Trauma Therapy

IPNB PSYCHOTHERAPY OF AUSTIN | AUSTIN, TX

What is Trauma Therapy?

Trauma therapy is a form of therapy that can help you deal with the emotional response caused by a traumatic event. This form of therapy can help you if you are unable to cope with the trauma you experienced, or if it’s affecting your ability to function.

 

No matter how you approach it, Trauma Therapy can cause some distress. ​We work very hard to titrate trauma work, so that it feels as safe and comfortable as possible. 

 

Memory reconsolidation is one of the focuses of all of our trauma treatments. When an emotional learning occurs (something big happened, it had an emotional marker, your brain remembered it and held onto a larger meaning), it is hard to access. Emotional memories cause behaviors and feelings that can be unwanted today. 

 

Ready for an example? Jane has trouble in intimate relationships. She worries that if she says the wrong thing, she’ll be judged. This causes her to not say everything she’s thinking and feeling to her partner, and keeps her further away from her partner than she wants to be. She gets this intellectually, but can’t seem to stop doing it. Recognizing the issue, and even the reason for the issue hasn’t worked.

When her therapist helps Jane do some neural network tracking, Jane remembers experiences with her mom where sometimes her mom was warm and friendly, and sometimes her mom would roll her eyes and say under her breath, “That’s ridiculous.” Jane has no idea that the memories from her mom going back and forth between warmth and judgement have anything to do with her current dilemma. Jane and her therapist work together following sensations, emotions, thoughts, and images. They discover that Jane is accidentally living in memory, expecting judgment if she says the wrong thing, causing her to become more quiet, like she did with her mother. Trauma work can help with this.

 

Memory reconsolidation can be used to unlearn that expectation of judgement, so that Jane can feel more free to speak and to be close. Trauma recovery work is meant for more than just people who experience severe PTSD.​

What is PTSD?

PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. During this kind of event, you may not have any control over what's happening, and you may feel very afraid. Anyone who has gone through something like this can develop PTSD. 

It's normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event (also called "trauma"). At first, it may be hard to do daily activities you are used to doing, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later, or they may come and go over time. If it's been longer than a few months and thoughts and feelings from the trauma are upsetting you or causing problems in your life, you may have PTSD. (www.ptsd.va.gov)

If you do have PTSD, we have therapists trained in many methods that will address the symptoms and the underlying causes of your trauma. Memories, dreams, uncomfortable emotional feelings, and sometimes uncomfortable physical sensations will accompany trauma work. Your IPNB Austin therapist will work with you to find the best trauma techniques for your issue. They can help you investigate whether or not something traumatic happened to cause your current issues, and can recommend treatment strategies that are as gentle as possible.

Which Trauma Therapy is right for you?

There are many types of therapies out there. We specialize in experiential and depth psychotherapies because they work with the brain to produce long term change. As far as which therapeutic modality may be right for you, that kind of depends on what you’re dealing with. If you’ve heard of one of our therapies, or are interested in learning more about therapy, please feel free to explore the website as we describe many different modalities here.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

The EMDR process works with safety and bilateral stimulation to allow the brain to reprocess the trauma and reorient meanings that were created at the time of the trauma that may be currently causing you difficulties in other areas of your life.

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Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing is a therapy for the resolution of trauma. SE helps to resolve trauma through the mind body connection. It is one of the most gentle and safe trauma healing modalities around today.  

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Internal Family Systems

Internal Family Systems is a powerfully transformative, evidence-based model of psychotherapy. Our inner parts contain valuable qualities and our core Self knows how to heal, allowing us to become integrated and whole. In IFS, all parts are welcome.

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Sand Tray Therapy 

The right brain speaks in imagery, metaphor, relationship, and emotion. Sand Tray is a therapeutic technique that can help you access your right brain's way of seeing the world.

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Emotional Transformation Therapy 

Emotional Transformation Therapy utilizes color and light to help stimulate the occipital lobe's connection with a variety of parts of the brain. An Emotional Transformation Therapy session may look like you talking about an issue while looking at a variety of different colors. There are a variety of tools utilized in ETT. 

Image by Joyce McCown

If you are wondering what kind of therapy may be right for you, or don’t even know where to start, but think you might be interested, you should schedule a consultation—there’s no obligation on your part.