You can receive treatment for trauma through individual or group counseling formats. So, how do you know what’s right for you?
The field of trauma treatment has made great strides since 1980, when Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) first made its appearance in mental health clinicians’ reference book, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM III). Our understanding of neuroscience has grown dramatically since then, enabling us to identify and treat psychological trauma better than ever before. One thing that has become clear is there are a variety of types of trauma and effective treatments.
Trauma can be thought of as existing on a continuum. On one end, we have “Big T” traumas. Big T traumas include sexual assault, war, and other life-threatening traumas. On the other end of the spectrum, we have “little t” traumas. Little t traumas are more common everyday occurrences, such as teasing, divorce, and the loss of a loved one. PTSD results from Big T traumas. But, all traumatic events, from little t to Big T, can have profound and long-lasting effects on our health and happiness.
Our bodies and minds let us know that we are living in a trauma informed state. Do you suffer from tension or tightness in your body—or perhaps a stress-related problem, such as migraines, fibromyalgia, back pain, or other mysterious aches and pains? Do you feel run down much of the time? Are you easily set off by people and circumstances? Dealing with these chronic symptoms can interfere with our ability to lead the lives we desire, causing a person to feel anxious and alone, bitter, and hopeless that things can’t or won’t improve. Luckily, relief is possible with treatment.
There are many well researched trauma treatment methods available, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), medication, and exposure therapy, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Hypnotherapy, such as Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT), also shows promising results. You can receive treatment through individual or group counseling formats. So, how do you know what’s right for you?
Group counseling is a particularly good option for individuals experiencing mild to moderate PTSD and stress-related conditions who are looking for support and skill training at a lower cost than individual therapy. It has the unique benefit of helping you feel less alone as you interact and relate with others who have had similar experiences. Group counseling for trauma can include the treatment methods listed above in addition to the unique offerings of the counselor, sometimes called the facilitator. There are women’s groups, men’s groups, and mixed groups available. The best way to decide if a group is right for you is to attend a session.
It’s important to note that just as we feel the effects of trauma deeply, it takes time to heal. As with most things, there is no magic pill or overnight cure for the difficulties we face. But, healing from trauma is possible. And, it’s not nearly as hard as living with the effects of untreated trauma. Giving ourselves the support of individual or group counseling can give us the strength we need to find relief. Only you know what’s right for you. There is help out there. You can find health and happiness after trauma.