In recent years, the term “trauma” has become increasingly prevalent in the addiction recovery and mental health fields. While the recognition of trauma’s impact on mental well-being is crucial, it’s important to acknowledge that the overuse of any mental health term may lead to its dilution and potential desensitization. The word ‘depression’ is another example of this!
Twin Rivers Rehab, as a trauma-informed facility appreciates that ‘trauma’ plays a role in nearly ‘all’ clients lives and that their response to trauma does vary widely!
When addressing a client’s trauma there is much to consider including assessing their ability to respond to therapy based on their present psychological status (i.e., too vulnerable at present), medication they are presently taking (certain medications can impact a client’s ability to ‘connect’ to the trauma) as well as the time the client is booked in for treatment also impacts the direction a therapist will take.
Let’s Keep it Simple
Stressful situations, a crisis (divorce for example) and a traumatic event, over which you had no control can all be deemed as ‘traumatic’ but not necessarily a trauma! The stressor or crisis could typically be linked to regular life events that may pose no long-lasting, debilitating effect whereas a trauma event such as emotional or physical abuse, whether suffered short or long term can have a long-lasting sometimes unrecognisable impact on a person’s overall personality, affecting the way the person thinks, feels, and behaves in a negative way!
To simplify the concept of trauma, we can define it as any deeply distressing or overwhelming experience over which we had little or no control that exceeds an individual’s capacity to cope and leaves a deep lasting impact on their mind and body.
Language is a powerful tool in the mental health field. Using empowering and compassionate language is essential to reduce the potential for re-traumatization. Professionals can encourage patients to express their experiences using terms that resonate with them personally, allowing them to feel in control of their healing journey. An example of this could be that a client is suffering from complex trauma. Sharing and explaining this to a client could be damaging as they might fixate on the word ‘complex’ and perhaps start to believe that complex means ‘untreatable’!
Mental health professionals should conduct comprehensive assessments to identify and understand the diverse experiences that may contribute to an individual’s distress. By examining the various factors, such as adverse childhood experiences, substance abuse, or loss, professionals can develop tailored treatment plans that address each patient’s unique needs, reducing the risk of re-traumatization.
Holistic Treatment Approaches
Promoting healing beyond trauma involves adopting holistic treatment approaches considering the interconnectedness of mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Encouraging patients to engage in activities that promote relaxation, self-expression, and self-care can aid in their recovery journey. This might include mindfulness, art therapy, exercise, or connection with supportive social networks.
Cultivating Safe Spaces
Creating safe spaces within mental health treatment settings is essential for patients and professionals. These spaces should encourage open dialogue, active listening, and empathy, fostering an environment where individuals can share their experiences without fear of judgment or re-traumatization. Diligent efforts to ensure inclusivity, cultural sensitivity, and respect for diverse backgrounds and experiences are crucial for maintaining these safe spaces. Twin Rivers Rehab is an ideal environment to deal with the experiences and effects through various therapeutic avenues.