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Healing From Childhood Trauma in Adulthood: Finding Support with Trauma Therapy

Woman overwhelmed with mental load of managing home and family

Childhood trauma can cast long shadows into adulthood, influencing relationships, self-perception, and overall quality of life. The journey towards healing from childhood trauma isn’t one that needs to be traveled alone. With the support of trauma therapy, you can navigate the complexities of your past experiences, process your emotions, and cultivate resilience.

How Does Childhood Trauma Impact Adults?

All too often, the past doesn’t stay in the past, especially when it comes to childhood trauma. Childhood trauma can have profound and lasting effects on adults, influencing the way they perceive themselves, others, and the world around them. 

Here are some ways in which childhood trauma can impact adults:

  • Emotional Impact: Adults who have experienced childhood trauma may struggle with intense and overwhelming emotions, including anxiety, depression, anger, and shame. Some may even experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • Behavioral Patterns: Childhood trauma can lead to the development of maladaptive coping mechanisms and behavioral patterns. This may manifest as self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse, self-harm, or unhealthy relationships.

  • Cognitive Functioning: Childhood trauma can impact an adult’s memory, concentration, and decision-making abilities. 

  • Relationship Dynamics: Adults who experience childhood trauma may encounter difficulties in forming and maintaining healthy relationships, including trust issues, fear of intimacy, and communication challenges.

  • Physical Health: Research has shown a correlation between childhood trauma and physical health issues in adulthood. Conditions such as chronic pain, autoimmune disorders, and cardiovascular disease may be more prevalent among adults who experienced childhood trauma.

What is Trauma Therapy?

Trauma therapy is designed to help people process and heal from trauma. Although a therapist may use one or several therapy modalities, these approaches are all grounded in addressing the complex interplay of emotional, cognitive, and physiological responses to trauma. 

CBT therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely used therapeutic approach that focuses on identifying and modifying unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that contribute to distress and dysfunction. In the context of trauma therapy, CBT can help you recognize and challenge negative beliefs about yourself, others, and the world that may have developed as a result of childhood trauma. By reframing these beliefs and learning new coping skills, you can reduce symptoms of trauma-related disorders, such as PTSD, and regain a sense of control over your life.

EMDR therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy integrates elements of cognitive therapy with bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or hand tapping, to facilitate the processing and resolution of traumatic memories. EMDR is based on the theory that traumatic experiences become "stuck" in the brain's processing system and can be released through guided eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation. Accessing and reprocessing these memories can reduce the emotional distress associated with trauma and experience profound healing.

DBT therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) combines elements of CBT with mindfulness techniques to help regulate emotions, improve interpersonal relationships, and develop distress tolerance skills. When used as a form of trauma therapy, DBT can help identify and manage intense emotions associated with trauma, cultivate self-compassion and acceptance, and build healthy coping strategies for navigating triggers and stressors. By integrating mindfulness practices with cognitive-behavioral techniques, DBT can empower you to respond to trauma-related challenges with resilience and adaptive coping skills.

Signs You Might Benefit From Trauma Therapy

While the effects of childhood trauma can vary widely from person to person, there are common signs and symptoms that may indicate the need for professional intervention. 

  • Difficulty Functioning: If you find yourself struggling to concentrate, perform tasks, maintain relationships, or engage in activities that once brought you joy, trauma therapy can provide support and strategies to help you regain stability and functionality.

  • Emotional Distress: If you experience frequent episodes of intense sadness, anxiety, anger, or shame that interfere with your ability to function or enjoy life, trauma therapy can help you develop healthier coping mechanisms and emotional regulation skills.

  • Self-Destructive Behaviors: If you find yourself engaging in behaviors that jeopardize your health, safety, or well-being as a way to cope with emotional pain, trauma therapy can provide a safe and supportive environment to explore underlying issues and develop healthier coping strategies.

  • Relationship Challenges: If you struggle with trust, intimacy, communication, or boundaries in your relationships, trauma therapy can help you address relational patterns that may be rooted in past trauma and cultivate more fulfilling and supportive connections with others.

  • Persistent Dissatisfaction or Disconnection: If you experience a persistent sense of emptiness, numbness, or disconnection from your own emotions, identity, or sense of purpose, trauma therapy can help you reconnect with yourself and find meaning and fulfillment in life.

  • Symptoms of PTSD: If you experience persistent intrusive memories or flashbacks of traumatic events, avoidance of trauma-related triggers, negative changes in mood or cognition, and heightened arousal or reactivity, trauma therapy may be beneficial in helping you manage and reduce these symptoms.

Finding the Right Trauma Therapist

Finding a qualified and experienced therapist who understands the complexities of trauma and provides a safe and supportive therapeutic environment can help you heal and grow in the face of childhood trauma.

You may be wondering, how can I find a trauma therapist near me? And how can I know if a therapist is right for me? Here are some steps and things to consider:

  • Approach and Qualifications: Consider the therapeutic approach and techniques used by the therapist and whether they align with your preferences and needs. Some therapists may specialize in specific trauma-focused modalities such as EMDR or somatic experiencing, while others may have a more integrative approach.

  • Personal Connection: Building a trusting and supportive therapeutic relationship is essential for effective trauma therapy. Pay attention to how you feel during your initial interactions with the therapist and whether you feel heard, understood, and respected.

  • Accessibility and Logistics: Consider practical factors such as the therapist's location, availability, fees, and insurance coverage. Try searching terms like “trauma therapist near me” to find an expert in your area. 

At Westmoreland Psychotherapy Associates, our team of therapists is dedicated to providing personalized care in a safe and supportive environment. If you're ready to take the next step towards healing, we encourage you to reach out to us today. Together, we can embark on a journey of healing and growth, empowering you to reclaim your life and build a brighter future.


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