The best talking counselling support for overcoming trauma

Trauma can have a profound and lasting impact on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being. Choosing the right type of talking counselling support is crucial for effective recovery. Here, we explore some of the best therapeutic approaches for overcoming trauma and provide guidance on how you can help someone suffering from its effects.

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The best talking counselling supports for trauma

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)

Overview: EMDR is a structured therapy that helps individuals process and integrate traumatic memories using bilateral stimulation, such as guided eye movements, tapping, or auditory tones.

Effectiveness: EMDR has been extensively researched and is particularly effective for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related conditions.

Process: The therapy involves an eight-phase approach that includes history taking, preparation, assessment, desensitisation, installation, body scan, closure, and re-evaluation.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Overview: CBT is a widely used therapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviours that contribute to emotional distress.

Effectiveness: CBT is effective for a wide range of conditions, including trauma, by helping individuals reframe negative thoughts and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Process: The therapy involves identifying and challenging distorted thoughts, learning new behaviours, and applying these skills in real-life situations.

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (TF-CBT)

Overview: TF-CBT is a specialised form of CBT designed specifically for treating trauma in children and adolescents, though it can be adapted for adults.

Effectiveness: It combines cognitive-behavioural principles with trauma-sensitive interventions, making it highly effective for young trauma survivors.

Process: The therapy includes psychoeducation, relaxation skills, cognitive processing, and gradual exposure to trauma memories.

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)

Overview: DBT combines cognitive-behavioural techniques with mindfulness practices to help individuals manage intense emotions and reduce self-destructive behaviours.

Effectiveness: DBT is effective for individuals with severe trauma-related symptoms, including those with borderline personality disorder (BPD).

Process: The therapy includes individual therapy, skills training, and phone coaching to help clients practise skills in real-time.

Narrative therapy

Overview: Narrative therapy helps individuals reframe their traumatic experiences by viewing them as stories that can be rewritten.

Effectiveness: This approach can be empowering, helping individuals gain a sense of control and understanding over their trauma.

Process: The therapy involves exploring and reshaping personal narratives, identifying strengths, and developing alternative, more positive stories.


How to recognise the effects of trauma

Identifying the effects of trauma can be challenging, as symptoms may vary widely among individuals. However, some common signs include:

Emotional symptoms

  • persistent sadness or depression
  • anxiety and fear
  • irritability or anger
  • feelings of guilt or shame

Cognitive symptoms

  • intrusive memories or flashbacks
  • difficulty concentrating
  • negative beliefs about oneself or the world
  • dissociation or feeling disconnected from reality

Physical symptoms

  • sleep disturbances, including insomnia or nightmares
  • fatigue or low-energy
  • physical aches and pains without a clear medical cause
  • increased startle response or hypervigilance

Behavioural symptoms

  • avoidance of places, people, or activities that remind them of the trauma
  • withdrawal from social activities and relationships
  • substance abuse or other self-destructive behaviours
  • difficulty functioning at work or school

How you can help someone suffering from trauma

If you suspect that someone is suffering from the effects of trauma, there are several ways you can offer support:

Listen and validate

  • Offer a non-judgemental, empathetic ear. Let them share their experiences at their own pace.
  • Validate their feelings and experiences without trying to “fix” them.

Encourage professional help

  • Suggest seeking help from a trained mental health professional who specialises in trauma.
  • Offer to help them find a therapist or accompany them to their first appointment if they are comfortable with it.

Promote self-care

  • Encourage them to engage in self-care activities, such as exercise, meditation, and hobbies they enjoy.
  • Help them establish a regular routine that includes healthy eating, sufficient sleep, and relaxation.

Be patient

  • Understand that recovery from trauma is a long and often non-linear process.
  • Be patient and supportive, recognising that there will be good days and bad days.

Educate yourself

  • Learn about trauma and its effects to better understand what your loved one is going through.
  • This knowledge can help you provide informed and compassionate support.

Overcoming trauma requires the right therapeutic support and a compassionate, understanding environment. Therapies such as EMDR, CBT, TF-CBT, DBT, and narrative therapy offer effective approaches for processing and healing from traumatic experiences. Recognising the signs of trauma and providing empathetic support can make a significant difference in a trauma survivor’s recovery journey. Encouraging professional help, promoting self-care, and being patient are key steps in helping someone navigate their path to healing.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Bristol BS14 & Bath BA1
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Written by Hope Therapy & Counselling Services
Bristol BS14 & Bath BA1

Hope Therapy offers UK wide, Mental Health and Wellbeing Support via Coaching, Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), EMDR, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness and Psychotherapy.

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