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  • Writer's picturetraceymbrittain

How to find a therapist for trauma


Boy looking lost because he needs to find an EMDR therapist near me

Trauma is a concept often misconceived, often evoking images of war veterans waking up in bed with a cold sweat after a battle. While such experiences certainly constitute trauma, it can manifest in subtler ways too. Have you ever witnessed someone reacting disproportionately to a seemingly innocuous comment? For example, when a partner mentions, "We're overdrawn at the bank; we might need to tighten our budget this month," and the response carries an unexpected intensity, like, "Why are we here. the car is too expensive, it needed a tire replacement the other day." This heightened reaction could be a sign of underlying trauma. While tire replacements are a common part of car ownership, someone with unresolved trauma might struggle to approach the issue calmly.

What Actually Is Trauma?

Trauma leaves an imprint on our neural pathways. While talking therapies can be beneficial, they also have the potential to reopen emotional wounds with each retelling of the traumatic event. In certain cases, conventional talk therapies may prove ineffective. This is where specialised techniques like EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) and Brainspottting come into play, offering critical tools for trauma treatment. These techniques work by desensitising the emotional aspects of traumatic memories, triggering chemical changes that release the emotional hold on the brain.

Robbers pointing guns in black masks at a girl who is traumatised
Trauma can imprint not just the situation itself. It can be smells, colours or shapes

Consider a scenario where someone was robbed in a traumatic incident. The robbers have black masks and one of the guns has orange in it. The brain will record a specific detail out the incident which is coded as a trauma. In this example a person would likely experience a strong emotional reaction every time they encounter the colour orange or if someone is wearing a black Covid mask. Trauma can even imprint with just a smell. However, undergoing EMDR therapy can help diminish these emotional responses, allowing the individual to regain control over their emotions. Trauma can manifest in various scenarios, including:

1. A strong belief that there is a threat to life

2. Threat or significant loss (e.g., loss of a loved one, financial troubles)

3. A Pre-existing "Damaged Landscape" in the brain, making a person more prone and vulnerable to trauma due to previous traumatic experiences.

What Happens If You Don't Seek Counselling for Trauma? The expansive ripple effects

When trauma remains unaddressed and untreated, it casts a wide net of detrimental consequences that can permeate every aspect of an individual's life. The repercussions are not limited to the immediate aftermath of the traumatic event; they can persist and intensify over time, profoundly affecting one's mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Here's an in-depth look at the expansive ripple effect of untreated trauma:

Development of Mental Health Issues: Untreated trauma often serves as a fertile ground for the germination of various mental health issues. Conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety disorders can emerge or worsen. These conditions can be debilitating, significantly impairing one's ability to function in daily life.

Strained Relationships: Trauma can cast a long shadow over personal relationships. Unresolved trauma can lead to difficulties in connecting with others, emotional detachment, and mistrust. Individuals grappling with trauma may inadvertently push away loved ones or struggle to form and maintain meaningful connections. Partners with trauma tend to blame things on the other partner alot.

Overwhelming Reactions to Specific Triggers: Trauma creates sensitivities to triggers that are associated with the traumatic event. These triggers can be seemingly innocuous, such as a certain smell, a particular sound, or a specific location. When encountered, these triggers can elicit intense emotional and physical reactions, causing extreme distress.

Sleep Disturbances: Trauma has a way of infiltrating even the peaceful realms of sleep. Nightmares, night sweats, and recurring flashbacks can disrupt sleep patterns, leaving individuals fatigued, emotionally drained, and prone to other health issues.

Impaired Focus and Concentration: The relentless intrusion of traumatic memories and emotions can scatter one's focus and impair their ability to concentrate. This can affect performance at work or school, potentially leading to academic and career setbacks.

Anxiety and Panic Attacks: Untreated trauma can lay the foundation for debilitating anxiety disorders. Individuals may experience persistent anxiety, hypervigilance, and panic attacks, which can strike suddenly and without warning, intensifying the cycle of distress.

Physical Health Implications: The impact of untreated trauma is not confined to the mind alone. Prolonged stress associated with trauma can take a toll on physical health, potentially leading to chronic conditions such as heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, and autoimmune disorders.

Substance Abuse and Coping Mechanisms: In an attempt to self-medicate and escape the emotional turmoil caused by trauma, individuals may turn to substances or maladaptive coping mechanisms, such as self-harm. These actions can exacerbate the existing challenges and create new ones.

Interference with Daily Functioning: The cumulative effect of these consequences can significantly interfere with an individual's ability to lead a fulfilling and functional life. Everyday tasks may become overwhelming, leading to isolation, unemployment, and a diminished quality of life.

Recognising the profound and far-reaching consequences of untreated trauma underscores the critical importance of seeking timely and effective intervention. Trauma therapy, guided by trained professionals, can help individuals navigate the complex terrain of their trauma, mitigate its effects, and pave the way for healing, resilience, and a brighter future. Remember, you don't have to face the challenges of untreated trauma alone; support and assistance are available to help you or your loved ones reclaim a sense of well-being and peace.

How to Find the Right Therapist for Trauma

Effective trauma therapy requires specialised skills, and when searching for a therapist, consider the following factors:

1. Resourcing Abilities: A therapist should empower you with resilience to confront trauma.

2. Skill in Handling Shutdowns: Some traumas can cause clients to shut down; an experienced therapist can guide them back.

3. Detective Work: Identifying the root causes of trauma often involves unravelling subtle triggers. A skilled therapist can navigate these complexities and use the techniques to seek out the source of a trauma. Often if the key trauma is identified it will collapse many others that are related to it.

EMDR Therapy near me

4. Accreditation: Ensure the therapist holds proper accreditation in EMDR or Brainspottting. The EMDR Association is a reliable resource for qualified practitioners to find fully qualified EMDR therapists accredited by the EMDR Association. EMDR therapists UK is also another helpful resource found at

Trauma Therapy for Children: Finding Child Counselling Near Me

When seeking trauma therapy for children, specific considerations come into play when selecting a therapist:

EMDR Children Training is essential: Ensure you find a therapist who has received specialised training in EMDR for children and is available for child counselling near me.

Background in Children's Therapy: Look for therapists with a background in working with children to ensure the best child counselling experience. Look for CCPE training or Metanoia in child counselling

Play Therapies

Play therapy is an invaluable asset when it comes to helping children understand and process their emotions, especially in the context of trauma. Here's why it's so important:

Child-Centric Communication: Children often struggle to express their feelings and thoughts verbally. Play therapy provides a safe and non-threatening space for them to communicate using toys, art, and other mediums. Therapists trained in play therapy can interpret these expressions, helping children confront and cope with their trauma.

Emotional Expression: Traumatic experiences can stir up a whirlwind of emotions in children, from fear and anger to confusion and sadness. Play therapy allows them to externalise these emotions through creative play, giving therapists insight into their inner world and enabling them to work through these complex feelings.

Safe Exploration: Trauma can leave children feeling powerless and vulnerable. Play therapy empowers them to regain a sense of control by making choices within the therapy session. They can explore challenging situations and scenarios in a controlled environment, which can lead to healing and increased self-esteem.

Healing through Metaphor: Children often use toys and imaginative play to create metaphors for their experiences. A dollhouse may represent their home life, and figurines may symbolise family members. By manipulating these symbols during play therapy, children can gain perspective and develop a deeper understanding of their trauma.

Building Trust: Establishing trust between the child and therapist is crucial in any counselling near me. Play therapy fosters a strong therapeutic alliance as children feel heard, respected, and supported in a non-judgmental environment. This trust is essential for the healing process to begin.

Play therapy is a powerful tool in child

Child feeling free of trauma and allowing herself to be a chld
Feeling free from Trauma

counselling, especially for young trauma survivors. It provides a safe, expressive, and healing space where children can process their emotions, regain a sense of control, and work through their trauma with the guidance of a trained therapist. When searching for child counselling near me, consider therapists with expertise in play therapy to provide your child with the best possible care. Play therapies can also be expressed as sand tray or drawing therapies too.


Strong reactions normally are linked to trauma. To deal with trauma you need to desensitisation the memories which cannot be achieved in talking therapies alone. You will need to find a qualified EMDR therapist or engage someone who can perform brainspottting therapy. If you are getting trauma therapies for a child, ensure they have a specific EMDR child accreditation and have a strong history of training with children.

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