Trauma therapy

Enduring traumatic incidents can be profoundly challenging, leaving lasting psychological scars on those affected and greatly impacting their lives for years afterwards. Many people grappling with trauma resort to substance misuse as a temporary coping mechanism which, unfortunately, often spirals into addiction, further exacerbating their distress. To effectively address this, Oasis Runcorn adapts trauma therapy as a key component of our rehab treatment programmes. Trauma therapy will allow you to work through your past traumatic experiences, gain understanding and closure and help free yourself from dependency.

What is trauma therapy?

Trauma therapy is a branch of psychotherapy aimed at guiding you to recover from past traumatic events’ effects. It offers a secure, nurturing space where you can explore and make sense of your past trauma and its role in your addictive behaviour. This is crucial because trauma is a major cause and driving force of substance use disorder, behavioural addictions, eating disorders and related mental health issues.

Trauma therapy enables you to acquire new skills to handle the challenging emotions and thoughts that may surface due to past trauma, including those that fuel your addiction. It is an effective treatment for all types of dependencies, particularly when integrated into a comprehensive recovery approach like the one offered at Oasis Runcorn.

Trauma therapy at Oasis Runcorn

At Oasis Runcorn, we understand that talking about past traumatic events can be incredibly difficult as it often involves emotions and memories that you don’t want to face. That is why we integrate trauma therapy as a part of our recovery programmes.

Our highly experienced therapists are here to help you every step of the way, focusing on you as a whole person and using a variety of therapy methods tailored to suit your specific needs and experiences.

Our approach to trauma therapy is based on a method called post-induction therapy (PIT), which was created by Pia Mellody back in the 1970s. The idea behind PIT is to help you understand how past traumatic events are still affecting your life today and causing you to feel negative emotions.

Working closely with our skilled therapists at Oasis Runcorn, you’ll explore your past, piece by piece, and understand how specific traumatic experiences have led to the development of your dependency and compulsive behaviours. Once we have identified the roots of these issues, we can begin to address them head-on, allowing you to break free from the cycle and start rebuilding your life.

The four phases of trauma therapy

Our trauma therapy sessions at Primrose Path unfold across four key phases. Each builds on the progress made in the last to ensure you feel comfortable and that traumatic memories and related emotions are addressed slowly and safely. The four phases are:

1. Building a safe space and establishing trust

Creating a robust, trusting bond between you and your therapist is vital as it can provide a secure environment for exploring your traumatic experiences. Your therapist may employ various techniques to nurture this trust, such as empathetic listening, empathy, and judgement-free support.

2. Exploring and addressing the past trauma

During this phase, your therapist will guide you to revisit and tackle the traumatic experiences that have impacted you. Techniques such as “imaginal exposure” could be employed, allowing you to safely and vividly recount traumatic events. This involves bringing to mind the traumatic event under the safe guidance of your therapist.

The idea is not to re-traumatise you but to gradually reduce the fear and distress associated with these memories. By confronting these events, you can begin to take control of your reactions to these experiences.

Your therapist will then assist you in developing healthier strategies for managing your emotional responses to these memories. You will explore different coping mechanisms, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or cognitive reframing techniques, which you can use when facing reminders or thoughts of the trauma.

3. Creating an impact statement

This step involves writing a letter to your trauma’s instigators, expressing how the traumatic incidents have influenced your life and relationships and ultimately led to substance use and compulsive behaviours. Penning an impact statement can offer clarity and perspective on the trauma, helping identify areas where you might require further support during your recovery. It can also help you to accept that you were not responsible for what happened to you and that you don’t have to let it control your life anymore.

4. Confronting the perpetrators

The final stage of trauma therapy requires you to confront your trauma’s perpetrators using your impact statement. Although this can be a challenging and emotional process, it can also be highly liberating and therapeutic. This stage often transpires in group therapy, where the support and affirmation of others who have endured similar trauma can create a sense of community, aiding in releasing pain and anger. This phase is critical to breaking addiction’s cycle and making strides towards a healthier life.

Trauma therapy techniques alongside other therapies

At Oasis Runcorn, trauma therapy is regularly combined with other proven therapies to offer a comprehensive approach to recovery. Here are a few ways trauma therapy complements other types of rehab therapy:

Dialectical-behavioural therapy (DBT)…

DBT, a widely used therapy in recovery treatment, assists you in recognising and altering negative thought patterns and behaviours. Trauma therapy and DBT can be particularly effective when used together, as traumatic experiences often give rise to negative thought patterns and maladaptive coping mechanisms. DBT can aid in reshaping your thoughts and establishing healthier coping strategies supportive of your recovery.

Mindfulness and meditation…

Mindfulness and meditation techniques urge you to concentrate on the present moment and foster a sense of internal tranquillity and balance. These practices can be particularly beneficial for those coping with trauma as they assist in managing associated emotions and mitigating stress and anxiety during rehab, aftercare and later on.

Group therapy…

Group therapy offers a supportive and judgement-free atmosphere for sharing experiences with others undergoing a similar recovery process. When combined with trauma therapy, it can foster a sense of belonging, reducing feelings of isolation and enhancing the connection with others who have faced trauma. By hearing the stories of others who have been through similar trauma as yourself, you can learn new ways of coping with the memories.

Family therapy…

Family therapy can play a significant role in recovery, providing a platform for you and your family to address issues that may have contributed to the dependency and the damage it has caused. When trauma therapy is combined with family therapy, it can foster understanding, facilitate forgiveness and pave the way for rebuilding relationships so that your loved ones can aid in your recovery.

Get started with trauma therapy at Oasis Runcorn

If you or someone you care for is grappling with trauma and addiction, remember that you are not alone. Oasis offers comprehensive treatment that includes trauma therapy and many other therapeutic interventions that can support your recovery journey. With our team of empathetic and experienced recovery experts, we can guide you towards a healthier and more rewarding life. Contact us today to find out more.

Frequently asked questions

What is trauma?
Trauma is an emotional and psychological reaction to a deeply unsettling or distressing event. Both single and continuous traumatic events can deeply affect a person’s mental and emotional health, leading to symptoms such as anxiety, depression and increased risk of addiction.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychological condition that may arise after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. Individuals with PTSD may experience symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and avoidance behaviours. These can significantly impact their quality of life and make it challenging to manage without professional assistance.
Which events are considered most traumatic?
Trauma is a subjective experience and varies from person to person. However, certain events are considered traumatic, including physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, military combat, natural disasters, severe accidents or injuries and the sudden death of a loved one. These can lead to substance abuse and compulsive behaviours, so they must be addressed for effective recovery.