Trauma Process Groups

Trauma Process Groups
Steps Recovery Center recognizes how vital the mind, body, and spirit are in their connection to the whole person. We take a holistic approach to treating trauma that includes treating the whole person, and find that it tends to be more successful, especially since trauma affects every aspect of a person’s life. With a customized and individualized program, a holistic approach just makes sense. It affords an opportunity to meet the patient’s physical and psychological needs and allows them to engage physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Understanding Trauma
Trauma is a response to a deeply disturbing event that can diminish a person’s ability to cope, makes them feel helpless, deteriorates their self-esteem, and makes it difficult to experience a full range of emotions. Although there are no objective criteria to evaluate which events will result in trauma, circumstances generally involve betrayal, loss of control, abuse of power, pain, helplessness, confusion, and loss. The traumatic event doesn’t have to arise from war, natural disaster, or personal assault to impact a person profoundly. Traumatic situations that cause post-trauma symptoms vary from person to person, so it’s important to keep in mind that it’s defined more by a response than triggers.
Acute Stress Disorder vs. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur after a person experiences or witnesses a terrifying event. Symptoms generally include flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive, distorted thoughts of the event. However, not every person with trauma develops this disorder.  If someone develops a few PTSD symptoms, but they go away after a few weeks, they may have Acute Stress Disorder (ASD). Moreover, some individuals with PTSD don’t present symptoms until months after the traumatic event. While ASD is temporary, some people may live with PTSD for life. Untreated PTSD can escalate to panic attacks, depression, suicidal ideation, drug abuse, isolation, and the inability to complete daily tasks. 
Trauma Group Therapy
A person who lives with trauma will need to cultivate a sense of safety, which they can achieve by processing experiences, developing healthy coping mechanisms, and creating a safety plan. They can participate in trauma group therapy, where a therapist will help them maneuver the three stages of the trauma healing journey.  The three stages of PTSD/trauma healing are:
  1. Self-care and Acceptance After a person experiences a traumatic event, they may experience dissociation, anxiety, and mistrust, so they will need time to stabilize. They will need to relearn self-care to heal, but they don’t have to go through this step alone. Self-care training in a group setting can provide a person with moral support, and then they will be able to ease back into their daily routine.
  2. Sharing Experiences in the Survivor Stage PTSD symptoms, such as intrusive thoughts, emotional reactivity, irritability, heightened arousal, and depression, can be challenging to navigate alone. By checking in with others in a similar situation, a person can learn healthy ways to cope as well as give advice to others. Group therapy focuses on both the unique and shared experiences of the group’s members. Sharing different philosohies, perspectives, and coping strategies can help trauma survivors move forward.
  3. The Thriving Stage Although trauma shapes a survivor’s story, it’s important to cherish all that transcends it. Once the group makes progress, they will move into the thriving stage, which is when individuals explore identities outside of their trauma. The discovery process includes searching for fulfilling and creative recreational activities that can provide individuals with joy and purpose.For some people, PTSD treatment may include staying at an inpatient treatment center where they can receive personal care, which includes counseling and medication.