The Three Phases of Trauma Recovery
Once you have undergone a traumatic experience, the primary goal from that point on is first and foremost always about recovery. This is, by no means, an expedient process, and nor should anyone who is currently using counseling services want it to be. The goal of using behavioral health services is to gradually improve your overall quality of life by improving your mental health, and that means your mental health counseling, when implemented correctly, should focus on the three basic phases of trauma recovery. With all of this information in mind, let’s dive a little more deeply into each phase of trauma recovery, including what they are and how they improve your overall mental health.
Phase 1 – Feeling Safe Again
After undergoing any form of severe trauma, the first thing mental health counseling should focus on is helping the client feel safe in their own body again. While many people do find it helpful to talk about a traumatic experience after it has happened, for many people, this is simply not an option, as the pain is too much to bare. In that instance, counseling services should be focused on non-verbal therapeutic techniques at the outset of treatment, such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, meditation, and deep breathing yoga. This will allow the client to still make forward progress while not having to verbalize the experience at the outset of treatment.
Phase 2 – Processing the Trauma in a Safe Space
Once the client starts to feel safe again, the next step for them as they continue to receive behavioral health services is to actually contextualize their trauma with the goal of moving past it. In order to do this successfully, they must be able to speak about the event that occurred, and their subsequent feelings about it, during their session of counseling services.
This step can be undertaken in either a singular or group therapy setting, but it should be emphatically stated how important it is that the client does not feel overwhelmed for a significant duration period of time during this phase. If this does occur, there is a chance they could regress again, which would force the therapist to go back to Phase 1.
Phase 3 – Successful Reintegration and Connection Forming
In the final phase of recovering from trauma, counseling services should help the patient be an active participant in their own recovery by helping them focus on creating a new sense of self and realizing they are more than capable of having a future beyond the trauma they have endured. They should be able to realize that although something traumatic happened to them, it does not have to be the cornerstone of their personal narrative, and they are strong enough to rebuild once again. Once the patient has gotten to this point, they will have successfully resolved the trauma, and the impact it has had on them, within themselves.
If you would like more information about counseling services and how they can help with trauma recovery, please contact Smith Psychotherapy Associates at their website today.