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Childhood Trauma Therapy: Best Types You Need To Know 2023
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every seven children experience at least one form of childhood trauma. As per this report, in 2020, 1,750 children died due to neglect and abuse.
Childhood trauma affects millions of children, teens, and adults. The CDC estimates that one in every adult has experienced at least four adverse childhood experiences. Child trauma has lasting impressions on a victim, like a predisposition to bipolar disorders or other physical health implications.
Childhood trauma stems from numerous situations, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, chronic stress, chronic pain, and witnessing violence at young ages.
Signs of childhood trauma can appear at any time and affect overall mental and physical health. The mental health symptoms and repercussions traumatized children live with shape who they become.
The great news is that you can use childhood trauma therapy to treat trauma of any nature. In this article, we’ll elaborate on how to heal from childhood trauma.
What Are The Best Types Of Therapy For Trauma?
The effective therapy options for childhood trauma include:
- Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.
- Prolonged exposure therapy.
- Art therapy.
- Dialectical behavior therapy
These approaches can provide children and adults with a safe and supportive environment to express and process their traumatic experiences.
By addressing the impact of trauma on emotions, behaviors, and relationships, these therapies help you develop coping skills and restore overall well-being.
It’s best to consult a qualified mental health professional to get an individualized treatment plan.
What Is Childhood Trauma?
Childhood trauma refers to distressing and adverse experiences during a person’s early years, leaving lasting psychological and emotional imprints. It involves a range of traumatic events and life circumstances.
According to The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, they classify childhood trauma into the following 13 types:
- Physical and emotional abuse.
- Sexual abuse.
- Complex trauma.
- Community violence.
- Natural disasters.
- Early childhood trauma between 0 and 6.
- Intimate partner violence, also domestic violence.
- Medical trauma.
- Refugee trauma.
- Sex trafficking.
- Terrorism and school violence witnessing.
- Traumatic grief.
Adverse childhood experiences, ACEs, such as these have severe and long-lasting effects on a child’s life and mental health, potentially leading to conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, and complex trauma. Symptoms of childhood trauma may manifest through various mental health issues, behavioral symptoms, physical symptoms, and emotional manifestations.
Therefore, it’s crucial to seek mental health professional services from a childhood trauma therapist for adults or a psychologist specializing in trauma.
How Can Therapy Help With Trauma?
Therapy can be a vital first step to help you or someone you know to heal from childhood traumas. The various kinds of child trauma therapy offer a safe and supportive environment where mental health professionals employ evidence-based techniques to address and alleviate the effects of trauma.
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Through therapy, you can become better at recognizing your childhood abuse. It also teaches you to process distressing, traumatic memories and develop healthy coping strategies. Overall, therapists use various techniques to help you identify and manage trauma symptoms better.
Seeking treatment through therapy lets you explore your emotions, heal from past wounds, and cultivate resilience, enabling you to lead a fulfilling life free from trauma. It also helps you to avoid further abuse, such as substance abuse, which may become an unhealthy coping mechanism if you don’t seek help.
Best Types Of Childhood Trauma Therapy
Several evidence-based offline and online therapy approaches have shown efficacy in healing childhood trauma-related experiences. Some are as follows:
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral treatment, or TF-CBT, techniques are highly recommended treatment that combines cognitive and behavioral techniques.
Cognitive processing therapy targets trauma symptoms and underlying cognitive distortions. Through TF-CBT, children and adults report experiencing better traumatic memory procession. They can also challenge negative thoughts and develop coping skills. It utilizes interventions such as relaxation techniques, trauma narratives, and cognitive restructuring.
Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and mindfulness meditation, help children and adults manage separation anxiety and distress associated with their trauma, promoting emotional regulation and a sense of calm during the therapeutic process.
Trauma narratives involve recounting your traumatic experiences. Cognitive restructuring focuses on challenging and reframing negative thoughts related to the trauma. These components help children and adults process their trauma, develop healthier perspectives, and enhance coping skills for emotional well-being and recovery.
Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is an effective therapy incorporating eye movements or other bilateral stimulation. Bilateral stimulation refers to alternating sensory or cognitive stimuli to engage both sides of the body or brain. This process promotes the processing and integration of distressing or traumatic memories.
This type of trauma treatment helps kids, teens, and adults This process reframes your traumatic memories through narrative exposure therapy. It helps reduce emotional symptoms stemming from traumatic events, such as outbursts, and helps eliminate some negative effects of trauma. EMDR has successfully addressed various traumatic events and brought positive outcomes, particularly in treating PTSD.
Art therapy is a creative and expressive modality allowing children and adults to explore and process traumatic events through art. It provides a way to access feelings, memories, and thoughts that may be difficult to express verbally. Art therapists guide a traumatized child or adult using various art materials and techniques to promote self-expression, emotional regulation, and healing.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
PE is an evidence-based treatment for childhood trauma-related PTSD symptoms. It involves gradual exposure to traumatic memories and associated emotions in a safe and controlled manner. By confronting and processing the trauma through repeated exposure, you can gain control and mastery over your experiences and may overcome childhood trauma.
PE incorporates relaxation techniques to manage anxiety during the exposure process. Over time, this therapy help in treating PTSD symptoms such as intrusive thoughts and avoidance behaviors. It allows you to process and integrate traumatic experiences, promoting healing and recovery. PE should be administered by a qualified mental and behavioral health professional experienced in trauma treatment.
These evidence-based therapies offer valuable avenues for children and adults to heal, process trauma, and regain a sense of well-being and resilience.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy, i.e., DTB, combines CBT and mindfulness to treat adult childhood trauma. It helps regulate emotions, address self-destructive behaviors, and improve interpersonal difficulties. By teaching skills like emotion regulation and distress tolerance, DBT empowers you to make healthier choices. Mindfulness enhances self-awareness and acceptance.
These evidence-based therapies offer valuable avenues for children and adults to heal, process trauma, and regain a sense of well-being and resilience.
Other Treatments For Overcoming Childhood Trauma
Besides the five we have discussed above, here are other treatments for dealing with childhood-related trauma:
- Dialectical behavior therapy assists traumatized adults in managing emotions, improving interpersonal skills, and reducing self-destructive behaviors.
- Group Therapy provides a supportive space for traumatized children and adults to connect with others who have experienced similar traumas.
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction cultivates mindfulness practices to promote self-awareness, acceptance, emotional regulation, and resilience.
- Family therapy involves the entire family healing, addressing communication patterns, and fostering support.
- Holistic approaches, including complementary therapies like yoga, can support overall well-being and reduce child traumatic stress. Herbs like chamomile and valerian root may help promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and support better sleep quality.
Consult a mental health services professional to determine your diagnosis and the most effective treatment approach. They will help you overcome childhood trauma and avoid further risk or injury. This includes all remedies and medicines.
If you want to heal childhood trauma without therapy, there are many actions you can take. This includes mindfulness activities, like breathing, yoga, meditation, and healthy lifestyle habits that prioritize exercise, sleep, and nutrition.
But, getting a professional on your side can help you gain a support system, a different perspective, and new coping tools. They can guide you on how to treat childhood trauma in adults.
Healing from childhood trauma can benefit most from an individualized or group therapy approach and an individualized approach that addresses the unique needs of each individual. Therapy for childhood trauma can challenge negative beliefs and promote emotional regulation. And, of course, incorporating relaxation techniques, mindfulness practices, and holistic approaches can enhance healing.
With the right treatment, you can develop the necessary skills, resilience, and inner strength for understanding child trauma and overcoming your traumatic experiences.
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