Understanding Trauma Therapy
Written by Owen Baisden,
in Section Educational Consultants
When a teen girl is struggling to heal after a traumatic event, she can find the help she needs in a residential treatment program. Trauma can wreak havoc on a young girl’s life, leaving her unable to appropriately function and potentially causing her to adopt maladaptive coping skills if not treated.
Fortunately, research shows that trauma counseling is helpful, particularly when it is customized to the nature, timing, and amount of exposure to a trauma. The leading trauma treatment centers is committed to helping young women overcome their trauma and move forward in their life.
The following offers a detailed look at trauma therapy, starting with what types of traumatic events a teen may experience and maladaptive behaviors she may exhibit before moving into what trauma therapy is, how it works, and the numerous benefits associated with trauma therapy in a residential setting.
What Constitutes A Trauma?
Trauma is divided into two categories: acute and chronic. It may have occurred recently or years earlier during early childhood. Examples of acute trauma can include:
- Witnessing an attack on someone else, either directly or indirectly, such as a school shooting, community violence, or terrorist attack
- Being the victim of a physical or sexual attack
- Experiencing a natural disaster
- Experiencing the death of a loved one or divorce of parents
- Being involved in a severe traffic accident or other event that causes severe bodily injury
Examples of chronic trauma can include:
- Being the victim of ongoing emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
- Ongoing bullying or other form of social rejection
- Being the victim of maltreatment, such as neglect or living in an environment that is chronically unstable
The Impact Of Untreated Trauma
While every teen girl is different, there are some reactions or behaviors that are commonly seen in victims who do not receive proper treatment. They may develop psychiatric disorders, including depression, various behavioral disorders, anxiety, and PTSD. Over time, this can affect their school work, ability to interact with others, and self-esteem.
In some cases, they may lash out violently at others, hurt themselves, or engage in promiscuous behaviors. Drug and alcohol abuse is also a significant concern, as more than 70% of adolescent substance abusers report a history of trauma.
What Is Trauma Therapy And How Does It Work?
Trauma therapy often takes a cognitive-behavioral approach and includes individual, family and group trauma therapy sessions. At a speed that doesn’t cause distress, she will talk about the event(s), as well as her feelings during and after. This allows her to explore painful feels, examine how the trauma has affected her daily life, and work to resolve the impact it may have had on her life.
During this time, the distorted ideas that are present in so many victims, such as how something they did or did not do caused the trauma, are explored and corrected.
Additionally, there is a significant focus on learning relaxation skills and proper coping techniques that teach her how to respond in a healthier and productive manner. This also includes working past any unhealthy views, such as believing she can never have a normal life in the future, and learning to reconnect with activities she enjoyed before the trauma, particularly if she is struggling with isolation.
Depending on the type of trauma, somatic experiencing may be incorporated into a teen’s treatment plan. This involves the slow introduction of traumatic material with a trained therapist who frequently assesses the teen’s physical responses, such as shallow breathing or a change in posture, and somatic sensations, such as feelings of chest tightness or dizziness.
As time progresses, the teen is able to experience sensations that remind her of the trauma in a safe way that allows her to fully process the event.
Family therapy is a component of trauma therapy. This ensures parents are actively involved in treatment, while also providing the opportunity to heal fractured relationships and restore healthy bonds within the family.
The Benefits Of Residential Treatment For Trauma
Trauma treatment centers are particularly beneficial for teens. Staffed by qualified and caring individuals, they provide a safe, nurturing, and structured environment where she can focus entirely on her full recovery, which includes the mind, body, and spirit. Also in this 24/7 environment, teens are able to engage in a variety of proven therapeutic interventions, such as equine and adventure therapy.
This helps build strong relationships with staff members and peers, which provides solace in knowing she is not alone and helps facilitate healing.
When a teen girl has experienced a traumatic event, ensuring that she gets the trauma therapy and treatment she needs is crucial for healing. At Turning Winds, we are dedicated to helping young women work through the painful event and move forward with a life that is happy and productive.