At Iris Healing Retreat, we understand how to treat trauma and can attest that most clients who seek help for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorder have one of more traumas.  With the right set of tools and a caring, professional treatment staff in place, trauma can be healed. Certain modalities like neurofeedback and brainspotting were created to help the body heal from the symptoms associated with trauma, and have high success rates when it comes to trauma resolution.

How Do We Define ‘Trauma’?

For the purposes of this blog, we wanted to explore some of the treatments that we have seen work best when it comes to overcoming trauma. Now keep in mind, a “trauma” can cover quite a lot of ground. For some, it may have to do with a current experience (perhaps symptoms of PTSD after a recent tour of duty), for others it can trace back to childhood, everything from physical to sexual abuse. We understand that trauma is a very personal experience and one that cannot be clearly categorized.

The traumatic feelings are carried with you; sometimes consciously and sometimes subconsciously and many people seek reprieve from these feelings by engaging in destructive behaviors like self harm, and substance abuse. The way a person experiences trauma, exhibits trauma and chooses to treat trauma is uniquely their own which is why the treatment of trauma must be highly individualized.

What Tools Can We Use To Treat It?

At Iris Healing Retreat, we take a holistic approach to treatment. As with many recovery centers, we value counseling and cognitive-based therapy models very highly. Our psychotherapists hold both group and individual sessions to discuss emotions and addictive behaviors. We also incorporate family systems therapy, which explores issues that manifest within relationships and on the homefront. Motivational interviewing and 12-Step methods have also led to success in our program when addressing trauma (all of which are broken down further on our website). However, the most powerful tools in addressing and treating trauma are the somatic based therapies that we incorporate into every client’s treatment here at Iris Healing Retreat. These include powerful therapies like Brainspotting and Neurofeedback, designed to bypass the frontal cortex and directly address the part of the brain that causes the fight or flight symptoms that make trauma so disruptive to many people.

Our neurofeedback sessions utilize brainwave biofeedback where sensors are placed on a person’s head, which allow for the monitoring of overactive and underactive wave movements. When it comes to trauma, a treatment like this can help to rewire dysregulated neural patterns and break the cycle of PTSD. By focusing on specific areas of the brain, sessions can be tailored to shift out of negative patterns and return functions to a natural, neutral state. In essence, neurofeedback gives the brain the tools to move past traumatic events, without having to relive them.

Brainspotting (which we mentioned above) is a newer modality that has led to tremendous success with our clients. Here issues like trauma are identified on a physical level, such as a reflex, twitch or rapid change of expression when a trigger is mentioned. Therapists involved in these sessions use pointers to identify specific “brainspots,” while clients listen to bilateral sounds. The goal is to become “attune” to the manifestation then, in time, train yourself to release it.

What Are The First Steps To Take?

The sad truth is, overcoming a trauma is extremely difficult to achieve on your own. If you have successfully beaten an addiction but not addressed the trauma behind it, there is a likelihood that those dependencies could return. We recommend reaching out to one of our reps at Iris Healing Retreat. Our goal is to provide successful, proven options when it comes to addressing these issues. The most crucial component, however, is taking that first step and reaching out for help.