Trauma Therapy and Counseling
If you or someone is in danger or needs immediate assistance, please call 911 or local emergency services.
How Do I Know When to Get Help?
The Southwest Family Advocacy Center has highly trained trauma counselors on-site to provide crisis management and short-term counseling. Trauma can affect anyone at any age. The effects can be mild or severe, creating extreme psychological issues. Any symptoms of trauma should be taken seriously. In some cases, however, the effects of trauma can manifest months and even years after the event, so in actuality, it can be difficult to recognize the symptoms. Often people feel they are weak for needing help, especially when they compare themselves to others who may have endured the same traumatic experience. But it is important to remember that everyone reacts differently to trauma and there is no guideline as to how and what someone should feel. What we do know is that the sooner you work through your symptoms of trauma, the better chance you have for a full recovery and to be free of the effects of these events. If left unresolved, emotional trauma can affect your daily choices and functioning and ultimately, it can manifest into serious psychological disorders with lasting effects. Just as we need help to heal the physical effects of trauma, we also need help to heal the emotional wounds. Counseling offers a safe and supportive environment to work through these issues.
Counseling for the Resolution of Trauma
Working with a trauma trained counselor to address the effects of trauma can be a confusing and frightening task to begin. Whether the events occurred in childhood, five years ago, or last week, the impact of these troubling situations is not something we are taught how to resolve. Often, the thought of going through the events again and seemingly reliving the tragedy may appear more than we can bear. When you work with a Southwest Family Advocacy Center counselor who has been professionally trained in the resolution for trauma, he or she understands this apprehension and is committed to working through these issues.
Many times, we learn how to cope and manage the symptoms of trauma. Whether this is learning to calm ourselves when we experience a panic attack upon the reminder of an event or seeking solace in our friends when we experience depression or sadness over the effects of the trauma. While these are important and helpful methods to manage the symptoms, a trauma counselor focuses on the stabilization of the originating feelings and emotions that require coping skills in the future. If individuals have a lack of safety or security as a result of an event that left them exposed, vulnerable, or violated, trauma counseling begins by establishing a sense of safety for the individual.
Healing and Recovering Together
Does every child who is sexually abused need treatment?
At the very least, sexual abuse is very confusing for a child. Often there's an investigation that requires the child to speak to a police officer or other professional. It's helpful for parents and children to have support from a mental health professional and assistance in understanding the abuse and reactions to it. In many cases, a child may not need lengthy, intensive therapy, but it's helpful for the child and parent to sit down with a trained professional and talk through what has happened, to make sure the child understands and feels safe talking about his or feelings. Children may blame themselves or hold other unrealistic ideas or beliefs about the abuse that needs to be corrected. (Information provided by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network).
Parents may also benefit from talking to a professional who can assist them in overcoming the distress naturally associated with discovering that their child has been sexually abused. Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the approach that is provided at the Southwest Family Advocacy Center. This approach involves parents and children and is evidence-based showing that many children and parents effectively recover and may feel stronger and closer as a family in the aftermath of a traumatic experience.
Megan Tennant, MAC, LPC
As a Master’s level Licensed Associate Counselor and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, I have made healing the wounds of trauma my life’s endeavor. I utilize Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) as my primary treatment modalities. Using evidenced-based treatment modalities has been proven to decrease symptoms related trauma, and in many cases, therapy can restore clients to their prior levels of health and functioning. The overall goals of trauma therapy include increased knowledge regarding one’s ability to process traumatic events, increased coping skills, enhanced safety and prevention to decrease future vulnerabilities.