Trauma Therapy in Toronto
Psychological trauma is damage to the psyche as a response to a distressing event in one’s life. This may be a result of a single traumatic experience, or an enduring or repeating event or events that completely overwhelm one’s ability to cope.
Symptoms of trauma or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can include:
- Panic attacks
- Unexplained nausea
- Consistent headaches
- Unpredictable emotions
- Alcohol and substance abuse
- Inability to trust others or the world
Trauma leaves measurable changes in the brain. Brain scans have shown discernable differences between people who have experienced trauma and one’s who have not. These differences may leave you feeling “stuck” in trauma, thinking about the event without being able to make sense of it or move on.
What are the three types of trauma?
There are three main types of trauma:
Acute trauma refers to a single traumatic experience. This can include events like:
- Sudden grief
- Car accidents
- Serious injury
- Sexual assault
- Natural disasters
- Witnessing a violent event
- Being in a physical altercation
Because the event is so overwhelming, one’s nervous system turns on its ‘threat response’. If this response does not turn off, it continues to tell the individual they should be on high alert long after the danger has passed. This causes maladaptive patterns that result in deep distress.
Chronic trauma is the result of ongoing abusive experiences. These experiences include:
- Domestic violence/ongoing abuse
- Prolonged bullying
- Exposure to war and combat
- Exposure to repeated natural disasters
Unlike acute trauma, symptoms of which usually surface within weeks, symptoms of chronic trauma may lie underneath the surface for years. Those who experienced chronic trauma may deny their experience, avoid it, or rationalize it.
Complex trauma is a result of ongoing trauma experienced most often by children. When a child is profoundly neglected or abused, their emotional and identity development may be negatively altered. Complex trauma can negatively affect:
- The immune system
- Self-worth and self-concept
- The ability to form secure attachments
- Cognitive development/reasoning skills
- A healthy development of stress response systems
- The ability to understand and communicate emotions
Children who experience complex trauma may also experience frequent dissociation and are more likely to develop chronic medical conditions.
Can you fully heal from trauma?
Healing from trauma can seem like an impossible feat, but you can learn to trust others, feel safe, and take control of your thoughts and emotions.
Most importantly, to get past trauma, you need to accept help and support. This may seem difficult, as trauma often teaches people to isolate and not to trust others, but it is necessary for recovery.
Support looks different to everyone. Some prefer to reach out to close friends or family members. Others seek out support from professionals. You may consider both therapeutic and personal support.
Post-traumatic growth is possible. You can find personal strength, learn to relate to others, and regain an appreciation for life.
Remember to be patient with yourself; recovery is not a smooth and linear process. Progress is usually very gradual, and there will be ups and downs. Be patient with yourself, there is no ‘right’ way to heal!
What type of therapy is best for trauma?
With therapeutic support for your trauma you can begin to move through the phases of trauma recovery. You can regain a sense of safety, process the events you’ve experienced and reconnect with others and yourself.
Trauma-focused therapies are designed to help you treat the emotional and mental health consequences of trauma. Trauma therapists emphasize empowerment, choice, collaboration, safety, and trustworthiness in every session.
Common types of trauma-focused therapies include:
- Psychodynamic Therapy
- Prolonged Exposure Therapy
- Cognitive Processing Therapy
- Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy
- Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing
Trauma therapy can help you:
- Identify your trauma triggers
- Boost your energy and mood
- Feels safe in the world again
- Diminish the chance of relapse
- Develop healthy coping mechanisms
- Recognize the impact your trauma had on you
- Take practical steps towards self-empowerment
- Find ways to deal with the reality of your trauma in a safe space
- Help get you ‘un-stuck’ from the past, and focus on the present and future
Although trauma can feel all-encompassing, with purposeful intervention, you can learn how to access joy and thrive!
How does trauma therapy work at KMA Therapy?
Trauma therapy at KMA Therapy begins with a 50-minute introductory session with one of our intake counsellors.
In these 50 minutes, we will ask important questions to determine the severity and treatment approach needed to overcome your trauma:
- How does trauma show up in your life?
- What are your closest relationships like?
- How are you currently coping with your trauma?
- How long have you experienced symptoms of trauma?
Here at KMA Therapy, we believe it’s important that we get to know you so that your trauma therapist is the right fit. The consultation is also a wonderful time to address any questions you may have.
We will provide you with a customised ‘plan of action’. It includes the recommended trauma therapist who is best equipped to help you, as well as any additional testing or psychological services we feel would be helpful.
Please know that your treatment will always be in your control. Although you may be encouraged to open up, you will never be forced to talk about anything or take part in any treatment you are not on board with.
Get started with trauma therapy today
KMA Therapy has five locations throughout Toronto and we offer online therapy, too. To learn more about trauma therapy, give us a call at 416 487 6288 or fill out our registration form below to have our care coordinator reach out with more information. You can also book a session with us directly.
If you want to learn about other mental health concerns, visit our issues page.
If you’re unsure if you are dealing with the effects of trauma, read How Do I Know if I Have Trauma?
If you’d like to learn more about how trauma may be affecting you, check out What are the 4 Trauma Responses – and How to Cope.