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What Is Trauma-Informed Therapy?

a woman sits with her therapist in trauma informed therapy

Trauma is a complex response to life-threatening situations that happen every day. Whether someone witnesses an accident or their life is under threat, the brain releases chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol to survive. Unfortunately, people across the United States struggle with the effects of unresolved trauma every day. Once thought only to affect those in military combat or frontline workers, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex trauma are increasingly common to people outside those careers. A trauma therapy program is the safest, most effective way to help someone treat, release, and resolve trauma.

If you or someone you love is struggling with the effects of trauma, you are not alone. The team at A Better State is here for you with trauma-informed addiction recovery and mental health treatments in New Hampshire. With a range of holistic treatment programs, A Better State is a leader in the New Hampshire area in partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs). Call us now at 781.412.1488 to learn more about our trauma-informed therapy programs.

What Is Trauma?

Trauma does not discriminate; it affects people of all genders, races, religions, and socioeconomic statuses daily. It is a physical, emotional, and psychological condition resulting from unprocessed traumatic events. When the body goes into fight, flight, or freeze during a life-threatening event, it releases chemicals to stay alive.

Sometimes, the body will process these chemicals as someone flees or fights for survival. However, if the chemicals aren’t processed, they are stored in the body. Current trauma studies reveal traumatic memories are stored in the body’s tissues, not just in the brain. This causes trauma to get “trapped” in tissues, waiting to release and process, and causing non-life-threatening events to trigger trauma responses, including:

  • Anger
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Fast heart rate
  • Panic attacks
  • Disorientation
  • Nightmares
  • Reactive behavior
  • Unexplained guilt
  • Shame
  • Feeling unsafe
  • Sound sensitivity
  • Light sensitivity
  • Paranoia
  • Shaking
  • Flashbacks
  • Worry
  • Depression
  • Self-isolation
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Self-medicating

Some trauma triggers directly relate to a person’s traumatic experience. This might include people, sounds, smells, or places. For others, disconnected things can trigger a traumatic response, like loud noises, bright lights, or intense stress. When a trauma response is activated, the nervous system becomes dysregulated. Once this happens, it’s hard to calm down the nervous system and return to a state of calm without professional help. Prolonged stress and continued exposure to traumatic events through work, recurrent disasters, or abuse can cause traumatic responses to worsen and lead to PTSD.

Trauma-Informed Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Untreated trauma can lead to substance use, worsening mood disorders, and an overall decline in health. Trauma therapy is a proactive way to reduce trauma triggers and heal unprocessed trauma. Today, there are many approaches to trauma therapy. Tools like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), mindfulness training, and trauma resolution therapy can help people process old trauma, increase stress tolerance, and reduce trauma triggers for overall wellness.

Like other types of therapy, trauma therapy helps clients meet targeted goals, understand behaviors, and release past harm for improved health. Everyone’s experience of trauma and how it manifests is unique. Two people can live through the same event; one may process the event into an unpleasant memory while the other suffers from PTSD. Because of this, trauma therapy is highly individualized and adaptable, helping people and their loved ones understand trauma and recover in safe, non-judgemental sessions.

Begin Trauma-Informed Therapy in New Hampshire with A Better State

Unfortunately, today’s lack of trauma awareness keeps many people from seeking treatment when they need it. If you or someone in your life is showing signs of PTSD or unresolved trauma, let our team help. Our trauma-informed PHP and IOP therapy programs use dual diagnosis for long-term recovery. Whether you’re looking for daytime or evening programs, call us at 781.412.1488 to learn how our trauma-informed therapy can help you and your loved ones thrive.