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Trauma Therapy

Trauma can cause people to experience problems in emotional, social and occupational functioning. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is highly effective for people experiencing difficulties in managing emotions and interpersonal situations, and is increasingly being applied to those with a diagnosis or symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Our team will do a thorough assessment of your mental health history and therapy goals to determine the best fit for your trauma therapy, which may involve DBT.

Options for trauma therapy include:

Trauma Therapy: Welcome

DBT-Prolonged Exposure

DBT for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Cognitive Processing Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)

Trauma Therapy: Clients

What is PTSD and would I benefit from trauma therapy?

Trauma Therapy: Welcome

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health diagnosis that can occur in people who have either directly experienced, witnessed or learned about a traumatic event. This can include events involving actual or threatened sexual violence, death or serious injury. PTSD involves a range of the following symptoms including:

🔹  Intrusions: nightmares; flashbacks; recurring distressing memories; and emotional or physiological reactions to reminders of the event.

🔹  Avoidance: avoiding thoughts, feelings and external reminders (i.e. people, places, or objects) related to the event.

🔹  Changes in Thinking and Mood: strong negative emotions; difficulty experiencing positive emotions; negative thoughts about oneself, others or the world; blaming oneself for the trauma; detachment from others; and a lack of interest in meaningful activities.

🔹  Arousal and Reactivity: irritability and aggression; reckless behaviours; hypervigilance; heightened startle response; and trouble concentrating and sleeping.

🔹  Dissociation: feeling detached from oneself or as though your surroundings seem unreal.

Many people after a trauma will exhibit a range of these symptoms. It is only after someone experiences these symptoms for one month or longer that the mental health condition can be diagnosed. These symptoms may also be caused by histories of traumatic invalidating experiences, even though this does not meet the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis. 

Trauma Therapy: List

What's involved in
trauma therapy?

Trauma Therapy: Welcome

Trauma therapy can begin once stability in one's emotions and behaviours is achieved and maintained. Since avoidance is what maintains PTSD symptoms and prevents someone from recovering from trauma, trauma therapy involves deliberate exposure to memories and situations related to the trauma that the person avoids. The two ways this occurs is in:

🔹  Imaginal Exposure: where one revisits the traumatic experience and describes it verbally during therapy.

🔹  In Vivo Exposure: where one confronts real life situations that are actually safe but are avoided because the trauma has caused you to believe they are dangerous. ​

Both forms of exposure are deemed to be very effective at reducing fear, avoidance and other trauma-related symptoms.

DBT may be included in your treatment if there is a need to simultaneously treat both PTSD symptoms and other coinciding conditions such as depression, anxiety or personality disorders. More specifically, including DBT in someone's treatment plan is intended for people with PTSD that first require support with stabilization of life-threatening, high-risk or impulsive behaviours that would otherwise interfere with trauma therapy (such as self-harm or suicidal behaviours, substance use, aggression, recklessness, disordered eating, or addiction). It can also be helpful for those who may experience regular difficulties attending or remaining engaged in their therapy, such as those with repeated absences, withdrawal, dissociation or refusal to participate in their therapy tasks. 

If including DBT in your treatment plan, you will be encouraged to participate in our DBT Skills Group and individual DBT prior to beginning trauma therapy, where the aim will be to increase your capacity to use DBT coping skills to help you gain control over severe behaviours and improve your regulation of emotions and crises.

Trauma Therapy: List
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