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Exploring Evidence-Based Trauma Therapies

trauma therapist in california

Trauma can have profound and lasting effects on an individual’s mental, emotional, and physical health. Over the years many evidence-based therapies have been developed and refined to help individuals heal from their traumatic experiences. In this blog post, we will explore just a few of the most commonly used trauma therapies, discussing how they work, and why they are preferred in clinical settings.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is another highly effective therapy for the treatment of trauma. This therapy involves the patient recalling distressing images while receiving one of several types of bilateral sensory input, such as side-to-side eye movements or hand tapping. The goal of EMDR is to allow individuals to process and integrate traumatic memories into their standard memory network. Research suggests that EMDR can be quite effective in reducing the long-term symptoms of PTSD. For detailed studies and guidelines, EMDR International Association is a valuable resource.

Somatic Experiencing (SE)

Developed by Dr. Peter Levine, Somatic Experiencing is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. SE focuses on the client’s perceived body sensations (or somatic experiences) to help them renegotiate their trauma rather than relive it. This therapy believes that the body holds onto past traumas, which are reflected in physical symptoms. Resources on training and further learning can be found on the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

TF-CBT is specifically designed for children and adolescents suffering from PTSD and other traumas. It incorporates elements of CBT with other strategies like narrative and creative arts therapy to help young people process their experiences. TF-CBT is particularly praised for its phased and respectful approach to sensitive issues. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides comprehensive resources on how TF-CBT is implemented to support the healing of young trauma survivors.

Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET)

Narrative Exposure Therapy is a short-term treatment for trauma survivors, particularly those suffering from complex and multiple trauma exposures. NET focuses on creating a chronological narrative of the individual’s life, emphasizing the traumatic experiences. This therapy helps people integrate and accept their past traumatic experiences as part of their life story, reducing the disorder’s symptom load. Insights and research on NET can be explored further on websites dedicated to trauma recovery like Psychology Tools.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that teaches individuals to accept their reactions and be present in the moment with a commitment to move forward in accordance with their values, despite the pain and stress. ACT is effective for those who experience significant emotional avoidance and behavioral inflexibility, which are common in trauma survivors. More on how ACT can be used in the treatment of trauma can be found on the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science website.


Trauma therapies are a critical component of mental health treatment, providing hope and healing to those affected by traumatic experiences. Each therapy has its strengths and is suited to different types of trauma and individual needs. Mental health professionals continually refine these therapies to improve efficacy and accessibility.

Understanding and accessing these therapies can significantly impact recovery, offering pathways out of the pain and isolation caused by trauma. To book a consultation with one of our trauma-informed psychotherapists, contact us today.


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