Most Common Types of Trauma Counselling

Most of us can imagine how people are healed and manage to recover from physical injuries. It’s more of a mystery to us how anyone really recovers from serious mental trauma, however. The body and our medicine takes care of physical trauma, but what about trauma done to our minds? It’s such a misunderstood part of ourselves, it’s hard for the average person to imagine how things like trauma counseling, for instance, work to heal people.

Practitioners of such counseling will regularly try to find trauma counseling training courses in Melbourne and beyond, during which they will learn about the many methods that are commonly used to help people who have experienced mental and emotional trauma.

1. Behaviour Therapy

This is arguably the most common type of therapy, and among different kinds of behavior therapy, exposure is the most common single version. This involves making a patient gradually face their fear or traumatic memory, eventually getting to the point where they can do it without fearing the consequences that might follow. The main goal of behavior therapy and exposure is to reduce anxiety and depression and allow people who have experienced sometimes extreme trauma to function more normally, interact socially again and not allow the trauma to govern their emotions and actions.

2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

The addition of “Cognitive” here is critical to the difference between regular behaviour therapy and CBT. The cognitive part refers to patients learning to correct their “incorrect” or problematic thoughts and boosting their own knowledge and understanding of a situation so that they no longer fear it or become stressed by it. At the root of it all is the old axiom that “knowledge is power.” It’s about replacing problematic irrational thoughts relating to trauma with more measured and accurate ones to help reduce stress and boost confidence.

3. Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis is a little more controversial in the therapeutic world, with some championing its efficacy and others doubting its use in the majority of cases. It’s at least a non-invasive and gentle low-risk approach that also doesn’t take a lot of time or equipment. The main idea behind it is to move the patient into a different mental state; one in which they will communicate more openly or directly and reach into themselves to touch upon feelings and emotions that need to be confronted.

4. Group Therapy

Another common approach is the use of group therapy where people who have experienced similar trauma, or perhaps the same traumatic event — e.g. a natural disaster or terrorist attack — come together and share their experience to try and promote a sense of safety and comfort. Group therapy can also help people to gain perspective, realising they are not alone and that others know exactly what they are feeling and experiencing. Groups can teach coping skills, create connections between sufferers, and also create a supportive environment and process by which people can begin to heal and move on.

5. Psychodynamic Therapy

This type of counseling is employed when a practitioner believes that they have to try and find and isolate a  specific phase of a response to a traumatic experience that the patient is stuck in. In other words, the processing of said trauma has been stalled, and the individual is struggling to move past something. 

Psychodynamic therapy looks at the developmental history and childhood of the sufferer and tries to really get all parties to understand the meaning and significance of the trauma. Often it’s some way that the trauma has impacted some sense of self-worth or a personal relationship that’s at the heart of the failure to process it.