How Do You Feel After Trauma Therapy?
As a trauma therapist specializing in guiding individuals through their path of recovery, I am committed to providing support, compassion, and empowerment throughout this transformative process. This entails full transparency of the ins and outs of what our process looks like.Trauma can be an isolating experience, and knowing that others have faced similar challenges and emotions can be reassuring.
In this blog post, I delve into the emotional aftermath of trauma therapy, the challenges of healing, the release of trauma, and the duration of therapy for complex trauma.
Why Do I Feel So Tired After Trauma Therapy?
When I started working with clients, I noticed they were uncomfortable with the tiredness they suddenly felt during the integration stage at the end of the session. They reported feeling warm, calm, and almost sleepy. This is really normal to be witness of, but it appeared they were worried about whether this was part of the process. I want to reassure you that it is. A trauma therapy session usually rides like a wave, where we start slowly, then we reach a peak of sharing and difficult emotional activation that resolves in a calm and peaceful stability of recovery.
You may notice a sense of release and lightness, knowing that you have bravely confronted the pain that once haunted you. However, you may also feel emotionally drained, as healing from trauma involves significant emotional work revising difficult memories that you’ve worked so hard to avoid. This is completely normal. This is a time to honor these emotions as part of the natural healing process and give yourself a gentle hug.
What Are The Hardest Parts of Healing from Trauma?
I believe the hardest part of healing from trauma is to not heal at all and continue to live life in a painful state of denial. However, it makes sense why people want to stagnate in denial. Confronting the painful memories and emotions associated with the traumatic experience is not easy.
During trauma therapy, as we delve into the painful memories and emotions associated with the traumatic experience, you may temporarily venture outside your window of tolerance
As we delve into the depths of your trauma, it is not uncommon to experience moments of discomfort, vulnerability, and even a temporary intensification of trauma-related symptoms. We are addressing pain head on, which can both start a grief cycle that you are finally addressing, as well as moments where you may be more dysregulated.
What is The Window of Tolerance?
Think of the window of tolerance as a safe and balanced space where you can navigate life's challenges and emotions with relative ease.
When you are within your window of tolerance, you can cope with everyday stressors, process emotions, and engage in meaningful interactions without feeling overwhelmed or dissociated. However, during trauma therapy, as we delve into the painful memories and emotions associated with the traumatic experience, you may temporarily venture outside your window of tolerance.
Venturing outside the window of tolerance can lead to two common responses:
- Hyperarousal: This can manifest as heightened anxiety, anger, or a sense of feeling on edge. Hyperarousal can trigger your fight or flight response, leading to increased vigilance and a sense of being constantly on guard.
- Hypoarousal: On the other hand, if the emotional intensity becomes too much, you may feel emotionally numb, disconnected from your feelings, or even dissociated from reality. Hypoarousal can be a protective response, allowing you to emotionally distance yourself from overwhelming experiences.
What Do You Mean When You Say Releasing Trauma?
As you work through traumatic memories, emotions that were once tightly held in your body may begin to surface and find expression. This release can be cathartic and liberating, allowing you to let go of the emotional burden that trauma has placed on you. It may feel overwhelming at times, but it is a testament to your strength and willingness to heal.
As you work through traumatic memories, emotions that were once tightly held in your body may begin to surface and find expression
For example, moments of emotional release that are intense and cathartic may include crying for the first time in years, or having a place to express anger safely. It is about allowing yourself to fully feel the pain that has been haunting you for years. It was as if we are finally giving ourselves permission to let go of the emotional burden we have been carrying.
If It’s So Cathartic, Then Why Is It So Exhausting?
The exhaustion is actually a positive sign that healing is taking place. The process of trauma therapy involves confronting deeply rooted emotions, which can leave you feeling drained and fatigued as they can have a lot of energy in our bodies. Additionally, the brain and body undergo significant changes during trauma therapy, requiring time and energy for healing and integration.
Life really does change that much. We start seeing the world in a different light, maybe it feels safer, easier, lighter, and we start setting new boundaries, relating to people differently. This is not bad, it’s great, and also, tiring.
Why Do They Say it Gets Worse Before it Gets Better?
It is not uncommon to experience a rollercoaster of emotions during trauma healing, and it may feel like things get worse before they improve. As we delve into the depths of your trauma, you may experience moments of emotional intensity and heightened distress. This is often referred to as the "healing crisis," and it signifies that significant healing is taking place. As we navigate through this phase, you will gradually begin to experience positive changes, paving the way for long-term healing and growth.
The first stage of recovery in trauma therapy involves acknowledgment and acceptance. It is the brave act of recognizing the impact of trauma and embracing the need for healing
What is The First Step in Trauma Recovery?
The first stage of recovery in trauma therapy involves acknowledgment and acceptance. It is the brave act of recognizing the impact of trauma and embracing the need for healing. By acknowledging the presence of trauma and seeking support, you are taking the first courageous step towards reclaiming your life and well-being.
Healing from trauma is a transformative and empowering process. As a trauma therapist, I am dedicated to providing a safe and compassionate space for you to embark on this journey of resilience and growth. Throughout trauma healing, you may experience a range of emotions, from release and relief to vulnerability and exhaustion. Remember that this is a natural part of the healing process, and with time, support, and patience, you will emerge stronger, more resilient, and free from the blurry clouds of trauma.