How to Navigate and Manage Triggers During and Outside of Trauma-Informed Therapy Sessions

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Triggers can be a significant challenge for individuals undergoing trauma-informed therapy sessions.

They can evoke intense emotions and reactions, both during therapy and in everyday life. Learning how to navigate and manage these triggers is crucial for progress in the healing journey.

In this blog post, we will explore practical strategies for identifying, coping with, and managing triggers both during and outside of trauma-informed therapy sessions.

Trauma & PTSD Therapists in Colorado

Jennifer Wilson, LPCC, NCC

Jennifer Wilson, LPCC, NCC

Colorado
(720) 437-9089
Brooke Moraski, LPCC, NCC

Brooke Moraski, LPCC, NCC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Randal Thomas, SWC

Randal Thomas, SWC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Amber Hopf, MSW, SWP

Amber Hopf, MSW, SWP

Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Michele Ames-Hodges, PsyD, LPC

Michele Ames-Hodges, PsyD, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Katelynn Dwyer, LPCC

Katelynn Dwyer, LPCC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Seth Gibson, LPCC

Seth Gibson, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Laura Hunt, LPC

Laura Hunt, LPC

Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Lauren Day, SWC

Lauren Day, SWC

Colorado
(719) 602-1342

Identifying Triggers

  • Keep a journal: Track your thoughts, feelings, and experiences to help identify patterns or situations that lead to triggering reactions
  • Reflect on past experiences: Consider past events and circumstances that have caused intense emotional responses, as they may provide insight into potential triggers
  • Communicate with your therapist: Discuss your experiences and concerns openly with your therapist to help identify and explore triggers together

Identifying triggers is the first step toward effectively managing them. By keeping a journal, reflecting on past experiences, and communicating with your therapist, you can gain a better understanding of your triggers and work toward addressing them in a healthy and constructive manner.

Developing Coping Strategies

  • ractice grounding techniques: Utilize deep breathing, mindfulness exercises, or sensory engagement activities to help bring your focus back to the present moment
  • Create a self-soothing toolkit: Assemble a collection of comforting items or activities that can help calm and soothe you when faced with a trigger
  • Seek support: Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or your therapist when experiencing a triggering event to help process and navigate the situation

Developing coping strategies is essential for managing triggers during and outside of trauma-informed therapy sessions. By practicing grounding techniques, creating a self-soothing toolkit, and seeking support from your network, you can equip yourself with the tools necessary to navigate and manage triggering situations.

Establishing Boundaries and Building Resilience

  • Set boundaries: Communicate your needs and limits to those around you, ensuring that they are aware of and respect your boundaries
  • Develop emotional regulation skills: Work with your therapist to cultivate healthy strategies for managing and expressing emotions
  • Focus on self-care: Prioritize activities that promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being, helping to build resilience against triggers

Establishing boundaries and building resilience are crucial components of effectively managing triggers. By setting boundaries with others, developing emotional regulation skills, and focusing on self-care, you can create a solid foundation for navigating triggering situations both in and outside of therapy.

The Benefits of Understanding Your Triggers

There are many benefits to making sure you understand your triggers:

  • You can develop effective coping strategies for managing triggering situations
  • You can better articulate and communicate your needs to those around you
  • You can build emotional resilience, allowing you to respond more positively when confronted with a trigger
  • You can recognize patterns in your reactions, helping you to anticipate potential triggers and take proactive steps to manage them

By taking the time to understand your triggers, you can equip yourself with the tools necessary to navigate and manage them both during and outside of trauma-informed therapy sessions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I encounter a trigger during a therapy session?

Inform your therapist immediately if you experience a trigger during a session.

They can help guide you through grounding techniques or adjust the session's focus to ensure you feel supported and safe.

How can I prepare for potential triggers in social or public settings?

Develop a plan for coping with triggers in social or public settings.

This may include having grounding techniques or a self-soothing toolkit readily available, identifying exit strategies if needed, or enlisting the support of a trusted friend or family member.

Can I completely avoid triggers during my healing journey?

While it is natural to want to avoid triggers, complete avoidance is not always possible or productive.

Instead, focus on developing coping strategies and building resilience to help manage triggers when they arise.

How long will it take for me to become less impacted by my triggers?

The timeline for reducing the impact of triggers varies for each individual and depends on factors such as the nature of the trauma and the progress made in therapy.

Be patient with yourself and work closely with your therapist to monitor your progress.

Is it normal for new triggers to emerge during the healing process?

Yes, it is possible for new triggers to emerge as you delve deeper into your healing journey. Discuss any new triggers with your therapist, who can help you develop strategies for managing them effectively.

What if my triggers are related to everyday situations or objects?

Work with your therapist to develop coping strategies and desensitization techniques to help reduce the impact of triggers related to everyday situations or objects.

Can I expect my triggers to eventually disappear completely?

While some triggers may diminish over time as you progress in therapy and healing, others may persist but become more manageable through the development of coping strategies and increased resilience.

How can I support a loved one who is experiencing triggers?

Educate yourself about trauma and triggers, listen empathetically to your loved one's experiences, and offer non-judgmental support.

Encourage them to seek professional help if they have not already done so, and respect their boundaries and needs during triggering situations.

Take the Next Step with Overcomers Counseling

At Overcomers Counseling, our compassionate and experienced trauma-informed therapists are dedicated to helping you navigate and manage triggers both during and outside of therapy sessions.

We understand the challenges you may face and are committed to providing support, guidance, and tailored strategies for coping with triggers.

Schedule an appointment with one of our skilled therapists today, and let us help you on your path to healing. Click here to schedule your appointment.

Conclusion

Navigating and managing triggers during and outside of trauma-informed therapy sessions is a crucial aspect of the healing journey.

By identifying your triggers, developing coping strategies, and establishing boundaries and resilience, you can build a strong foundation for overcoming the challenges that triggers may present.

Remember, you are not alone on this journey, and there is hope for a brighter future. Take the first step toward healing and growth today.

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February 27th, 2024

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