Trinity specializes in treating trauma, PTSD and survivors of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse.
What is trauma?
Trauma is a challenge that’s often misunderstood. While most of the time, trauma refers to physical or sexual abuse, it can also apply to grief, severe illness, natural disasters, or even witnessed violence. In any case, trauma is an experience that prompts overwhelming feelings of helplessness and fear in an individual. Sometimes, trauma is a repeated event that becomes a pattern in someone’s life. Trauma triggers reactions of traumatic stress, or even PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). While trauma can have far-reaching effects on someone’s life, it’s important to know that it’s very possible to fully recover from the effects of trauma. Often, survivors of trauma are able to gain peace and understanding which enables them to be a force for good, and a blessing to everyone they interact with.
What effects can trauma have?
Symptoms of trauma include vivid flashbacks wherein the individual is mentally trapped back in the situation that prompted the distress. Sometimes these flashbacks occur while the individual is awake, and they’re triggered by smells, sounds, or sights that remind them of the traumatic memory.
Other times, flashbacks are dreams, and this interruption to sleep can lead to insomnia, stress, and depression. Other side effects of trauma include an avoidance of things that could possibly prompt flashbacks. This often leads to major changes in behavior and a tendency to numb emotional reactions. Trauma can also cause an individual to be in a constant state of hyperarousal. Individuals who have experienced trauma may seem anxious, distracted, over-sensitive, and easily startled.
Studies have shown that about half of children and teens who experience trauma develop a substance abuse disorder at some point in their lives. Often, this is because they turn to certain substances to self-medicate and treat symptoms of trauma. Productive counseling that helps youth properly process trauma can prevent addiction and arm teens with the tools they need in order to overcome trauma and break harmful patterns that reinforce the harmful side effects of trauma.
How is it treated?
One of the most common and effective methods of treatment for trauma is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR. EMDR is an approach that includes many aspects of counseling, with a three-pronged goal to give patients immediate solutions for dealing with the past, managing current behaviors and reactions to triggers, and planning for the future. EMDR’s key strategy is to understand and counter harmful patterns of behavior and thought that trauma can induce, like feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or a lack of control. EMDR also monitors physical reactions like eye movements in order to resolve memories, revisiting them and changing the internal narrative of those events in order to find strength and meaning instead of terror and helplessness. For example, a survivor’s perspective towards an event of sexual abuse may transform from guilt and self-disgust into “I am strong enough to survive this.”
We find that incorporating our unique Christian perspective during EMDR can greatly assist in enabling girls to gain peace and healing after experiencing trauma. Of course, proper treatment of trauma includes a personalized and multi-faceted approach, working with the patient to resolve the memories without betraying comfort or trust. Here at Trinity Teen, we have experience with trauma counseling. We understand that it can be a hard process, but we pride ourselves on creating a safe space where girls can come to terms with their past and turn it instead into a strength that can build their compassion, self worth, and relationship with God.
Our small, all-girls, adolescent, Christian, residential treatment facility gives girls the space and time they need in order to reach true healing, and our experienced counselors can help girls build the internal resources that will continue to strengthen and bless them when they return home.