Why Talking About Trauma Doesn't Heal It
Updated: Mar 20
Talking about things can often help us to feel better, so why doesn't this work with trauma? Read on to find out more:
Wait.... why the hell is a therapist telling me talking about my trauma won't help?
Okay, totally fair. Let me explain a little, but in order to explain we're going to have to take a little journey into...THE BRAIN! (cue the Magic School Bus Opening)
Trauma and the Brain
Our brain is pretty complex, it's evolved over thousands of years to cope with the world around us and most importantly, to keep us safe. When we experience trauma, we're overwhelmed and our brain goes into survival mode and the more primitive part of our brain comes online. Because of this, it's stored in the more primitive part of our nervous system, the limbic system.
Why does this matter?
The limbic system doesn’t store memories in words, it stores them in somatic experiences, images, sensations, scents etc. and it does not respond to logic. So talking about our trauma is basically like trying to talk to someone in a language they don’t understand. As a result this can sometimes make our symptoms worse. This can look like feeling more on edge, having nightmares, and feeling more "spaced out."
"Talking about our trauma is basically like trying to talk to someone in a language they don’t understand and can sometimes make our symptoms worse."
You heard that right! So many people wonder why their trauma symptoms aren't getting better and blame themselves! It is not your fault. It's your therapist's responsibility to have the proper training to be able to support you and give you the best chance of success. Our brains are have been evolving for thousands of years and we can't expect to just override that wiring.
"It's your therapist's responsibility to have the proper training to be able to support you and give you the best chance of success."
So what does work?
Trauma therapy needs to be experiential and work with the limbic system to be effective. However, this does not mean that therapy won't bring up difficult feelings or sensations, but it does mean we will be working with proven methods to heal your trauma versus just treating the symptoms. This can look like a bunch of different things, but here are some of the most common evidence-based somatic therapies. Click the links to learn more!
All of these types of therapy work with your nervous system to heal your trauma so you can feel like yourself again. As an EMDR therapist I've had the honor and privilege of walking clients through this process. The results speak for themselves.
"I've seen client's make huge progress in one session that they've been unable to attain in years of traditional therapy."
If you're ready to reclaim your life and get back to feeling like yourself again, set yourself up for success and find trauma therapist who specializes in somatic therapy.