During my experience as a therapist, I have taken a liking to working with several clients dealing with trauma. Situations have varied from natural disasters to physical and sexual abuse. I often notice that some of my clients have not been able to identify that a stressful event is interfering with their everyday tasks. All they notice is that they are having symptoms, but don’t understand why it is happening.
Once we conduct an assessment, I can help my clients see triggering events and situations. The first step to healing is becoming aware of it. Once someone is aware of their triggers, then he or she can make the necessary changes in their life to feel better. By learning how to relax, embracing one’s feelings, and reframing negative thoughts, then one will acquire positive coping skills that will enable them to begin the process of healing through exposure therapy.
During the exposure section, the therapist provides a safe place for the client to process his or her trauma though a narrative process that allows the client to tell his or her story. The therapist then works with the client to identify and correct inaccurate thinking. In addition, the therapist will ask the client more questions about the story if details are lacking. Although the client may experience some discomfort, the client will realizer that he or she will feel better throughout the gradual exposure process. Once the client is able to tolerate difficult feelings and has more accurate thinking patterns, then the client is ready for termination.
Trauma-Focused CBT is a very well-known evidence-based practice used to treat children. Statistics show that 80% of children who complete treatment show signs of improvement. (National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2007).