Therapy Techniques for Treating Trauma

The link between trauma and substance abuse is very strong. Many clients come to Pathways and express the challenges they have faced in their lives – physical or verbal abuse as a child or in adulthood, vehicle accidents, as victims of violent crimes and in soe cases, military experience. Treating the trauma, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a key component to treating the individual’s substance abuse disorder because until the trauma is resolved, the person will continue to use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate and/or cope with the trauma they’ve faced.

Related Blog: Trauma and Addiction

Several evidence-based treatment methods have proven effective in working with trauma/PTSD clients. The most common ones are listed below.

Prolonged-exposure therapy – A therapist guides the client to recall traumatic memories in a controlled fashion so that clients eventually regain mastery of their thoughts and feelings around the incident. While exposing people to the very events that caused their trauma may seem counterintuitive, when done in a gradual, controlled and repeated manner, until the person can evaluate their circumstances realistically and understand they can safely return to the activities in their current lives that they had been avoiding.

Cognitive-processing therapy – A form of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, developed to treat rape victims and later applied to PTSD. This treatment includes an exposure component but places greater emphasis on cognitive strategies to help people alter erroneous thinking that has emerged because of the event. Practitioners may work with clients on false beliefs that the world is no longer safe, for example, or that they are incompetent because they have “let” a terrible event happen to them.

Stress-inoculation training – Another form of CBT, where practitioners teach clients techniques to manage and reduce anxiety, such as breathing, muscle relaxation and positive self-talk.

Certified Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) – A revolutionary and holistic psychotherapeutic approach to healing and positive behavioral change that eliminates the negative, emotional and behavioral influence of traumatic events, clearing, organizing and optimizing the mind so that the root cause of problems are cleared and positive change can endure.

Not all treatment centers hire counselors who have experience in these treatment methods. Pathways has multiple counselors who specialize in and/or are certified in PTSD/trauma methodologies and use either CBT or RRT techniques.

Pathways Florida provides a comprehensive 28-day residential substance abuse treatment program. Compassionate, caring counselors at Pathways are trained in the latest evidence-based techniques and will work with you to develop a treatment and aftercare plan that works. For more information, please call 855-349-5988.