NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Overcoming Fear of Attending Trauma Therapy

It's a sad fact that millions of people throughout the world suffer with emotional trauma and never get professional help from a psychotherapist who specializes in trauma.  

Whether it's trauma that originated in childhood or trauma due to war, terrorist attacks, sexual abuse, emotional and physical abuse, or trauma due to natural disaster, there are millions of people who either don't have access to trauma therapy or who have access but are too afraid to attend trauma therapy.

Overcoming Fear of Attending Trauma Therapy

In the US, Europe, Latin America and many other parts of the world, we are fortunate to live during a time when there's a variety of effective forms of trauma therapy to choose from to help people to overcome emotional trauma.  These include EMDR and Somatic Experiencing.

But even though there is effective treatment available for trauma, too many people are afraid to get the help they need and they continue to suffer needlessly.   

Why Are So Many People Afraid to Attend Psychotherapy to Overcome Emotional Trauma?
The reasons for people's fear vary, but include:
  • a fear that the therapist will plunge them back into the traumatic experience and they will feel overwhelmed
  • a fear that they will be blamed for their trauma and the therapist will see them as being "bad"
  • a fear that some part of the traumatic experience that they might not remember will emerge and they'll "fall apart"
  • a fear that they'll have nightmares that will overwhelm them
  • a fear that they'll feel helpless in therapy
  • a fear that their own poor sense of self will be confirmed by the therapist
  • a fear of going to a new therapist based on bad experiences with prior therapists
  • a fear of the unknown
I'm sure there are many other fears that people have that I've left out, but the ones I've given above tend to be among the most common fears that I hear about when clients come to see me about their emotional trauma.

These are common fears that many people have when they're considering going to therapy to overcome trauma.

Although unfortunate, it's understandable that traumatized people are often too afraid to seek the treatment that they need.  But there are ways to make the process a lot less frightening, starting with finding a psychotherapist who is a trauma expert and asking for a consultation to find out how the therapist works.  

What do I mean by this?  Well, many people have a misconception that they will have to delve deeply into their trauma history on Day One in therapy.  But this isn't true.  

A skilled clinician, who is a trauma expert, will make sure that before any processing of the trauma begins, the client has the internal resources or coping skills to do the work.  Also, he or she will know that it takes time to build trust and a rapport, which is necessary for any client, but especially for clients with trauma, to feel comfortable.

In upcoming blog articles, I'll provide recommendations on how to seek a referral to a trauma therapist, how to handle the first session which, in my opinion, should be considered a consultation rather than a session to do trauma work directly, and ways to make the process feel much safer emotionally.

About Me
As a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist, I work with individual adults and couples.

One of my specialities is helping clients to overcome trauma.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.