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  • Lyn Reed

What is trauma focused cognitive behavioural therapy?

Many of us will experience trauma at some point. And when we do we feel threatened, scared, overwhelmed and out of control.  Common traumas include accidents, being a victim of physical/sexual violence, being in a life-threatening situation.

Survivors of trauma may feel guilty, scared, angry or vulnerable. Most of us get over our experience without needing professional help.

However for a number of people the effects of trauma can last much longer.  Trauma tends to be harder to recover from if it is repeated or if it happens in childhood.

Trauma disorder can develop when we:

- re-experience symptoms of feelings from the trauma

- have a heightened sense of threat (through sight, sound, smell) and vigilance

- avoid reminders

- change our beliefs about ourselves, other people and our place in the world

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a collaboration between the client and the therapist and working together need to form a trusting, working relationship.

Therapy can help us manage the overwhelming feelings trauma can bring.  We need to process our memories .  We can do this by talking, writing or drawing.  We need to make sense of what has taken place.  

Trauma CBT is about making sense of what we thought at the time and how we see ourselves now

It is important to reclaim our lives.  Trauma can have the effect of stealing our lives.  Post trauma we often start avoiding things with which we may feel uncomfortable  This can shrink our world.

Effective therapy is about taking back the things we used to enjoy or build a new life that we can value.  

And there is good evidence that trauma focused works when we talk about the trauma.


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