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Why Talk Therapy Doesn’t Resolve Trauma… And What Does

Why Talk Therapy Doesn’t Resolve Trauma… And What Does

It’s no secret that recovering from a traumatic event on your own can feel like an impossible task. Or ignoring the trauma can make you feel like you’re making progress only to have it resurface at the most inopportune times. And if you’ve shared your struggles with loved ones, they’ve likely recommended therapy.

Sure, everyone means well with this suggestion. We’re certainly not saying it’s bad to discuss mental health—the shift towards open-mindedness around therapy is one of the best things to happen recently.

The problem is that talk therapy (and CBT, practicing mindfulness, and psychotherapy) are, quite frankly, not always effective for trauma recovery.

This little-known fact means sometimes, seeking talk therapy for resolving trauma just makes you feel worse… and that’s hard to accept, let alone share with the people who supported this decision.

That’s why we put together this blog on why traditional talk therapy alone doesn’t resolve trauma, and what does. You deserve to reclaim your wellness in the most effective, safe, and constructive setting possible.

Most importantly, you have the power to move forward from the burden of trauma you’re currently shouldering. It’s just locked up inside you, where you can’t yet access it.

All you need is the right key to open the door… and that key just might be somatic therapy.

Talk Therapy vs. Somatic Therapy for Trauma

In terms of cold, hard facts, studies show that talk therapy can help treat PTSD and trauma.

The thing is, the vast majority of these studies aren’t very recent or comprehensive—most were conducted before 2010.

Since 2010, more comprehensive, in-depth research has shown that talk therapy for trauma is just not effective a lot of the time.

The easiest way to understand why talk therapy doesn’t resolve trauma is to picture a lake. Traditional therapy teaches you to tread water in that lake. You’re not likely to drown, but you also can’t make progress toward cleaning up the area when all you can do is literally stay afloat.

With somatic therapy, you’re learning how to scuba dive. You’re equipped with all the tools and training to swim down to the bottom of that lake and finally clear up the debris that’s polluting the waters.

You Just Can’t Talk Your Way Through Trauma

When you’re looking for a trauma therapist, it’s normal to imagine what sessions might be like.

One of the most common questions we hear is, “Will I have to speak at length or in-depth about my trauma?”

Because many of us have recovered from our own past trauma, we understand just how debilitating these blow-by-blow recaps can be for many people. Plus, thanks to data and our own experiences, we know first-hand how much more effective somatic modalities can be.

Effectiveness of Somatic Therapy for Trauma

Let’s start with answering the question we hear most often, which is, “What is somatic therapy?”

Somatic therapy is an umbrella term that includes quite a few different therapeutic approaches. But at its core, somatic therapy means using your body and its reactions as a roadmap for healing both emotional and physiological symptoms.

Whether you’ve dealt with physical trauma, emotional trauma, or both, somatic therapy can restore your overall equilibrium and ability to remain healthy and regulated in the face of stressful situations. It’s not just our personal experiences supporting this theory—data backs it up, too:

How Somatic Trauma Therapy Works

At Holistic Mental Health Counseling, we operate quite a bit differently than other therapy practices. When you choose us for trauma therapy, we get to know you and your needs first. Then, we create a somatic treatment plan designed to eradicate the roots of your trauma, which can involve any of these approaches:

  • IFS therapy: Short for Internal Family Systems, we employ this evidence-based modality to reconcile between different “parts” or “sides” of you. IFS teaches you about the many facets of your deepest self and how to integrate them so you can stop self-sabotaging behaviors from holding you back. Many of the unhealthy coping mechanisms we developed in the face of overwhelming trauma can hijack our behaviors and thoughts. In IFS therapy, you can come face to face with the parts of you that are holding you back and integrate them into useful, healthy, and helpful behaviors that support your growth and development.
  • Brainspotting therapy: This evolution of EMDR allows you to safely process and release neurophysiological sources of emotional trauma, pain, anxiety, and more. This rewires your brain to no longer produce excessive stress chemicals when you’re reminded of past trauma.
  • AEDP therapy: Short for Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy, this involves your therapist closely guiding you through current stress triggers and unlinking them from past trauma, and unwanted learned physiological responses. Ultimately, your body’s sensations work as a compass throughout the healing process, guiding you to resolve unwanted symptoms.

These are just a few examples of our specializations at Holistic Mental Health Counseling. When you work with us to resolve trauma, you can expect a 100% custom-built treatment plan based entirely on your needs and goals.

We Know Because We’ve Been There

The truth is, there’s no such thing as ‘perfection’ when it comes to mental health. In fact, one recent study found that 94% of mental health therapists have either attended therapy for themselves in the past or are currently seeing a counselor.

Your gut reaction to this information may be doubt or even suspicion as to whether a somatic therapist for trauma can even help you—something like, “If they’re going to therapy regularly, obviously they aren’t mentally well enough to help me.”

But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

If your dentist gets a cavity, would you begrudge them for seeing another dentist to fix the issue? And more importantly, wouldn’t your therapist be better equipped to help you if they knew exactly what it was like to be a patient seeking trauma treatment?

Our experiences while seeking therapy for ourselves are one of the biggest reasons we founded Holistic Mental Health Counseling.

When we got an inside look at how somatic modalities help some of us and our patients make unparalleled  progress towards recovery in ways that talk therapy hadn’t, we realized that we had to become expertly trained in these somatic modalities and pay it forward to our clients. 
With talk therapy, we just didn’t get anywhere near the progress or results we achieved with somatic therapy. Studying data and specializing in these modalities confirmed our experiences.

Basically, whenever you go through trauma… overwhelming or humiliating situations that stick with you long-term…  they affect you on a biological level. By employing approaches that address your body and chemical processes, your brain can truly heal in a way that it can’t with talk therapy alone. Talk therapy handles the surface level issue but somatic therapy creates an environment where your brain can literally rewire itself and its neural pathways to create healthy and safe connection. Our brains are amazing and given the right advantages in a somatic therapy setting they can do just what they are designed to do; help us thrive, overcome, and move forward.

If you’re ready to stop skimming the surface of recovery— and you want to experience truly effective therapy for trauma —contact us today or call (917) 781-0041.


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