Specialized Services

Trauma Services in Pennsylvania

Evidence-based treatment, supplemented with complementary therapies, provides healing and relief for people who have experienced trauma.

At a Glance

  • Effective trauma-focused therapies, including EMDR and CPT,

    reduce or eliminate PTSD symptoms.

  • Trauma-focused holistic therapies, like yoga and mindfulness meditation,

    offer comfort and healing.

  • A multi-phased system

    allows patients space and time to fully heal.

Highlights of Trauma Services in Pennsylvania

Trauma is defined as the “experience of an event or enduring conditions in which the individual's ability to integrate his/her emotional experience is overwhelmed and the individual experiences (either objectively or subjectively) a threat to his/her life, bodily integrity, or that of a caregiver or family.” If it’s not dealt with in a healthy manner, the negative effects of trauma can be long-lasting. Some examples are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), disrupted relationships, difficulty feeling emotionally stable, and changes in how the traumatized person sees themselves or others. Addiction can derail the natural process of healing.

Part of its complexity is that people experience it differently. For some, the trauma response is short-lived, while for others it is long term. People also process traumatic events in very different ways. While one person can return to a healthy life after a traumatic event, another person will not be able to carry on routine daily activities.

Childhood trauma or neglect can increase one’s risk of experiencing trauma later in life and it leads to long-term effects.

Symptoms of Trauma

Symptoms may include:

    • An inability to trust self or others.
    • A need to be on constant high alert for danger.
    • Extreme anxiety.
    • Chronic fear.
    • Feeling out of control.
    • Overwhelming sense of shame.

Treating Trauma and Addiction at Caron Pennsylvania

In the context of a substance use disorder (or addiction), identifying trauma is the first step in treating it. We use measures such as PCL-5, a symptom checklist for PTSD, and the Trauma Symptoms Inventory (TSI), to identify a trauma response or PTSD.

If a trauma response or PTSD is identified, our trauma team, which includes on-site, full-time psychologists, works closely with you and your primary treatment team to incorporate trauma therapies into your treatment plan. The therapies used will depend on your symptoms and needs. Those therapies may include:

    • Evidence-based treatments to address PTSD and trauma symptoms, which include eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and cognitive processing therapy (CPT), gold standards in treating PTSD based on a significant amount of research that proves its efficacy and effectiveness.
    • Specialty cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) groups to address coping skills for anxiety and depression.
    • Trauma-sensitive yoga, with certified instructors, that provides a safe and gentle way to relearn how to be “in” your body and explore how that feels.
    • Mindfulness meditation.
    • Neurofeedback, a noninvasive therapeutic intervention that can reinforce recovery and help to manage moods and emotions.

The trauma programming that Caron offers on their Pennsylvania campus is divided into two phases. Depending on your needs and the determination of the clinical team, they may happen concurrently or sequentially.

The Safety and Stabilization Phase

In this phase, the treatment team works with you to develop a foundation of safety and provide coping skills you can use. Psycho-educational groups focus on:

    • Trauma and its relationship to substance use disorder.
    • Symptoms.
    • How trauma affects the brain.
    • How trauma affects relationships.
    • Developing safety.

In addition, you learn coping skills that help you manage trauma and build trust in your environment. Caron staff has extensive experience in teaching patients the skills they need to successfully do the therapeutic work that leads to recovery.

The Trauma Processing Phase

During trauma processing, you work with a clinical psychologist or a trained behavioral health therapist who may use cognitive processing therapy (CPT) or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) or both, depending on your needs, to treat PTSD symptoms with attention to your substance use disorder symptoms.

CPT works quickly, often within 12 sessions, to significantly reduce or eliminate acute symptoms of PTSD—including flashbacks, intrusive memories, feelings of shame or guilt, and avoidance of trauma reminders. Reducing the symptoms not only provides relief for you but can also reduce the risk of relapse. Most patients who receive CPT treatment experience a reduction in symptoms to the point where they no longer meet criteria for a PTSD diagnosis within six to eight weeks.

Also effective in treating trauma, EMDR focuses on the traumatic memories themselves. The therapy itself is painless and simple. Using dual attention bilateral stimulation, which includes finger movements and tapping, reduces the impact of the memories and the emotions associated with them. It is an approach that addresses the physiological storage of memory and how it informs experience. The eight phases of EMDR will vary in the amount of sessions needed based on the individual’s experiences, meaning they may only need a few sessions, or they may benefit from continuing beyond their stay at Caron. The purpose of therapy is to help liberate the client from the past into a healthy and productive present.

Post-Treatment

Caron’s trauma team ensures your access to ongoing support and care once you leave treatment. Along with your primary treatment team and referring professional, they will work with you to develop an aftercare plan of therapy and other resources that build upon the foundation and success you achieved during treatment.

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