In this guide, we will discuss different professional therapies for trauma recovery, so you can consider whether one of these services might be appropriate for you. There are many different kinds of psychological therapy for trauma, so this is not an exhaustive list, but rather a guide that you can use to look into different options.
Firstly, a note on the importance of finding a therapist with whom you can establish a good therapeutic relationship. For some people, there may be a worry that a therapist might ask us to do activities or remember things that are too painful. We’d like to remind anyone considering therapy that our therapist is meant to be an ally and not someone pushing us towards anything unsafe - or exposing us to things we aren’t ready for. There is a difference between the discomfort we feel when we challenge ourselves (which comes from a place of growth) and harm. We do not have to hurt ourselves to get well.
So, in seeking out a treatment provider, remember that you are the client. You get to decide when you find a therapist who works best to address your needs.
The therapeutic relationship should allow for communicating if we feel uncomfortable, or not ready to discuss our traumatic experiences. It’s important to remember that the therapeutic relationship, as with any other relationship, can sometimes not work; this does not reflect on us as the client - we haven't done anything wrong! It also doesn’t necessarily mean that the therapist isn’t a good one, or that we need to give up on therapy altogether. It might just mean that this wasn’t the right therapist for us and we need to look for someone we feel more comfortable with.
So, here are a few different kinds of therapy and therapeutic approaches for you to consider in your trauma recovery.
So, that was a very brief introduction to some of the psychological trauma therapies that some survivors have found useful for PTSD and recovering from trauma. These therapies were:
You can also speak to your therapist about PTSD support groups to share your thoughts with others who understand what you are going through, to share tips (like in Bloom!), to validate your experiences, and to remind you that you are never alone in your recovery.
There are also a number of complementary treatments to consider alongside psychological therapies, that can help with decreasing the effects of triggers, flashbacks, and panic, and with increasing relaxation.
Medication: a treatment that some survivors have found helpful is medication. Although there are no medications that have been specifically designed to treat PTSD, there are a variety of verified, established medications used to treat other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety that can be helpful in managing PTSD symptoms. If you are interested in using medication to manage PTSD, this is something you can discuss with your doctor.
Yin yoga or trauma-sensitive yoga: this type of yoga focuses on more gentle movements and less hands-on adjustment. There is a special focus on attending to any uncomfortable sensations in the body that might be associated with a traumatic memory.
Acupuncture: approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as an effective complementary treatment for PTSD, studies have shown acupuncture to be safe, and effective for many people in reducing stress.