February 21, 2017

Talking Therapies. Approaches To Recovering Emotionally After A Traumatic Incident

Suffering an accident or injury is never a thing that either us or a loved one wants to go through. Suffering an injury that could be life threatening, such as through an accident or at the hands of someone else. This can cause us all sorts of severe physical or emotional trauma that may take a long time to recover from. Over the course of this article, I shall lay out two ways to help yourself or a loved one. With these ways, you can overcome issues that can result from an injury that has long term effects way after the physical wounds have healed.

Clinic Counselling SessionPicture from www.flickr.com


Room Officepic: commons.wikimedia.org

Often recommended after a severely stressful or traumatic incident. Counselling or therapy can be a way for the person to open up and discuss their issues relating to what has happened. You can be referred by a doctor for a course of therapy if medication that has been issued does not appear to contain the symptoms.

Counselling can prove to be a very good tool for a person who has not opened up about their emotional issues relating to the injury before. Therapy or counselling has proven to be successful for a lot of people that go to sessions. A typical session can last for an hour and is in a very comfortable environment. The counsellors or therapists are either people that are medically trained. Or have gained qualifications in counselling. As to the layout of the sessions, there are no specific rules or regulations. It’s just yourself and your counsellor. A lot of people feel a bit silly to begin with. This is normal and is to be expected by the counsellor, especially if the client has not been for any form of therapy before.

During the course of the sessions, the goal is to establish the route cause of the anxiety which is causing the person their issues now. For a lot of people, when it comes to going into therapy, it may take time to figure out the reason behind their anxieties. Speaking about their anxieties stemming from a difficult incident or accident, it can take time to “come round” to discussing it. Be assured that the environment is a friendly and confidential one. And if the person does not feel that they want to speak about something any further then they don’t have to.

Approaches to overcoming the issues stemming from an accident can vary. Counsellors will take a variety of approaches to the issue depending on what the person would benefit from the most. A counsellor may introduce solutions such as hypnotherapy. Or guided meditations, integrate positive self talk, CBT (more on that later). Or sometimes just discussing the issue is enough for the person. The goal is to provide a sense of closure on the subject, whatever that may be. When something that has occurred under a professional circumstance, there are those that wish to take legal action. They may feel they have been treated unjustly, or their injuries are due to some form of negligence. For example, there are people that have suffered at the hands of medical negligence. It is a very serious issue if you have suffered at the hands of a professional. If you are wanting to make a claim, looking online, or on a page such as Crucial Accident Information Facts can give you information on how to do that.

When it comes to counselling, it may be all that is required for someone to help themselves get back the confidence they once had. Some may say that the drawback of counselling is that it is not a quick fix approach to wellness. But that is something that can be said of every approach to recovery. As sessions can go on over periods of weeks, months, even years, it is the person who is having the counselling to say that their “time’s up”. That is empowering for the person and, often, is the road to a well-rounded and fulfilling life after trauma.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

man cognitive behaviourimage: www.flickr.com

Often shortened to CBT. It can be a logical follow-on from counselling sessions. It is recommended by counsellors to help the person suffering to change their perspectives, emotions and mood.

It is something that can be embarked on by someone by themselves  if counselling is not an option, for example, if they cannot afford it. However, sessions are usually undertaken under the guise of a therapist.

The procedure of CBT is that the client and the therapist speak together to find the definition of the problem, and then a goal. The goal can vary. It can be behavioral, cognitive, or physical in nature and can be defined by problem or process. There are various techniques applied to CBT, and the five most common are as follows:

  1. Socratic Questioning. This is where the client focuses on their self-awareness. This helps them to pinpoint the definition of the problem and help them overcome what may be irrational thought processes.
  2. Homework. A regular practice of CBT, clients are often assigned homework.  This may include activities in behavioral activation. As well as monitoring their thoughts, reviewing the previous CBT session. Or preparing for the next session by integrating a basic thought pattern or introducing a small goal.
  3. Self-Monitoring. This is where the client will make notes in a diary. They do this to tally up the amount of negative thoughts they have had. This can be an eye opening experience for the person, as they are seeing the amount of negative affirmations they are prone to.
  4. Behavioral Experiments. These could range from experiencing to observing, or reflecting, and planning.  These steps are conducted through thought testing, activity, observations or making discoveries about themselves.
  5. Systematic Desensitization. This is where clients are taught to relax in stressful situations. The idea is to gain perspective and understanding of your irrational thoughts, so that a sense of perspective is gained.

CBT is a very successful approach to self help, and is very popular in contemporary psychology. There are ways to do CBT yourself via websites like Neurogym if you are looking for a cheaper way to do it. CBT proves very effective to help you change your thought processes and perspectives, so it would be an asset after an emotional trauma.

There are other ways to help someone overcome a traumatic accident or incident. Other approaches to overcoming anxiety include medication. For example, antidepressants if you are suffering from “low mood” or are feeling like you are unable to cope. For those that have more severe issues, anti anxiety medication like beta blockers are prescribed.

Going through a traumatic incident doesn’t mean that the person that has suffered needs to continue to suffer any more. There are many ways to help regain confidence, such as meditation, or positive self talk. So, it goes to show that there are many ways to approach recovery from a traumatic incident.

The important thing is to encourage the person to talk, or to be a welcome shoulder of support if they need it. Although depression and anxiety are spoken of much more now, there are those that still feel they cannot discuss it. This could be an age or generational issue. A problem shared is a problem halved, and although it may not be the solution to the person’s anxiety, opening up is the first step. And if they can open up, they can start to make the first tentative steps in the right direction. Whether that is getting help for themselves by going to a doctor, therapist, or making more positive life changes.


  1. I work with trauma patients. I get them to relax and allow themselves to feel what they are feeling. More often than not, I find people are stressed because they do not allow themselves to stop and actually feel what is there.

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