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Exploring How it Works — Talkspace

How Do I Know If I Need Trauma Therapy?

If you’ve experienced a traumatic event, it’s normal to feel upset, confused, or scared. Common reactions to trauma can include difficulty sleeping or concentrating, uncontrollable crying, and feeling jumpy or irritable. However, while these can be normal reactions, prolonged symptoms might signify something more is happening.

For most people, symptoms go away on their own within a few weeks or months. For others, though, the effects of trauma can last much longer. If your symptoms don’t improve over time — or if they get worse — it might be a good idea to seek out professional help from a therapist who specializes in trauma-focused therapy.

There’s no one answer to when someone should seek help for trauma. It depends on how long symptoms have been occurring and how much they interfere with daily functioning.

“It’s usually hard to tell if trauma therapy is necessary or if other types of therapy are needed. If a client feels that their daily functioning is suffering or that they’re struggling with extreme emotions, it’s usually a sign that seeking help may be necessary. If the client isn’t sure about trauma therapy, start by identifying the current symptoms of mental health distress and discuss it with a professional.”

Talkspace therapist Minkyung Chung, MS, LMHC

If you’re still experiencing intense feelings related to a traumatic event several weeks or months after something happened, it’s time to get some help. Flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, or if you find yourself trauma dumping are all reasons to consider seeing a therapist.

Signs you might benefit from trauma therapy include: 

  • Avoiding things that remind you of the event (avoidance)
  • Feeling numb and/or disconnected from others (numbing)
  • Having difficulty functioning in daily life (dysfunction)

If these things sound familiar, know you’re not alone. It’s perfectly normal and healthy to need extra support after experiencing something traumatizing.

“Through a thorough assessment, it can usually be deduced that trauma therapy may be necessary. The first step is asking for help.”

Talkspace therapist Minkyung Chung, MS, LMHC

How long does trauma therapy last?

The length of treatment required to heal from trauma will vary. It can depend on how severe the trauma was and if there are other mental health factors to deal with. The right mental health care provider and the correct type of treatment are important so you can get the most appropriate level of care.

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