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A traumatic event can have short and long-term effects on an individual’s daily life. Many people hesitate to seek out therapy for trauma because they have the idea that working with a therapist instead of fixing the situation on their own makes them weak. This is not the case.

No two people handle traumatic experiences in the same way, and if you’re having trouble moving forward following trauma, the therapists at The Center for CBT in New York City are here to offer support and guide you through the healing process. Learn more on this page or get in touch with us today.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is the experience or witnessing of an event or series of events that overwhelms an individual’s ability to process, reconcile, or move forward after the experience. Trauma triggers the safety centers of the brain, sending people into an elevated state often referred to as the fight, flight, or freeze response. This is the body’s safety mechanism. It leads to increased awareness, faster heartbeat, and other physical and mental changes that allow us to maintain our safety when threatened. Following a traumatic event, people may become trapped in the elevated state of alert and struggle to shut down the body’s safety response system. Stuck on high alert, every situation feels just as threatening as the original traumatic experience.

Is PTSD Something Else?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a diagnosis given to people who suffer from severe, adverse effects following a traumatic experience. In many cases, PTSD causes significant hardship or is entirely debilitating. People suffering with PTSD may have flashbacks to their traumatic experiences, struggle to maintain relationships, have difficulty keeping a job, and they can engage in risky behaviors to cope with the effects of this condition.

What is the Difference Between Big “T” and Little “t” Trauma?

Big “T” trauma is what most people consider traumatic. Things like life threatening car accidents, surviving physical or sexual abuse, and undergoing invasive surgery are all considered sources of big “T” trauma. Little “t” trauma is not as obvious, and unfortunately, many people think that their reactions to these types of trauma aren’t valid. Little “t” traumas are things like emotionally avoidant parenting, interpersonal conflict, loss of a job, or the end of a relationship. Your life may not have been in danger of ending, but these types of traumas trigger the same fear response because they still lead to the potential loss of some part of your life that holds meaning for you. Whether you’re struggling after big “T” or little “t” trauma, your experience is valid and therapy can be beneficial for you.

How Does CBT Help following Trauma?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic technique that works by helping individuals gain increased self-awareness about the ways that their thoughts, feelings, and actions are connected and how they influence each other. When it comes to healing from trauma and reducing the negative response to triggers, CBT is an essential therapy tool. It helps individuals recognize their trauma responses, and in partnering with a therapist, they can develop tools and strategies to change their negative reactions, process the trauma, and start to truly heal and move forward.

How Does Somatic Experiencing Help Following Trauma?

Because trauma often leaves people feeling stuck in an elevated level of response, somatic experiencing may be recommended to release the tension and pent-up survival energy from their bodies, allowing people to relax and experience a sense of relief. Through somatic experiencing, people are able to reduce the current side effects of the trauma response, start healing and processing the past events, and work to increase resilience and decrease the physical and emotional responses to triggers in the future.

What Can I Expect During Therapy?

It’s important that your therapist fully understands your specific experience with trauma. During an initial intake session (or a few sessions), your therapist will ask you numerous questions about your traumatic experience or experiences, your current symptoms, and your history with therapy. Together, you’ll develop a therapy plan to reduce current symptoms of trauma, heal from the past injuries, and reduce your future responses to triggering events. As your therapy sessions progress, your therapist will touch base with you regularly to ensure you’re on the right track, and we’re always happy to adjust your plan throughout the process if something isn’t working.

Who Offers Therapy for Trauma?

Each of our clinicians has years of unique training and experience that allow them to provide therapy using specific approaches that work best for certain clients. Our clinicians who provide therapy for trauma are featured below, and you can learn more about them by visiting our team page.

What Should I Do Next?

When you’re ready to begin therapy, we hope you’ll consider contacting The Center for CBT in New York City. We offer a safe space where you are free to be who you really are and express yourself and your values authentically. We embrace, value, and welcome people of all sexual orientations, genders, and racial identities. The Center for CBT in New York City makes beginning your therapy journey simple. You can get started any time by completing our online consultation request form. One of our team members will be in touch within 24 business hours to answer your questions.

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