How to Process and Work Through Past Trauma

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Introduction

Understanding the profound impact trauma can have on mental health is essential as we navigate the process of working through past traumas.

Trauma, which occurs when experiences overpower an individual's ability to cope, can significantly affect one's emotional health.

Its effects often ripple through thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, shaping the very core of an individual's psychological landscape.

Recognizing the profound impact of trauma on mental health paves the way for a transformative path for healing and building resilience.


Trauma & PTSD Therapists in Colorado

Bethany Cantrell, LPC

Bethany Cantrell, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Vanessa Dewitt, LCSW

Vanessa Dewitt, LCSW

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Felicia Gray, MS, LPC

Felicia Gray, MS, LPC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Clarissa Mendez, LSW

Clarissa Mendez, LSW

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Jackie Erwin, LPC

Jackie Erwin, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Laura Hunt, LPC

Laura Hunt, LPC

Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Mackenzie Batson, LPCC

Mackenzie Batson, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Sierra Brown, SWC

Sierra Brown, SWC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Tracey Lundy, LCSW

Tracey Lundy, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374

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Self-Reflection and Healing Practices


Journaling

Self-reflection and healing practices play a significant role in processing past trauma.

One effective method is journaling about traumatic experiences.

By putting your thoughts and feelings on paper, you can gain clarity, process emotions, and track your progress.


Examples of Journaling:

  • Free Writing - Set aside dedicated time each day to write freely without worrying about grammar or structure. Allow your thoughts and emotions to flow onto the page without judgment. This can help you process difficult feelings and gain insights into your experiences.

  • Prompt-Based Journaling - Use prompts to guide your writing and focus on specific aspects of your traumatic experiences. For example, you could write about a significant memory, how the trauma has impacted your relationships, or what coping strategies have been helpful for you.

  • Emotion Tracking - Create a mood journal where you record your emotions throughout the day. Note any triggers or patterns you observe related to your trauma and reflect on how these emotions influence your well-being.

  • Letter Writing - Address a letter to yourself, a trusted friend, or even the source of your trauma (without sending it). Write honestly about your feelings, thoughts, and desires for healing. This exercise can be cathartic and provide a sense of release.

  • Artistic Expression - Combine journaling with art by incorporating drawings, paintings, or collages alongside your written entries. Use colors, shapes, and symbols to represent your emotions visually and explore different forms of expression beyond words.



Mindfulness and Meditation Techniques

Another powerful practice is mindfulness and meditation techniques.

These methods encourage you to be present in the moment, focus on breathing, and cultivate a sense of calm.


Examples of Mindfulness and Meditation Techniques:


  • Deep Breathing - Practice deep breathing exercises by inhaling slowly through your nose, holding your breath for a few seconds, and exhaling deeply through your mouth. Focus on the sensation of the breath entering and leaving your body to center yourself in the present moment.

  • Body Scan Meditation - Start from your toes and gradually move your awareness up through each part of your body, noting any sensations or tension you may be holding. This technique helps you tune into your body and release physical stress or discomfort.

  • Guided Imagery - Close your eyes and visualize a peaceful scene or experience that brings you comfort. Engage your senses by imagining the sights, sounds, and smells of this calming place to promote relaxation and mental clarity.

  • Mindful Walking - Take a slow walk, paying attention to each step you take and the sensations in your feet as they touch the ground. Notice the sights, sounds, and textures around you, allowing yourself to be fully present in the act of walking.

  • Body Awareness - Sit quietly and focus on different parts of your body, starting from your head down to your toes. Acknowledge any areas of tension or discomfort, and then intentionally relax those muscles to release physical stress and promote relaxation.


Engaging in Creative Expression

Engaging in creative expression is also a valuable tool for healing.

Creative outlets allow you to channel emotions in a non-verbal way, explore new perspectives, and reconnect with your inner self.


Examples of Engaging in Creative Expression for Healing:


  • Visual Arts - Explore painting, drawing, or sketching as a form of creative expression. Let your emotions guide your artwork without worrying about perfection. Use colors and shapes to convey your feelings and experiences visually.

  • Writing - Engage in creative writing through poetry, storytelling, or journaling. Express your thoughts and emotions through words, allowing yourself the freedom to explore different writing styles and genres to capture your innermost feelings.

  • Music - Play an instrument, sing, or create playlists that reflect your emotional journey. Music can serve as a powerful outlet for processing trauma and connecting with your emotions on a deeper level. Experiment with different genres and melodies to find what resonates with you.

  • Dance and Movement - Express yourself through dance or movement exercises. Allow your body to move freely, releasing tension and connecting with your emotions physically. Dance therapy can help you express unspoken emotions and promote healing through movement.

  • Crafts and DIY Projects - Engage in hands-on activities such as knitting, woodworking, or crafting. Creating something with your hands can be a meditative practice that allows you to channel your energy into a tangible creation while fostering a sense of accomplishment and self-expression.


Forgiveness and Moving Forward

Forgiveness plays a vital role in our journey towards healing and growth.

Understanding the power of forgiveness enables us to free ourselves from the chains of resentment and anger that bind us to past hurt.

Letting go of these negative emotions allows us to embrace a path of healing and renewal, paving the way for inner peace and emotional freedom.

As we choose to forgive, we open ourselves to the possibility of moving forward with resilience and grace.

This act of forgiveness is not just about others but also about ourselves—it is an act of self-compassion and self-liberation.



Therapy Options for Trauma Processing

Here are some straightforward therapy choices you can consider:


1. Individual Therapy - This involves one-on-one sessions with a therapist who can provide personalized support tailored to your needs.

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) - CBT helps you identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors related to trauma, promoting healthier coping mechanisms.

3. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) - EMDR uses bilateral stimulation to process traumatic memories and reduce their emotional impact.

4. Group Therapy - Participating in group sessions with others who have experienced trauma can offer a sense of community and shared understanding.

5. Art Therapy - Using creative expression through art can help you explore and communicate emotions related to trauma in a non-verbal way.

6. Mindfulness-Based Therapy - Practices like mindfulness meditation can help you stay grounded in the present moment and manage overwhelming thoughts and feelings.

7. Body-Oriented Therapies - Techniques like yoga or somatic experiencing focus on the connection between the mind and body to address trauma holistically.

8. Narrative Therapy - This approach helps you reframe your trauma story in a more empowering and constructive light, fostering resilience and self-understanding. 


Finding the Right Therapist

When seeking the right therapist for your mental health needs, consider Overcomers Counseling as a supportive resource.

Our group of licensed counselors and skilled nurse practitioners is committed to supporting your health and wellness.

With a compassionate approach to therapy, Overcomers Counseling offers individual, relationship, and group therapy services as well as virtual options for convenience.


Benefits of Trauma-Informed Therapy

Trauma-informed therapy offers personalized care that focuses on your unique experiences and needs.

By providing a safe and supportive environment, this approach helps you feel heard and understood as you work through past traumas.

Additionally, trauma-informed therapy empowers you to build coping skills and resilience to navigate challenges effectively.

Overall, trauma-informed therapy offers a compassionate and holistic approach to supporting your journey towards recovery and emotional wellness.


Get Matched to the Right Provider

Complete this questionnaire to discover service providers that match your requirements! No need to provide contact information.


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Conclusion

It's evident that releasing negative emotions and embracing forgiveness is pivotal for healing and growth.

By letting go of resentment and anger, one can pave the way for inner peace and emotional freedom.

Moving forward, staying connected to support systems, practicing self-care, and seeking professional guidance can further nurture the path to emotional well-being and resilience.

This ongoing journey of healing is a testament to inner strength and the capacity for growth beyond past experiences. 



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July 13th, 2024

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