Navigating Trauma: Understanding Common Therapy Approaches to Help You Heal

The fact of the matter is, most people will go through some sort of trauma during their lifetime. Trauma is defined as exposure to an incident or series of events that are emotionally disturbing or life-threatening, and that have adverse effects on an individual’s mental, physical, social, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being. Trauma results from accidents, abuse, natural disasters, mass community violence, or war, and the effects of trauma can be long-lasting and deeply challenging to overcome. If you are a trauma survivor, you may be struggling to function as you once did in your daily life. However, there is hope. 

Trauma therapy has come a long way, and there are a number of evidence-based treatment approaches to help individuals heal from trauma and regain control of their lives. 

At Simi Psychological Group, we are experienced in using these therapy approaches to address trauma and promote healing and recovery. If you’re exploring trauma therapy near Thousand Oaks, here are some of the most common therapy approaches to consider.

  1. Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a widely used and popular approach for treating trauma, depression, and anxiety. CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts and behaviors are connected. It focuses on identifying and modifying negative thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that contribute to distressing emotions and unhealthy or self-defeating coping strategies. 

A therapist using CBT will help you address your trauma by focusing on how your thoughts and beliefs related to the trauma continue to create or prolong emotional distress.

CBT is effective not only with adults but is a well-established approach in therapy for teens as well. Our experienced and compassionate trauma therapists at Simi Psychological Group in Thousand Oaks will work with you, your teen, family, or loved one to identify the sticky points being caused by the trauma that was experienced, helping to develop healthier coping skills, challenge distorted thinking patterns, and process traumatic memories in a safe and controlled manner.  

A woman sitting on the floor with her hands on her face.
  1. Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is a specialized form of CBT designed specifically for children and adolescents who have experienced trauma. 

This approach combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with trauma-sensitive interventions. It aims to help young individuals process their traumatic experiences, manage distressing emotions, and develop healthy coping skills. 

TF-CBT often involves collaborating with family members and caretakers in the therapeutic process to provide a supportive and nurturing environment for the child’s recovery.

If you are in need of therapy for teens, our trauma therapists in Thousand Oaks offer trauma treatment that will meet your teen where they are and help support them on their healing journey.

A black and white photo of a woman's face.
  1. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

If you’ve never heard of EMDR, you might imagine something out of a science fiction movie, but it’s actually an effective, evidenced-based treatment approach to trauma. 

EMDR works through bilateral stimulation–that is, alternating between the left and right sides of our body–using eye movement, audio sounds, or hand-held pulsing devices. 

It targets specific distressing events or memories and, through the process of bilateral stimulation, works to decrease the level of emotional and psychological distress associated with that traumatic event, ultimately leading to a reduction in symptoms. 

EMDR is a safe and proven technique to reduce the symptoms of trauma interfering with your life and helping to restore your emotional well-being.

  1. Internal Family Systems

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a form of talk therapy that focuses on individual parts that make up one’s core self. Each part of the self takes on a specific role or function, and some of those parts exist to hold, protect against, or manage the pain of traumatic events. The goal of IFS is to help an individual understand the role of their various parts and how those parts connect to the core self. An IFS therapist will help you understand how the various parts of your “self” are responding to your trauma, and in doing so, will help reduce symptoms of PTSD.

You may be looking for “therapy for trauma near me” in Simi Valley. At Simi Psychological Group, we specialize in family systems and understand how to best support you and your loved ones while you explore aspects of family and individual dynamics.

  1. DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy)

DBT is an offshoot of cognitive behavioral therapy and is a more skills-based approach to managing emotions and symptoms. As opposed to traditional talk therapy (which involves processing thoughts and feelings aloud), DBT teaches clients skills such as mindfulness, self-soothing, problem-solving, boundary setting, and effective communication in order to manage emotions, symptoms, and emotional distress. DBT skills focus on emotional regulation. This approach can be beneficial for achieving safety and stabilization when addressing trauma-related symptoms in treatment.

A man sitting on a couch talking to a man in a military uniform.
  1. Somatic therapies

There is a well-established connection between the mind and the body. Somatic symptoms are those emotional experiences expressed physically, such as an anxious stomach or a tension headache. 

Trauma and traumatic experiences are also stored within the body, which takes a toll on overall health. 

Somatic therapy focuses on how traumatic memories held in the body can physically impact the body. Sometimes trauma symptoms resurface suddenly, unexpectedly, if you get triggered by something that reminds you of the trauma. These experiences can make you feel like you’ve been knocked off your feet.

Somatic therapy techniques are those that focus on ways in which trauma is stored in the body and how to release it. The goal is to “release” pent-up trauma to relieve mental health symptoms and chronic pain, using methods such as developing body awareness and grounding techniques, bringing you back to the here and now. Other specific techniques used may involve breathing exercises, meditation, dance, and other forms of body movement.

Trauma therapy is a complex and multifaceted process, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each person’s experience of trauma is unique, and therapy should be tailored to their specific needs. 

At Simi Psychological Group, our trauma therapists in Thousand Oaks meet you where you are and work with you to develop a plan that meets your specific therapy needs. By incorporating the use of evidence-based treatment such as those outlined above, we will help you navigate the healing process and reclaim the life you deserve.

In addition to trauma therapy, Simi Psychological Group offers a variety of services to meet the needs of you and your family, including treatment for depression, anxiety, online therapy, and group therapy. Contact us today for a free consultation at (805) 842-1994.