuse
- Community trauma (Example: School shootings)
- Natural disasters
- Terrorism and other combat-related trauma
- An accumulation of small events (criticism, betrayal, etc.)
Its effects are:
- Guilt, anger, or shame
- Social isolation
- Anxiety and panic attacks
The aftermath of trauma poses devastating impacts on one’s mental health. Trauma counseling aids survivors in overcoming their trauma.
Every trauma survivor is different. Therefore, counseling should be tailored to meet their individual and unique needs.
What are Some of the Objective in Trauma Counseling?
It aims to:
- Establish a safe environment.
- Acknowledge the past.
- Address the symptoms of trauma.
- Gain control over one’s life.
- Improve mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
What do Trauma Counselors do?
Coping with trauma is complex. However, there are many evidenced based and best practice methods. Generally, counselors use the following psychotherapy modalities:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) — It helps survivors to be aware of their feelings, thoughts and behaviors, as well as it fosters a thriving way of coping.
- Exposure Therapy— The survivor faces and reduces his/her fears in a safe environment with a trained professional to assist every step of the way.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) — The survivor narrates the trauma as he/she focuses on an external stimulus (Example: eye movement). It helps survivors alleviate trauma and its symptoms.
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy—The trauma’s underpinnings and symptoms are narrated. There may be some identifying of defense mechanisms slowly arrive at the trauma’s origins.
There are also many other methods not identified here, but that can be talked about. Remember, as we are all unique, a suitable treatment plan is based on the survivors personality, experiences, and needs. As recovering from a trauma is not easy, sometimes it is beneficial to join support groups to connect with other survivors. Joining a support group can be something you talk about with your provider, as support groups are not a good fit for everybody.
What are the Skills of a Professional Trauma Counselor?
While each counselor possesses a unique set of talents, education, and experiences, there are some basic skills that you should expect.
- Showing Compassion—Counselors should be compassionate and empathetic. They should never exhibit a judgmental and hostile attitude. Quality counselors respect your personal boundaries by not coaxing survivors to talk or make them do uncomfortable tasks.
- Being Patient and Detail Oriented— Counselors listen attentively. They take careful note of their client’s experience and behavior to create an appropriate treatment plan. Their ability to pay close attention to details enables them to address the root cause of the trauma.
- Establishing a Safe Environment— Opening up is not a walk in the park. Therefore, it is important that counselors ensure a supportive, and trusting relationship during and after treatment.
- Fostering Collaboration—Counselors ask their clients on their expectations and goals.
Feel free to call for a quick consultation about your situation.