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Trauma-Focused Therapy

by Landmark Recovery

August 23, 2020
A woman in an individual therapy session at Lexington IOP


What exactly is trauma-focused therapy? The name may seem like a dead giveaway, but if you wonder how it works and if it will help you, we’ve got the answers.


Understanding TFT

Trauma-focused therapy (TFT) is a type of therapy that zeros in on your areas of trauma. It’s a form of talk-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that specifically addresses the devastating effects of past trauma. TFTs modus operandi is about recognizing, identifying, and understanding how specific traumatic experiences continue to have significant mental, physical, and emotional impact on your life.


TFT helps draw the connection between trauma and one’s present emotional and behavioral response patterns. By pinpointing how trauma directly affects you in your daily life, you can better process the past and adopt healthy strategies to cope in the present and future.


TFT typically runs over the course of 15 to 20 sessions, with about 80 percent of youth who undergo treatment realizing beneficial results.


Who Can Benefit From TFT?

TFT is an incomparable tool for treating survivors of childhood trauma. It is especially helpful for children, youth, or their families and caregivers who are trying to come to grips with a traumatic event. Because this therapy is designed to treat the uniquely sensitive issues of childhood trauma, it can help young individuals cope with PTSD and other mood disorders that manifest themselves as a result of violence, abuse, or grief.


However, this therapy is frequently recommended for children and youth, it can also help anyone who has experienced:


  • Isolated or repeated incidences of sexual, physical, mental, or emotional abuse
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Exposure to violence at home or in the community
  • A traumatic event, like witnessing a major car accident or a suicide


Trauma-focused talk therapy is not necessarily the best approach for treating complex PTSD, such as the trauma experienced by war veterans or victims of violent crime. Your therapist is the best person to speak to about treatment options to address your specific concerns.


TFT and Addiction

Trauma-focused therapy can be immensely beneficial for individuals suffering from mental health or addiction issues that result from childhood trauma.


Early childhood trauma can lead to unresolved feelings of anger, guilt, fear, powerlessness, numbness, and depression. In turn, these feelings can manifest themselves as destructive behaviors towards oneself and others, physical and emotional outbursts, suicidal ideation, and attempts to self-medicate or escape reality.


Because of this overwhelming desire to put distance between themselves and their trauma, many individuals turn to substance abuse. Research shows that individuals who experience childhood trauma have a significantly higher risk of becoming addicted to substances. Substances can be a source of comfort for an individual, an escape at a time when everything becomes too much.


If trauma has played a part in your addiction and you’re ready to seek help, you may benefit from the services of a professional who specializes in trauma-informed care. Trauma can be devastating to experience and painful to unpack, but it is the first step in your journey towards wellness. Reach out today to speak to us about your concerns. We genuinely care, and you shouldn’t have to travel the path alone.


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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.