Why Talk Therapy Alone May Not Cut It for Trauma Treatment
When someone experiences a traumatic experience that is not resolved and integrated, this trauma can become stuck or frozen in our bodies. Talk therapy alone can be problematic when it does not address the feelings and emotions in the body, possibly making the
traumatic experience feel worse by talking about it only. Utilizing modalities that can help interrupt our trauma response, such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) or utilizing somatic therapy, can help address deep underlying traumas
stored in the body.
For example, if 17-old John experiences a traumatic car accident that leaves him with a phobia of driving, talking through his fear alone may not be nearly enough to have a resolution. His phobia started with his bodily fear response and perhaps he has some distressing beliefs tied to the event as well, and he continues to be triggered by bodily sensations, regardless of trying to change his thoughts with affirmations such as thinking “I’m safe in this car,” yet his body isn’t buying into it. He needs to feel safe again in his body. Utilizing EMDR, for example, could help the frozen image he keeps replaying of the car flipping over, that is stuck on repeat, and utilizes both sides of the brain to help desensitize the trauma response to this trigger, instead of only looking at how John’s fears are irrational at the cognitive level. John needs to integrate of the trauma, that wasn’t fully processed in the car accident when he froze up his entire body and was filled with terror. After a trauma has been integrated fully and processed in the best way possible, trauma therapy can proceed much smoother.