Trauma Group Therapy Techniques
Trauma can lead to addiction and vice versa. However, ending this cycle has never been more possible. Once we understand the relationship between trauma and addiction, we can begin to put powerful healing in motion.
Cultivating a sense of safety through the processing of experiences, developing new coping strategies, and creating plans for safety are some of the most effective trauma therapy techniques.
In trauma group therapy, a trained therapist will move between three stages of the PTSD/trauma healing journey. These stages are the self-care and acceptance stage, the survivor stage, and the thriver stage.
Trauma Counseling Step No. 1: Self-care / Acceptance
Learning to feel safe after an individual trauma or a traumatic lifestyle is possible. After recently experiencing a trauma, a survivor is still stabilizing. Dissociation, anxiety, fear, and mistrust are all normal emotions to feel in this period. However, learning self-care even when it seems impossible is a great way to heal trauma-induced depression or dissociation. It provides the energy and comfort we need when we’re having difficulty trusting anything outside of us. Self-care training in a group setting can provide moral support while slowly easing a survivor back into the world.
Trauma Counseling Step No. 2: Shared Experiences in the Survivor Stage
Our group therapy for the treatment of trauma focuses on both the unique and shared experiences of the individuals in the group. Symptoms such as intrusive emotions, emotional reactivity, heightened arousal, irritability, and depression can be difficult to navigate alone. By checking in with others, we can become more aware of where we are in the healing process. We can also learn how others cope and help others with their own journeys through trauma.
Creating a story around trauma is an effective way of making sense of the senseless. Group therapy can help survivors understand the trauma in ways they might not have thought of. Different philosophies, perspectives, coping strategies, and identities can help a trauma survivor move past concepts that may have been keeping them stuck. These perspectives, when guided by a trained therapist, can support the processing element of trauma therapy.
Trauma Counseling Step No. 3: The Thriver Stage
In this stage, the counselor works to move the survivor outside of simply identifying with trauma. Though trauma certainly shapes a survivor’s story, it’s important to cherish all that transcends it.
In the thriver stage, the counselor and group will discover the survivor’s identities outside the trauma. This discovery process includes scouting out fulfilling creative and recreational activities that provide joy, meaning, and purpose. At Olympia House, we are proud to offer many engaging activities in a beautiful setting such as equine therapy, yoga and qigong. In this stage, group therapy becomes all about making friends, getting to know each other, and relearning that not all of the world is cruel, harsh, or violent. In fact, the world can be kind, supportive, fun and friendly.
Survivors of trauma know that the strength of both remembering and maintaining positivity cannot be reduced to naivete. Rather, they have earned their joy through the practice of difficult and deliberate healing. Let us help guide you through the process. Call Olympia House now (888) 795-1965. We serve the East Bay, North Bay, South Bay, and Sacramento areas.