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Trauma counselling

Trauma is a term which is often used in the context of major physical damage to the body or in connection with significant psychological events that can lead to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Examples of PTSD can include car crashes or life-threatening events. A number of Priory clinics offer support, trauma counselling and trauma care.

These events can result in profound psychological disturbance. Such significant occurrences which lead to these issues can be termed ‘big T trauma’ but there are also other types of trauma. For people suffering from trauma, care and support can go a long way.

Experiences associated with trauma

From a young age, children take in a lot of emotional information which is locked in a certain part of their brain. This can influence their emotional development at later points in their life. Some of this can be very positive, such as loving and nurturing, while other types can be more distressing. This is what can be termed ‘small T trauma’.

This is not to diminish it but to distinguish it from ‘big T trauma’. Often, the experiences that a child has, especially if they are negative, can have quite a profound effect on their emotional development. These are often not attributed to single events but multiple events. These events can lead to people reacting in certain ways in later life and can result in some people with ‘small T trauma’ attempting to control their feelings by using substances or developing addictive behaviours.

Treatment and therapy for trauma

Priory's trauma programme has been devised to try and help individuals to deal with the underlying emotional problems that can develop from ‘small T trauma’.

When a person is first referred for treatment, the initial problem needs to be acknowledged. This might be their alcohol or drug dependency or behavioural addictions such as gambling, work or exercise, that have arisen as a result of trying to deal with their trauma.

These need to be dealt with first and often require an intensive treatment programme. Once this has been completed, it is possible to move on to looking at and working on their trauma. Priory uses a model of treatment devised by Pia Mellody which is widely used in America and is now frequently used in the UK.

The model consists of individuals receiving a thorough assessment, and preparatory one-to-one therapy before being involved in a five-day intensive group therapy programme to look at and resolve their issues. This treatment model requires a person to be abstinent from any addictions and addictive behaviours that they may have developed.

It is essential that once a person has completed this, they take part in ongoing therapy. Therefore, the trauma programme does not work in isolation but is part of a complete treatment package to help to reduce and resolve some of the emotional stress that a person experiences in their daily life. 

Some people experience traumatic reactions when they are not actively misusing drugs and alcohol but still carry the problems of addiction with them. For example, adult children of alcoholics have grown up in an environment of addiction and have been emotionally damaged by this. The trauma programme, which allows them to let go of some of their symptoms, can be very helpful in this type of context.

The trauma programme is an integral part of the treatment of patients who are suffering with emotional problems that might originally have presented with addiction but have their roots in traumatic childhood experiences. The outcomes and results from Priory's trauma programme have been positive and it continues to be a useful technique in the treatment of these difficult emotional areas.

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding Trauma counselling, please call 0800 840 3219. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here