Trauma can result from verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse; rape; domestic violence; combat experience; being a victim of or witnessing a violent crime; natural disasters; or even car accidents. People respond differently to trauma and each person must be treated as an individual. Survivors often give up hope for the future and may engage in dangerous and self-destructive behaviors. Symptoms of surviving a trauma can include:
Fact is, trauma has a neurological effect on the brain so people don’t ‘just get over it.’ The right part of the brain stores the trauma in bits and pieces, often without memory of the whole story.
Unfortunately, even non-threatening stimuli such as a smell associated with the trauma can set off symptoms when the stimulus is encountered in the future.
The ramifications of these factors can have terrible effects on the life of the trauma survivor. They can reach into every area of an individual’s life because they can change how the person views objects, events, circumstances, him/herself, others, and the world at large. These results can be bewildering to the person and their family members.
This is an intervention designed for survivors of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. It is gender specific and both female and male groups are available. TREM involves a comprehensive group treatment program as well as individual therapy. It has been shown to be effective because the use of a group format allows for peer support; emphasizes survivor empowerment; and is sensitive in the areas of sexual orientation, relationship status, and cultural issues. Four core assumptions of the TREM model are:
These methods are designed for all types of trauma including combat trauma. The goal is to understand and change how a person thinks about the trauma and its aftermath.
Therapy focuses on learning to identify the frightening thoughts about the world that cause fear and agitation from the past to surface. When these triggers are identified the therapist and client can work together to replace these thoughts with more accurate thoughts, allowing the trauma to recede into the past and become a memory.
Desensitization occurs when a person verbalizes the story of the traumatic event in a safe therapeutic environment, allowing the emotions connected to the event to be felt and released. This allows the brain to heal a little at a time, decreasing flashbacks and other symptoms related to the trauma.