What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger—but that’s not all. According to a range of studies, traumatic events have the power to rewire the brain. Trauma is the effect of any number of distressing events such as childhood abuse or severe neglect, bullying, loss of a caregiver or sibling or spouse, parental or personal marital divorce, workplace abuse, job/career loss, bankruptcy, military duty, first responder duties, and natural disasters. Each one of these individually or any combination of them can adversely affect a person’s life. The First Step Center offers trauma therapy to our client’s residents to help them safely discover, interpret, and reprocess traumatic events.

Defining Trauma

Psychological trauma refers to a type of brain damage that has occurred due to one or more severely distressing events. Trauma is often the result of experiencing an overwhelming amount of stress exceeding one’s ability to cope or integrate the emotions associated with the experience.

A traumatic event involves an experience of an event or of repeating events that have been overwhelming by for a period of weeks, years, or even decades. Over time an individual struggles to cope with the immediate and enduring circumstances failing to adequately integrate the emotional tensions. Eventually, this leads to serious, long-term negative consequences in adult life and with relationships.

man spending time with his son trauma therapy program first step center

Each individual will have different experiences that creates trauma. In some situations, an individual may not even know that an event adversely affected them until they enter a trauma therapy program. Trauma therapy can help people understand their trauma and how those events have affected their life, relationships, and addiction.

Examples of trauma include:

  • Growing up in an abusive or neglectful home
  • War
  • Natural disasters
  • Car accidents
  • Death of loved ones
  • Early childhood neglect or abuse
  • Employment loss or abuse

Trauma and Addiction

The effects of trauma can cause mental health and emotional problems that increase vulnerability to using substances as a coping mechanism. Even though substance abuse stands as an unhealthy way to cope with stress, people will use what is conveniently available or what they find works to alleviate their uncomfortable and troublesome tension.

Unfortunately, substance abuse manifests immediate effects that can numb or even mask the negative symptoms of trauma, which include:

  • Anxiety or difficulty relaxing
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Difficulty trusting others or managing relationships
  • Fear of commitment
  • Flashbacks and nightmares
  • Depression
  • Severe and irrational mood swings
  • Emotional outbursts

Individuals who rely on drugs or alcohol to numb anxiety or mask trauma-related stress can quickly develop a dependence and addiction to their substance of choice. Anyone who has developed a dependency on drugs or alcohol needs a combination of an addiction treatment program and a trauma therapy program in order to follow the best route toward healing.

What to Expect in Trauma Therapy Program at First Step Center

The goal of trauma therapy is to help identify the complex root of trauma and help develop healthy coping strategies. A well-designed trauma therapy program will assist individuals in understanding the event of trauma and help to manage severe emotional and physical discomforts. To accomplish these therapeutic goals, there are several elements of treatment commonly used with excellent success. Trauma therapy techniques often include diverse approaches to interventions such as conversations, education, writing, drawing, music, movement, sensory experientials, art, and sport.

Trauma therapists may also use eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR), psychodrama, somatic experience, and narrative exposition to help in healing.

At First Step Center, we follow a few guiding steps principles to help clients begin addressing their trauma. We believe that every client deserves to have:

  • Humanity acknowledged
  • Physical being cared for
  • Psychological well-being appreciated
  • Emotional life nurtured
  • Social relationships based on kindness
  • Life valued

Following these compassionate guidelines, therapists use a variety of innovative techniques to help each individual reclaim their self-confidence and personal security hijacked by trauma. Additionally, clients will learn practical coping strategies to manage emotional experiences throughout life.

If you want to learn more about mental health programs and addiction therapy services, then it’s time to reach out. Take the first step in recovering from trauma by contacting First Step Center today at 866.832.6398.