It’s estimated that 61% of men and 51% of women will experience at least one traumatic event over the course of their lifetime. There are plenty of cases where people are able to heal and move past a traumatic experience, but there are also times when a traumatic experience can go on to cause a range of trauma-related mental health conditions.
If you are a trauma survivor still struggling to heal from your experience, trauma therapy could be an excellent resource.
To help you decide if working with a mental health professional is the right choice for you, here is everything you need to know about trauma treatment and trauma-informed online counseling services.
Does online therapy work for addressing trauma?
The short answer to this question is yes: Online therapy can be highly beneficial for addressing numerous types of trauma and related mental health conditions.
Online therapy sessions entail the same evidence-based approaches as in-person therapy, and there’s nothing about the format that makes these approaches any less effective. In fact, teletherapy can offer numerous benefits compared to in-person sessions, including comfort and convenience, flexibility, and access to a much broader network of mental health professionals.
Understanding trauma and its role in shaping life experiences
Experiencing a major trauma such as sexual assault, a natural disaster, or domestic violence can have lasting impacts on a person’s life. This is especially true for adverse childhood experiences and childhood trauma, but trauma events experienced as an adult can easily shape life experiences as well.
Living through a serious trauma can change the way a person views themselves, others, and the world at large. It can lead to negative thoughts and beliefs, paranoia, difficulty managing emotions, and a range of other trauma symptoms that reduce well-being and quality of life.
Trauma can also make a person more prone to developing numerous mental health disorders. For example, studies show that people who experience major trauma are much more likely to develop substance abuse issues, and about 1 in 3 people who experience severe trauma will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The role of a therapist in processing and healing from trauma
Therapists who specialize in trauma are clinicians who specialize in helping process traumatic events and heal from any mental health issues those events might have created. The mental health services provided by therapists help trauma survivors change the way they view their experiences and reduce the negative impact those experiences still have on their lives.
Therapists who specialize in trauma will typically employ a variety of therapeutic techniques to assist trauma survivors. Psychiatrists who specialize in treating trauma, meanwhile, will often use many of the same techniques in addition to prescribing medication and overseeing medication management.
Therapeutic approaches for trauma
There are several different modalities that a therapist might use to treat the effects of trauma that are effective through teletherapy, including:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT focuses on helping trauma survivors identify, challenge, and reframe negative beliefs and thought patterns related to their experiences. It’s built around the idea of cognitive restructuring, or changing the way a person thinks.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR therapy is a common PTSD treatment and is designed to reduce the negative emotional reaction that trauma survivors have when exposed to memories or other triggers of their trauma.
This therapeutic method involves exposing the client to their triggers in a comfortable environment, then using bilateral stimulation to reduce the vividness and intensity of traumatic memories.
- Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): TF-CBT employs all of the same approaches and techniques as CBT, but with an emphasis on treating trauma. This therapeutic approach involves cognitive restructuring along with trauma-related education, narrative therapy, and relaxation techniques.
- Exposure therapy: Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing clients to their trauma triggers in a safe and comfortable environment. The goal of this treatment is to acclimate clients to their triggers so that they no longer cause an intense emotional response.
- Internal family systems (IFS): IFS is a therapeutic approach that is based on the idea that every person’s mind is made of individual “parts” or “subpersonalities.” The goal of this treatment is to help trauma survivors understand the different parts of their minds, identify how their trauma has impacted those parts, and develop a more harmonious relationship between them.
How do I find a therapist for trauma?
The most convenient and effective way to find a therapist is to match with one using a telehealth platform such as SonderMind. At SonderMind, we use a personalized matching process to match you with a therapist who is carefully chosen to meet your unique needs and preferences.
Choosing the right therapist matters a lot when it comes to the benefits you can expect from therapy. Using a platform such as SonderMind to find a therapist ensures you’re working with a therapist who’s a good fit for you, rather than choosing one at random and hoping for the best.
How does trauma therapy work?
Everyone who receives trauma therapy is provided with a personalized treatment plan. However, the process typically follows the same basic steps:
1. Getting matched with the right therapist
The first step in trauma therapy is finding the right therapist. We just discussed the importance of meeting with a therapist whose approach, expertise, and personality are a good fit for you, and it’s essential not to underestimate just how key this is to making therapy beneficial.
SonderMind’s matching process asks you questions about yourself to learn more about your personality, therapeutic preferences, and individual needs. Then, we match you with one or several therapists with the experience, personality, and approach that aligns with what you need.
2. Conducting an initial assessment
During your first appointment, a therapist who specializes in trauma will likely perform an initial assessment to learn more about you and determine the best way to help you. This usually involves a comprehensive discussion about your personal history, symptoms, trauma experiences, and your hopes or goals for therapy.
3. Determining a therapeutic approach
CBT, EMDR, TF-CBT, exposure therapy, and IFS are all therapeutic approaches commonly used to help people heal from trauma, and there are plenty of other methods that therapists who specialize in trauma use as well.
In many cases, a therapist may use a combination of therapeutic approaches over the course of numerous therapy sessions. Determining which of these therapeutic approaches(s) are most likely to help you reach your mental health goals will be an important step in the therapy process.
4. Regular sessions
Therapy sessions for treating trauma are typically scheduled on a regular basis, with weekly sessions being one of the most common frequencies. In most cases, a therapy session will last about 50 minutes to an hour.
During your one-on-one sessions with a therapist who specializes in trauma, you can expect to have conversations about your experiences, explore your feelings and reactions, learn coping strategies, and engage in other activities designed to help you understand and process your trauma.
Depending on the therapeutic approach you and your therapist decide to pursue, you may be given a few tasks to complete in between therapy sessions. This can include tasks such as journaling assignments, mindfulness exercises, and self-care activities.
The goal of these at-home exercises is to help assist the healing process and ensure that you are working toward your mental health goals outside of therapy sessions.
6. Progress review
After a few sessions, your therapist may conduct a progress review. The point of this review is to determine whether or not the treatment plan is working and how you’re progressing toward your goals. If needed, changes may be made to your treatment plan following a progress review based on what the review uncovers.
Benefits of meeting with a therapist online
Teletherapy can provide a few noteworthy benefits compared to in-person therapy sessions. Here are three of the biggest advantages that meeting with a therapist online can offer:
Wider choice of therapists
If you want to see an in-person therapist, you are going to be limited to only the therapists who are located within your area. Teletherapy gives you access to a much broader network of therapists and makes it much easier to find a therapist who is a good match for you.
Accessibility and convenience
Online therapy allows you to participate in therapy sessions from the comfort and convenience of your own home (or anywhere else that you prefer, for that matter). It eliminates the need to travel to a therapist’s office and lets you undergo therapy in a familiar and comfortable space.
Teletherapy tends to offer a lot more flexibility than in-person therapy. Online therapy sessions can usually be scheduled quicker and without as much notice as in-person sessions require. Therapy platforms like SonderMind also offer the flexibility of communicating with your therapist over the phone, text/instant messaging, or video calls.
Get matched with the therapist best for your needs with SonderMind
Traumatic experiences may only last a few minutes, but they can often have lifelong impacts. If you want to begin healing from your trauma and improving your quality of life, working with a therapist who specializes in trauma is one of the best choices you can make.
At SonderMind, we provide clients with access to a broad network of licensed therapists who specialize in trauma. To match with a therapist who is the perfect fit for you, try out SonderMind today!