Unlocking Healing: Comprehensive Guide to Trauma Therapy

Trauma is a powerful force that shapes the lives of countless individuals, and the aftermath is overwhelming. If you find yourself awake at night, desperately searching for “therapy for trauma near me in Simi Valley,” or “trauma therapist near me in Simi Valley,” then this comprehensive guide is for you.

While trauma is often an unavoidable part of life, understanding it is essential for both individuals who have experienced it and those who seek to support them. You can find freedom from trauma symptoms, and healing is possible through trauma therapy.

In this guide, our Simi Psychological Group trauma therapy experts explore the intricate world of trauma and trauma-based therapy. Our goal is to ease the overwhelm and help you walk away with a better understanding of what trauma is, its effects, and of course, the pathways available to promote healing and recovery through trauma therapy.

What is Trauma Therapy?

Trauma therapy is a specialized form of mental health therapy that addresses the traumatic experiences of an individual. Trauma therapy offers individuals a safe place to heal the emotional, psychological, and often physical impact of trauma.

Person taking notes as another person sits on the couch opposite

But how do you know if you need trauma therapy? Should you be looking up “counseling near me” or “trauma counseling near me”? What’s the difference? Let’s continue to explore  just that.

What is Trauma?

Trauma itself is the psychological and emotional response to an extremely distressing event or series of events that push someone beyond their ability to cope effectively. It can leave lasting emotional scars and significantly impact one’s life.

The word “trauma” can be scary and is often misunderstood. The truth is, that most people at some point in their lives have or will experience a traumatic event or go through a traumatic period.

While some traumatic experiences are more easily identified, such as war, violence, or sexual assault, trauma is not confined to the battlefields or a singular tragic event. Trauma can result from a myriad of circumstances, including childhood experiences, accidents, loss, natural disasters, eating disorders, or ongoing emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse. Its impact is not limited to the moment it occurs; rather, it ripples through time, affecting the emotional, psychological, and even physical well-being of those who’ve experienced it.

Big-T versus little-t trauma– What’s the difference?

Therapists often refer to “big-T trauma” and “little-t trauma” to distinguish between events that most people readily identify and understand as traumatic, and other forms of trauma that may not be as easily identified, or that people might not specifically understand as trauma.

Big-T trauma usually includes life-threatening events or experiences that cause acute distress. Examples of Big-T trauma include:

  • -Experiencing or witnessing violence
  • -Sexual assault or abuse
  • -Loss of a parent, child, or loved one
  • -Living through a natural disaster
  • -Personal tragedy involving significant loss
  • -Life-threatening events
  • -Childhood abuse

These types of events clearly result in overwhelming emotional and psychological distress and tend to be experiences people associate with PTSD. Big-T trauma typically (but not always) involves singular, extraordinary events.

Little-t trauma often involves those personal experiences that are not necessarily life threatening, but cause significant distress that exceeds one’s ability to cope. Little-t trauma also includes ongoing or chronically stressful events or situations. Examples of little-t trauma include:

  • -Divorce
  • -Abusive relationships
  • -Chronic illness or the chronic illness of a loved one
  • -Bullying or harassment
  • -Ongoing financial concerns
  • -Non-life-threatening injuries
Woman with dark brown hair and green sweater sat next to white wall

When someone has experienced little-t trauma, they may be more likely to judge themselves for “not being able to cope” or not being able to “get over it” because, while obviously painful and psychologically distressing, little-t traumas are not what people associate with the word “trauma.”

It’s very important to understand that, while different in some respects, little-t trauma is no less damaging, and in many ways includes experiences that cause more long-term psychological distress due to their chronic nature. Little-t traumas need to be taken as seriously as big-t traumas.

How does trauma affect you?

Trauma in all forms can have a profound and lasting impact on an individual’s physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. It can impact relationships, as well as one’s ability to work, parent, or complete basic and mundane daily tasks.

While the effects of trauma can vary widely from person to person, here are some common ways trauma may affect you:

Grey close up image of an eye and leaves

1.     Emotional Impact

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Trauma can lead to the development of PTSD, which is characterized by symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and emotional numbing.
  • Anxiety and Depression: Trauma can increase the risk of developing anxiety and depressive disorders.
  • Emotional Dysregulation: Trauma survivors may have difficulty regulating their emotions, leading to mood swings, anger, and irritability.
  • Guilt and Shame: Survivors may feel guilt or shame, even if they were not responsible for the traumatic event.

2.     Physical Impact

  • Chronic Pain and Health Problems: Trauma can contribute to physical health issues, including chronic pain, gastrointestinal problems, and a weakened immune system.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Many trauma survivors experience sleep disturbances, including insomnia and nightmares.

3.     Cognitive Impact

  • Difficulty Concentrating: Trauma can impair cognitive functioning, making it challenging to concentrate, remember details, or make decisions.
  • Hypervigilance: Some individuals become hyperalert, constantly scanning for potential threats or dangers.

4.     Relationship Impact

  • Trust Issues: Trauma can lead to difficulties in forming and maintaining trusting relationships.
  • Isolation: Some individuals may withdraw from social connections, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

5.     Behavioral Impact

  • Self-Harming Behaviors: Trauma can lead to self-destructive behaviors, such as self-harm or substance abuse, as individuals attempt to cope with emotional pain.
  • Avoidance: Some individuals may avoid situations, places, or people that remind them of the traumatic event.

6.      Identity and Self-Esteem

  • Trauma can have a profound impact on one’s self-identity and self-esteem, leading to negative self-perception and a loss of a sense of self.

7.     Flashbacks and Intrusive Thoughts

  • Trauma survivors may experience distressing flashbacks or intrusive thoughts related to the traumatic event.

8.     Spiritual and Existential Impact

  • Some individuals may grapple with profound questions about the meaning of life, the existence of evil, or the fairness of the world in the aftermath of trauma.

It’s important to note that not all individuals who experience trauma will develop these symptoms, and many people demonstrate remarkable resilience in the face of adversity. For specific tips on how to manage symptoms of trauma, visit our blog, Healthy Healing: 7 Tips for Trauma Survivors.

Whether you are experiencing debilitating symptoms of distress or not, getting support after a traumatic experience is the best way to help you cope with and recover from the short-term and long-term impact of such an event.

Trauma work, in particular, is often a crucial step towards healing and recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of trauma, our trauma therapists at Simi Psychological Group understand your pain and can help build a robust treatment plan to get you started on your healing journey through trauma therapy in Moorpark.

Person in yellow sweater typing on grey laptop

What are the Key Aspects of Trauma Therapy?

Trauma therapy, also known as trauma-informed therapy, trauma-focused therapy, or trauma-based therapy, is a specialized form of mental health treatment designed to help individuals who have experienced trauma.

Trauma therapy is rooted in the understanding that traumatic experiences can have profound and lasting impact on a person’s emotional, psychological, and physical well-being, and aims to address the symptoms associated with trauma.  Specifically, trauma therapy can help with symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

If you or a loved one has experienced trauma, trauma therapy can provide a safe and supportive environment in which to process those traumatic experiences, develop coping strategies, and work toward healing and recovery. We offertrauma based therapy near me in Simi Valley and the surrounding areas to those looking for a solution. We offer online and in-person services.

Here are some of the key aspects of trauma therapy:

People holding hands and writing on paper

➢    Safety and Trust

  • Trauma therapy prioritizes creating a safe and supportive environment in which individuals can feel comfortable discussing their traumatic experiences. Trust is crucial for the therapeutic relationship. It is crucial to us that you feel safe.                                                                                  

➢    Empowerment

  • A central goal of trauma therapy Thousand Oaks is to empower individuals to regain control over their lives and emotions. This involves helping clients develop coping strategies, build resilience, and make choices that support their healing.                                                                                                                                           

➢    Trauma-Informed Approach

  • Trauma therapists are trained to understand the effects of trauma and its potential triggers. They approach therapy with a trauma-informed perspective, meaning they are sensitive to how trauma can influence behavior and emotional responses.                                                                                                                          

➢    Processing Traumatic Memories

  • Trauma therapy often involves processing traumatic memories and emotions related to the trauma. This may be done through various therapeutic techniques and modalities, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and exposure therapy.                                            

➢    Emotional Regulation

  • Trauma therapy helps individuals develop skills to manage intense emotions and the distress that can arise from traumatic experiences. This can include relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and emotional regulation strategies.                         

➢    Coping Strategies

  • Therapists assist clients in developing healthy coping mechanisms to deal with trauma-related symptoms, such as flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression.                                                                                                   
Woman standing near water with hands together

➢    Integration and Healing

  • The ultimate goal of trauma therapy is to facilitate the integration of the traumatic experience into an individual’s life story in a way that promotes healing, growth, and resilience.                                                                                                                             

➢    Customized Approaches

  • Trauma therapy can take different forms depending on the type of trauma and the individual’s needs. For example, a therapist might use exposure therapy for someone who experienced a specific trauma, while other modalities might be more appropriate for complex or long-term traumas.                                                             

➢    Support for Co-occurring Issues

  • Trauma therapy often addresses co-occurring issues, such as substance abuse, self-harm, and relationship problems, which can be connected to trauma.

While each individual’s healing journey is unique, it’s important to remember you’re not alone. Trauma therapy can help you work through and heal from the traumatic experiences that may be holding you back.  When you’re ready, finding the right kind of support is essential. Therapy for Trauma Moorpark offers a safe place to discuss different options for your healing journey.

Types of trauma therapy

While there are distinct advantages to having available information at our fingertips (literally), such convenience can easily become overwhelming. If you’ve found your head spinning after searching “therapy for trauma Thousand Oaks,” you’re probably not alone. Such a search is likely to yield a variety of treatment options which only add to the confusion. But, having a variety of treatment options also means finding an approach that is right for you.

Types of trauma therapy and the various approaches to trauma therapy include:

➢    Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

  • CBT helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with trauma. It can be effective in managing symptoms of PTSD and anxiety.                                                                                                                   

➢    Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

  • EMDR is a therapy approach that involves guided eye movements to help individuals process traumatic memories and reduce their emotional intensity.                

➢    Exposure Therapy

  • Exposure therapy gradually exposes individuals to the situations or stimuli that trigger their trauma-related distress, allowing them to confront and process their fears.                                                                                           

➢    Narrative Therapy  

  • This approach encourages individuals to tell their trauma stories in a way that promotes understanding, perspective, and resilience

➢    Somatic Therapy    

  • Somatic therapies focus on the connection between the body and mind and aim to release physical tension and stress related to trauma.                                                           

➢    Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

  • DBT helps individuals regulate their emotions and improve interpersonal relationships, which can be particularly helpful for those with a history of trauma.                                                        
Group of women sat in a circle and talking in a white room

➢    Group Therapy

  • After experiencing trauma, it’s common to feel like no one else could possibly understand. Group therapy is a wonderful option, either by itself or in addition to individual therapy, to connect with and learn from others who have gone through similar traumas.

The choice of therapy depends on your specific needs. Trauma therapy is often a long-term process, as healing from trauma takes time. A trauma therapist can provide the support and guidance to help you heal the wounds of your past. The ultimate goal is to help you regain a sense of safety, self-esteem, and control over your life, and to reduce the impact of traumatic experiences on your mental and emotional well-being.

Our trauma therapists based in Simi Valley understand this. Trauma therapy at Simi Psychological Group is a collaborative experience, where you and your therapist work together to ensure your needs are met. We use a combination of interpersonal process therapy, family systems, and cognitive-behavioral techniques. We offer couples therapy and family therapy and more to further support you in your journey.

For a more in-depth look at several treatment approaches to trauma, visit our blog, Navigating Trauma: Understanding Common Therapy Approaches to Help You Heal.

Benefits of trauma therapy

When you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic event, or series of events, life as you’ve known it seems to grind to a halt. It may seem like nothing will ever be the same again.

This is where trauma therapy can help. Let’s explore the benefits associated with trauma therapy.

Two men sat opposite each other sat on a grey couch

➢    Trauma Resolution

  • Trauma therapy helps individuals process and resolve the emotional and psychological wounds caused by traumatic experiences. It allows them to confront their past traumas, explore their feelings, and work through the associated pain.

➢    Symptom Reduction         

  • Trauma therapy can significantly reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as flashbacks, nightmares, and hypervigilance. It can also alleviate other trauma-related symptoms like depression, anxiety, and dissociation.

➢    Emotional Regulation

  • Trauma therapy helps individuals develop healthy coping mechanisms and emotional regulation skills. This can be particularly valuable for those who have difficulty managing their emotions due to their traumatic experiences.

➢    Improved Self-esteem

  • Trauma often leads to negative self-perception and self-esteem issues. Trauma therapy can help individuals build a more positive self-image, leading to increased self-worth and self-confidence.

➢    Enhanced Relationships

  • Trauma therapy can improve relationships by helping individuals address the impact of their trauma on their interactions with others. It can provide tools for better communication and boundaries.

➢    Post-Traumatic Growth

  • Some individuals report experiencing positive personal growth after trauma therapy. This growth might include increased resilience, greater self-awareness, and a deeper appreciation for life.
Person sat crossed legged on a yellow sand beach

➢    Reduced Substance Abuse

  • Trauma therapy can reduce the likelihood of individuals turning to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their traumatic experiences.

➢    Improved Physical Health

  • Trauma can have a significant impact on physical health due to the stress and emotional toll it takes. Resolving trauma can lead to improvements in physical health and a lower risk of stress-related illnesses.

➢    Cognitive Processing

  • Trauma therapy helps individuals reframe their traumatic experiences and make sense of what happened. This can lead to a more coherent and constructive narrative of their past.

➢    Increased Quality of Life

  • Ultimately, trauma therapy can lead to an improved quality of life by reducing the ongoing negative impact of trauma and helping individuals lead more fulfilling, balanced lives.

Starting trauma therapy can feel like an overwhelming decision, but is one well worth making. Our licensed therapists at Simi Psychological Group are skilled at working with your symptoms and will walk alongside you as you learn to cope with and manage your trauma. Trauma therapy can help you find freedom from trauma and become an active, joyful participant in your life.

Word PTSD highlighted in pink

What is PTSD?

PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a mental health condition that can develop in individuals who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. It is a reflection of the body’s response.

In fact, most PTSD symptoms are actually understandable reactions to having experienced something super overwhelming. But even though these symptoms can be a normal and common reaction to trauma, PTSD can significantly affect a person’s daily life, mental well-being, and emotional health.

Are Trauma and PTSD the same?

Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are related but not the same. Simply put, trauma refers to a distressing life experience and the emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical impact of that experience. PTSD refers to a set of symptoms triggered by the traumatic experience.

Trauma can include a variety of different life experiences, both life-threatening and non-life-threatening. Trauma includes any experience that brings with it an overwhelming sense of fear, terror, emotional devastation, and distress. It may be a single event, such as a sexual assault, an act of violence, the loss of a loved one, or a natural disaster. Or, it may be an ongoing series of traumatic experiences, such as childhood abuse, an abusive or toxic relationship, or circumstances leading to chronic stress. Trauma refers to the kind of events that have a debilitating effect on one’s emotional, psychological, and often physical well-being, and which overwhelms one’s ability to cope effectively.

PTSD, on the other hand, is the specific mental health diagnosis or set of symptoms that can develop in response to experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. To be considered PTSD, these symptoms must be present for at least one month but may be experienced for an extended period on an ongoing basis. Symptoms of PTSD may develop immediately, but may also emerge weeks, months, or even years after the traumatic event. These symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, heightened anxiety, avoidance of reminders, and changes in mood and cognition.

The key distinction between trauma and PTSD lies in the duration and intensity of symptoms. Trauma refers to an event or series of events that cause significant and overwhelming emotional and psychological distress, but it does not necessarily result in a clinical diagnosis of PTSD. One may experience significant symptoms of trauma that impact their daily life without developing full PTSD. A diagnosis of PTSD indicates that an individual’s response to trauma has reached a level of severity and duration that meets the criteria for this mental health diagnosis, and significantly interferes with one’s ability to function in their daily life.

Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD, but for those who do, it is a significant yet treatable condition that can have a profound impact on their well-being.

What are the 4 signs of PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can manifest in a variety of ways, and not everyone with PTSD will experience the same symptoms, or experience these symptoms to the same level of severity. Yet, regardless of individual differences, the symptoms of PTSD can essentially be grouped into four main categories, including intrusive thoughts, avoidance, emotional reactivity, and mood changes. To receive a diagnosis of PTSD, an individual typically needs to exhibit symptoms from each of these categories.

Woman sat on the floor with her head in her hands

Specifically, the 4 common signs of PTSD include:

➢    1. Intrusion Symptoms

These are symptoms that involve re-experiencing the traumatic event. They can include:

  • Flashbacks: Vivid and distressing memories or nightmares of the traumatic event.
  • Distressing and intrusive thoughts or images related to the trauma.
  • Emotional and physical reactions to reminders of the trauma.

➢    2. Avoidance Symptoms

People with PTSD may go to great lengths to avoid reminders of the traumatic event. This can manifest as:

  • Avoidance of places, people, activities, or situations that trigger memories of the trauma.
  • Avoidance of discussing or thinking about the traumatic event.
  • Emotional numbness and a sense of disconnection from others.

➢    3. Arousal and Reactivity Symptoms

These symptoms often result from the heightened state of alertness and arousal that is characteristic of PTSD. They may include:

  • Irritability and angry outbursts.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Hypervigilance (constant scanning of the environment for potential threats).
  • Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia.

➢    4. Negative Changes in Mood and Cognition

These symptoms involve a shift in the individual’s thoughts and feelings and may include:

  • Negative changes in beliefs and feelings about oneself or others.
  • Feelings of detachment from loved ones.
  • Inability to experience positive emotions.
  • Persistent negative emotions like guilt, shame, or fear.

Remember that symptoms of PTSD often reflect an understandable reaction to an overwhelmingly distressing event, and they are our body’s natural way of managing the experience. PTSD can be debilitating, but it is a treatable condition. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, it’s essential to seek professional help from a mental health provider.

Simi Psychological Group offers trauma-informed therapy for the treatment of PTSD.

Woman with open laptop resting on her knees

How to fix PTSD?

To fix PTSD, consider visiting an experienced Trauma Therapist.

Although the symptoms of PTSD vary from person to person, there are a few common threads: these symptoms take over one’s life, it feels like no one else could possibly understand, and it often feels like things might never get better. But there is hope in the form of treatment.

Treatment for PTSD involves a combination of trauma-informed therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, or somatic therapy), and, frequently, medication (like antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications). Support from loved ones and a safe, understanding environment can also be crucial for recovery.

Trauma therapy in Simi Valley can help you overcome the symptoms of PTSD that are interfering with you living your best life. For more information on various forms of trauma therapy, check out our blog, Navigating Trauma: What Style of Therapy is Best for Trauma?

What makes PTSD worse?

PTSD and the symptoms of PTSD differ from person to person. Some of the factors that might influence how one responds to trauma, or put someone at greater risk for developing PTSD include the nature and severity of the trauma, personal resilience, the presence or absence of a support system, and pre-existing mental health conditions. Regardless of these individual differences, however, delaying treatment prolongs one’s suffering.

If you or a loved one have gone through a traumatic experience, seeking trauma therapy early is essential. To learn more about what to expect in trauma therapy, read our blog post, What to Expect in Your First Session with Your Psychologist.

What are common triggers for PTSD?

The symptoms associated with PTSD can be overwhelming and sometimes feel like they come out of nowhere. One minute you might feel fine, the next you’re huddled in the corner shaking.  PTSD triggers are often specific to the individual and may be related to the traumatic event or events that led to the development of PTSD. However, while individual triggers can vary, some common situations may trigger, or bring on, PTSD symptoms.

Common triggers might include:

Man and woman sat on a concrete step holding roses and a photo frame

➢    Reminders of the Trauma:

Any reminder of the traumatic event can be a trigger. This might include places, people, objects, or situations associated with the trauma.

➢    Anniversaries

The anniversary of the traumatic event or significant dates related to the trauma or the individuals involved can be a trigger.

➢    Sensory Stimuli

Certain sensory experiences, such as smells, sounds, or specific sights, that remind someone of those experienced during a traumatic event can trigger PTSD symptoms.

➢    Stress

Elevated stress levels or exposure to new stressors can make symptoms of PTSD more likely to emerge or worsen.

➢    Similar Traumatic Events

Witnessing or experiencing events similar to the original trauma can trigger symptoms. For example, a combat veteran may experience triggers if they hear loud explosions that resemble gunfire.

➢    News or Media

News reports or media coverage of events that are reminiscent of the original trauma can trigger distress.

➢    Physical Health Issues

Medical issues or health conditions that remind the individual of their trauma can be triggers. For example, a person who experienced a near-fatal car accident might be triggered by a hospital or medical environment.

➢    Emotional Stressors

Intense emotional stress, such as relationship conflicts or the loss of a loved one, can trigger PTSD symptoms.

It’s important to remember that not all individuals with PTSD experience the same triggers or have the same responses. Additionally, triggers can change over time, and what was once a trigger may become less distressing with effective treatment and coping strategies.

If you’re dealing with PTSD or are concerned about potential triggers, it’s crucial to seek help from a mental health professional. They can work with you to develop coping strategies, provide treatment, and support you in managing your symptoms. PTSD is a treatable condition, and with the right guidance, many individuals experience significant improvement in their quality of life.

How do I know if I need a trauma therapist? 

Determining if you need a trauma therapist is a personal decision, but several indicators may suggest that trauma therapy could be beneficial for you. If you are experiencing any of the following, it might be a good idea to consider seeking the help of a trauma therapist:

➢    Recurrent and Disturbing Memories

If you find yourself frequently and involuntarily reliving traumatic events through distressing memories, nightmares, or flashbacks, it could be a sign that you need professional support.

➢    Avoidance and Emotional Numbing

If you are actively avoiding places, people, or situations that remind you of the trauma, or if you feel emotionally numb, detached, or unable to experience positive emotions, these are potential signs of unresolved trauma.

➢    Increased Anxiety and Hyperarousal

If you are experiencing heightened anxiety, irritability, difficulty sleeping, concentration problems, and hypervigilance (constant scanning of your environment for potential threats), these could be symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Woman leaning on her hand with another woman in the background sat on a chair

➢    Substance Abuse

Using drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with or numb the effects of trauma is a common response. If you are struggling with substance abuse or other unhealthy coping mechanisms, it may be time to seek help from a trauma therapist.

➢    Interference with Daily Life

If your trauma-related symptoms are significantly interfering with your ability to function in daily life, maintain relationships, or perform at work or school, professional help is warranted.

➢    Depression and Mood Changes

Trauma can often lead to depressive symptoms, including persistent sadness, hopelessness, and changes in appetite or sleep patterns. If you are experiencing these, therapy may be beneficial.

➢    Isolation and Relationship Problems

Trauma can lead to social withdrawal, isolation, and difficulties in relationships. If you are finding it challenging to connect with others or are experiencing relationship problems due to your trauma, therapy can help you work through these issues.

➢    Intrusive Thoughts

If you are frequently troubled by intrusive thoughts or images related to the trauma and struggle to manage them, a therapist can provide guidance.

➢    Past Trauma

If you have a history of previous traumas, the cumulative impact of these experiences may necessitate trauma therapy.

➢    Feelings of Overwhelm

If you feel overwhelmed, emotionally dysregulated, or unable to cope with the effects of your trauma, it may be a sign that you need professional support to regain control.

It’s important to recognize that trauma therapy can provide you with the tools and support to address these symptoms and move toward healing and recovery. Trauma therapists are trained to create a safe and supportive environment to help individuals work through their traumatic experiences. If you’re unsure whether trauma therapy is right for you, consider consulting with a mental health professional for an evaluation and guidance tailored to your specific situation.

In our blog, Heal Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Break the Chains, you can learn more about the healing process.

What is the difference between a therapist and a trauma therapist?

Woman holding her hands up with a confused expression on her face

Most people understand what a mental health therapist is in general, but may not understand some of the key distinctions within the profession.

Generally speaking, the word therapist refers to a mental health professional with a degree in psychology or social work who is trained to provide mental health support and treatment to individuals dealing with a wide range of emotional and psychological issues.

The term therapist may be applied to psychologists, social workers, counselors, and marriage and family therapists, although each has slightly different levels of education, training, and professional credentials based on their individual licensing requirements. Most therapists use a variety of therapeutic approaches to help individuals with their mental health concerns.

A trauma therapist, on the other hand, is a therapist who has received additional training and expertise in working with individuals who have experienced trauma. Trauma therapists focus on helping individuals who have gone through traumatic events. They are trained to understand and address the unique emotional and psychological challenges that trauma survivors often face.

The difference is similar to that of a general practitioner doctor versus a doctor who specializes in a specific area of medicine. You can see a general practitioner for most things, but when you have a particularly sensitive or significant issue, it’s helpful to see a specialist.

If you are seeking trauma therapy, it’s essential to choose a therapist whose professional experience and expertise align with your specific needs and concerns, hence a trauma-informed therapist.

How to find a trauma therapist

Now that you know what trauma is and the importance of trauma therapy, how does one go about finding a trauma therapist? A simple Google search, “trauma therapy near me,” is likely to bring up quite a few names in Simi Valley, but how do you decide who’s who and what to look for? There’s no doubt the process can be daunting, but to help you in your quest, here are some things to keep in mind.

Woman sat on a couch with a green plant in the background

➢   Identify Your Needs

Clarifying your specific needs and goals can help you in finding “the one.” Do you have a strong gender preference? Victims of sexual assault, for instance, may prefer to work with a female. Do you need a bilingual therapist? Maybe your neighbor has been talking about a specific treatment approach, such as CBT, EMDR, or somatic therapy, and you’d like to give that a try. Considering your needs and preferences will help you find the best fit for you.

➢   Seek Referrals

Reach out to trusted sources for referrals, such as

  • Your primary care physician or a medical professional
  • Mental health organizations and crisis hotlines.
  • Recommendations from friends, family members, or support groups.
  • Your insurance company or Employee Assistance Program (EAP), if applicable.
  • Online therapist directories and review websites.

➢   Use Online Directories

Many online mental health directories allow you to search for therapists based on your location, specialization, and other preferences. Some popular directories include Psychology Today and Good Therapy.

➢   Check Credentials

Ensure that the therapist is licensed and trained in trauma therapy. They should have relevant qualifications, such as a Ph.D., Psy.D., LCSW, LMFT, or other relevant credentials, depending on your location. You can verify their credentials with your state’s licensing board.

➢   Ask About Specialization

Inquire about the therapist’s experience and specialization in trauma treatment. Ask if they have experience working with individuals who have experienced similar types of trauma as you have.

Woman in grey jacket holding the edge of her glasses on her face

➢   Interview Potential Therapists

Consider scheduling initial consultations or interviews with prospective therapists to get a sense of their approach and whether you feel comfortable and understood by them. Most therapists offer consultations for free and are happy to answer questions to ensure a good fit.

➢   Check Insurance and Payment Options

Determine whether the therapist accepts your insurance if you have it. If not, discuss payment options and fees. Some therapists offer sliding scales or other payment arrangements.

➢   Evaluate the Therapeutic Approach

Ask about the therapist’s approach to trauma therapy. Different therapists may use different techniques and modalities, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, EMDR, or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Choose a therapist whose approach aligns with your needs and preferences.

➢   Consider Telehealth Options

With the increasing availability of telehealth services, such as those offered at Simi Psychological Group, you may have the option to work with a therapist remotely. This can be especially helpful if you have limited access to trauma therapists in your area.

➢   Trust Your Instincts

Ultimately, trust your gut feeling about the therapist. It’s important to feel a sense of trust and safety in your therapeutic relationship.

Remember that finding the right trauma therapist may take time and effort, but it’s crucial to ensure you have the support you need for your healing journey.

To read more on how to find just the right therapist for you, check out our blog on 5 Key Factors to Finding a Simi Valley Trauma Therapist.

Trauma therapy at Simi Psychology Group

At Simi Psychological Group, our mission is to reach the true root of your struggles so you can create lasting change in the lives of you and your family. Our experienced, trauma-informed therapists offer more than just knowledge, they offer compassion and partnership as you begin your healing journey.

Trauma therapy at Simi Psychological Group is a collaborative experience. You and your therapist will work to ensure your needs are met. We use a combination of interpersonal process therapy, family systems, cognitive-behavioral techniques, somatic therapy mindfulness-based therapy, and narrative therapy to help you meet your goals.

Man in a blue sweater taking notes on a piece of paper

At Simi Psychological Group, however, we don’t lock ourselves (or our clients) to a single treatment modality. While we often use approaches that help clients connect with their bodies and regain their sense of power, our therapists tailor each therapeutic process to your individual needs. They will work with you to help plan out the best route of treatment, making sure you are both on the same page throughout the process.

When you seek trauma therapy at Simi Psychological Group:

  • You’ll be supported, heard, and understood in a safe space.
  • You’ll gain coping skills you can use inside and outside of therapy.
  • You’ll be working with experienced, trauma-informed therapists who “get it.”
  • You’ll have an individual space to share your story.
  • You’ll become more comfortable and confident navigating everyday life.

We will work with you to identify the sticky points being caused by the trauma you have experienced. We excel at getting clients to the root of their struggles by gently guiding them to process their trauma, building awareness of the impact the trauma has had on their body as well as awareness about the messages they’ve internalized. Our skilled trauma-informed therapists help trauma survivors reconnect to their bodies, reframe their story to one that is empowering, and learn ways to regulate themselves when triggered or overwhelmed. Healing is possible, and we’re here to help you find it.

If you or a loved one have experienced trauma or are suffering from PTSD, remember you are not alone. Help is available at Simi Psychological Group.

Reach out today to start your healing journey. Contact us at (805) 842-1994 to inquire about therapy for trauma in Simi Valley, CA. We also serve the Thousand Oaks and Moorpark areas and provide anxiety therapy, depression therapy, teen therapy, and more in Simi Valley, CA.