Trauma-Focused Treatment

What Is Trauma?

Trauma can come in many different forms. There are big T traumas that include sexual assaults, military combat, natural disasters, or other experiences where your life was in physical danger. However, there are also little t traumas that include constant experiences of abandonment, rejection, or other more personal experiences of trauma. Both can cause a fight-flight-freeze trauma response.

Our Trauma Treatment Philosophy

Our approach to trauma treatment is based on years of research showing that what is most helpful in learning how to cope and deal with traumatic stressors is being able to create new learning experiences. We often tell patients who experience a range of trauma reactions that the very reaction that helped you survive the trauma (e.g. fighting, shutting down your emotions, staying isolated, etc.) can also be the very thing that keeps us from our healing now. What worked in one context may not work in another and what worked when your life was at risk may not be working in more objectively safe situations – though that may not always feel to be the case. Thus, our goal at COPE is to 1) have compassion for the reaction that was developed in the context of the stressor, 2) examine the effectiveness of that reaction currently, and 3) develop a more balanced and accurate approach to your current life circumstances.

How Can Cope Help?

Many providers at COPE have been extensively trained in treating PTSD or trauma reactions. Psychologists at COPE primarily utilize Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure for treating the trauma. Although these treatments are often less known in the community compared to other treatments (i.e. EMDR), these treatments have a strong evidence-base and are the front line treatments in various academic medical centers (e.g. VA Hospitals, UCLA, etc.) throughout the country. If interested in learning more about how these treatments may be right for you, please contact us for more information.

What About Eye Movement Desensitization Record (EMDR)?

Although EMDR is quite a popular treatment for trauma, we at COPE emphasize the importance of evidence-based research. Per the American Psychological Association, the research on the effectiveness is controversial and the actual mechanisms of change may not actually be the eye movement piece of treatment, but the exposure to the trauma. Thus, we at COPE implement other trauma treatments, such as Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure that directly target what has shown to be effective in trauma treatment. For more information on EMDR from the American Psychological Association, click here.

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