"Trauma may come from a single traumatic event, series of events, chronic abuse or domestic violence situations. Often these types of trauma may cause deep lasting effects. There are also the so called smaller "T's" or traumatic events that may be one time and brief but still cause some negative impact on functioning and one's belief and feelings about oneself. Some common issues like grief can be complex and more traumatic to an individual depending on the circumstances surrounding the loss, one's previous life experiences and coping factors. Approaches to treating trauma may include one or a number of therapeutic interventions such as EMDR, Trauma Art Narrative Therapy, "talk" psychotherapy, Play therapy with children, and Sand Tray therapy with teens and adults. An initial asessment and trauma history at the start of treatment will assist in determing what therapy or modalities individually or combined will be most effective for you. I have highlighted two specific therapies that have been effective in treating trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder."
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing)
EMDR uses bilateral stimulation techniques such as eye movements or tapping which stimulates both sides of the brain. When a traumatic event occurs, pieces of the trauma can remain stuck or frozen in the brain and nervous system. Bilateral stimulation helps "unlock stuck material" thereby allowing the mind and body to process the traumatic event. EMDR is often used with significant or big "T" traumas but equally can be beneficial in alleviating symptoms of general anxiety and phobias or working through little "T's" that can impact daily functioning, assist one in better managing stressors related to job, relationships, and overcoming road blocks to growth and development. Preparation includes developing resources in containment of difficult emotions and relaxation techniques.
Trauma Art Narrative Therapy (TANT)
Trauma Art Narrative Therapy is a structured cognitively oriented technique, which uses art as a modality for healing from trauma. Memories are often disconnected and fragmented in trauma. Trauma art pieces together these memories by guiding one to narrate the traumatic event through a series of sequential drawings. As one draws "snapshots" of the event, integration of the emotional and cognitive components of the brain takes place and promotes healing. Preparation for trauma work always includes establishing safe points before and after the trauma. TANT is effective with minor single incidents to major traumatic events that have had a significant impact. Artistic ability is not needed and more spontaneous drawing is most effective.