Trauma Counseling

Trauma Counseling


Trauma Therapy is necessary when psychological issue occurs within a person who has dealt with an intense or life threatening situation. The conflict may have inflicted fear and loss of control within the client and caused an overwhelming fight or flight emotional response in other situations. Trauma has the potential to destroy an individual in relationships, identity and how they trust others. The shock of it can change the function of the nervous system and the brain which reduces the amount of flexibility that they can hold during situational responses. Those who survive the trauma may recall the event but have no emotions associated with them. From time to time they may relieve the conflict yet feel numb which in turn has created a chronic response in the nervous system that can result in damaging relationships and decision making. Trauma Therapy focuses on healing the client and their nervous system by helping them learn how to respond to current events in a manner that is not conditional.

Goals of Trauma Therapy

The goal of Trauma Therapy is to help the client get rid of this automatic response as a result of the trauma they've experienced throughout their lives. When the patient has the capacity to speak about the event without dealing with reoccurring emotions and images they have taken a step forward in overcoming the issue. After treatment's been completed the client should have gained awareness toward the response, reversed it and then learned how to behave in a manner that is not the aftermath of trauma. By reversing the response the patient will be able to move forward and respond to situations in a neutral manner instead of "fighting or flying." By building a trusted relationship with the therapist they will gain a new identity and response to trust in relationships.

When is Trauma Therapy Used?

Trauma Therapy is used when a patient has gone through a life altering event which has had a long lasting effect on the way that they see life, purpose and relationships. They may possess less of an emotional response to things that happen to them because they've become numb as a result of the trauma. These traumatic experiences will range. Some of them may have happened as a child or doing adult years. It could be a condition that has built up over time because of the relationships or abuse present. This is one of the most common forms of psychotherapy. It is often that people are unaware of the automatic responses that they have toward situations because they've repressed the event.

How Trauma Therapy Works

Therapy for trauma often consists of managing the symptoms and working through the patient's traumatic experience. The techniques that are used will vary but the therapist is going to look at the role of the experience and current context of the patient's life. When the counselor is finding meaning in the responses it may take multiple sessions until the client can speak about the emotions associated with what has happened. The nature of this stress can distort a patient's memory in more than one way which is why special methods are used to discover the memories that may pertain to abuse or violence.

After the client can speak about the event the therapist will teach them how to manage symptoms and create new ways of coping with them. The clients will learn how to build trust again within relationships so that they can see the world neutrally with a higher level of tolerance toward people and emotional responses. After the client learns the origin of the problem they will adopt strategies that assist them in changing their current behavior. There are various ways to approach Trauma Therapy and the most effective therapists know how to do so through combination treatments. The length of the treatment will vary and it will depend on the client's ability to use coping strategies.

These sessions are conducted one-on-one, in family therapy and couple's therapy. The majority of counselors would categorize their work as eclectic because they will use various methods when approaching the needs of the patient. The relationship between the counselor and client is just as important as the methods that are being implemented. This relationship is a way to create interpersonal trust which is one of the main objectives during Trauma Therapy.

Criticism of Trauma Therapy

There are some combination treatments that consist of body psychotherapy. Critics believe that during this treatment a practitioner should not partake in such a method being that it is an extremely sensitive exposure and relationship. There is also debate towards the role of unscientific methods that counselors use in specific combination treatments.


Talking vs. processing. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Trauma and emdr. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Help Us Improve This Article

Did you find an inaccuracy? We work hard to provide accurate and scientifically reliable information. If you have found an error of any kind, please let us know by sending an email to, please reference the article title and the issue you found.

Share Therapedia With Others