The way we will work together in treating trauma will be an integrative and collaborative process using somatic, affective, and cognitive approaches.
Everyone is unique and has different needs and there is no one perfect trauma therapy. There are, however, some core foundational principles of trauma treatment that apply to every client I work with.
The basic framework for trauma treatment and recovery is a three-phase process. This applies to those with PTSD, complex PTSD, and those without a formal diagnosis. The treatment timeline will vary based on the severity of symptoms, current functioning, prior experience in therapy, other supports available, etc. It is also possible to move in and out of the phases, as healing is not always linear.
Phase 1: Safety and Stabilization
During the first phase of treatment, we will establish safety. This is central and foundational to trauma treatment and recovery. Self-regulation is the focus, particularly for those with complex trauma, before attempting to process any traumatic content.
This phase consists of relaxation and self-regulation, grounding, containment, writing or journaling, psychoeducation about trauma, and the use of transitional objects.
Phase 2: Remembrance and Mourning
Often people want to skip to the processing phase of therapy, however, rushing into this without the foundational self-regulatory work of phase 1 will result in re-traumatization and de-stabilization.
Phase 3: Integration
The final phase of trauma therapy is integration. This is a natural progression and provides a place to establish and integrate the therapeutic gains that have taken place into daily life. Rather than focusing on the trauma, phase 3 work is often more future-oriented. The focus may be on independence, learning new skills, peer relationships, intimacy, career choices, physical health, etc.
A misconception about trauma counselling is that once the trauma is processed, you're “cured.” A healthier approach is to view trauma as something that can be healed.
The links below will take you to relevant blog posts I have written about trauma: