Working Through Trauma: How long does it take to recover from abuse?

Recovery is different for each person, situation, and circumstance. Traumatic events leave lasting scars that each individual has ways of coping with. Trust and treatment are especially difficult for those struggling with an abusive past, PTSD, and other traumatic symptoms. 

Finding the right therapist, treatment program, and support system can be a long and difficult journey. However, developing a deeper understanding of mental health and the effects of abuse can encourage people to look for the help they need.

Mental health impacts of abuse and traumatic events

Abuse can happen at any age, from any kind of relationship, and in a number of ways. Trauma isn’t only developed at a young age – it can come after a physically abusive relationship, verbally abusive job, or even a toxic and taxing friendship. While the varying circumstances can affect individuals in dramatically different ways, the end result of trauma is most often the development of a mental health condition.

Anxiety, depression, and PTSD are all common effects of abuse, including reduced trust in individuals, triggering situations, and a negative self-image. Without treatment and support, a person can rapidly decline in their mental state and capabilities. Reaching out to online mental health resources like BetterHelp can help start the journey to recovery as you work through the phases of trauma recovery.

Phases of Trauma Recovery

Safety and Stabilization

The Manitoba Trauma Information & Education Centre lists the first step in recovering from trauma as regaining a sense of security. Those experiencing trauma often feel insecure, unsafe, and uncomfortable in their own bodies and environment.

This process can take anywhere from weeks to years, depending on the support and safety they’re provided. It’s important to start by identifying the areas of their life that need to be stabilized and how to help build trust and comfort within their space.

Remembrance and Mourning

In order to heal and process trauma, one needs to acknowledge and talk through it. It’s crucial to work through this step with a support system, primarily with a trusted counselor or therapist. After you’ve been able to feel safe and vulnerable, it’s time to start pacing yourself through the explanation and story of the event.

Taking the time to go slow and steady is important to avoid activating a fight, flight, or freeze response that can trigger a shutdown. It gives you the opportunity to recognize what was lost and mourn the past.

Reconnection and Integration

It’s not enough to talk through the trauma and put the story behind you. Instead, it’s necessary to rediscover your sense of sense and actively seek a future purpose. This is in an effort to reduce the hold of your trauma, taking away its power over your life.

After acknowledging the impact of your experience, you need to reconnect and integrate into a new life that isn’t dictated or defined by trauma. This process looks different for everyone but having a mental health professional help you work through goals and continuously support you through challenging times can give you the motivation you need to continue forward.

Building a Support System

Having a strong support system is crucial during the time of recovery. As mentioned in the first phase, you may be feeling uncomfortable and unsafe in your environment. While this may not be directly the fault of those around you, it can be an effort to trust others depending on their involvement, proximity to the abuser or situation, or their opinions on mental health.

While having close family members and friends in your support system is helpful for having someone who knows you intimately, it’s not always realistic for certain trauma patients. Instead, consider finding a support group, online or in-person, and connecting with others working through recovery. They should be positive, encouraging, and willing to give you the space needed to work through your own recovery time.

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LGBTQIA+ Therapists Are Essential: Here’s how to find the right one

The right fit makes a world of difference when it comes to finding a therapist. Many people are aware that therapists often use different therapy modalities, have varying educational backgrounds, or focus on specific concerns such as anxiety or trauma. However, what you may not know is that there are also therapists who specialize in working with various populations. This is imperative for many people when it comes to getting the most out of therapy.

Why LGBTQIA+ Therapists Are Essential

Why are LGBTQIA+ therapists so important? It just makes sense that someone that has a similar identity may have shared experiences in which they can help delve deeper into. There are many reasons as to why this is the case, but here are some of the most vital:

Understanding

Since an LGBTQIA+ therapist is more likely to be versed in matters that impact LGBTQIA+ individuals, finding an LGBTQIA+ affirming therapist can give you a sense of understanding that you might struggle to find otherwise. Sometimes, you’ll want to talk about your life in the context of an LGBTQIA+ experience, and having someone who understands that context makes a world of difference. This may come down to the nuances of your relationships, gender dysphoria, systemic barriers facing LGBT community, world issues or events that impact LGBTQIA+ individuals, terms that you use, or something else.

Trust

Whether you’re seeking individual therapy, group therapy, or couples therapy, it can be a lot easier to start trusting a mental health professional if you go into it knowing that you’re safe both physically and emotionally. You don’t have to trust a provider on the first session in any case, but it can help you have a better therapeutic connection in the sense that you know that you can truly be open and show every aspect of who you are in therapy.

Even if a therapist is accepting, if they don’t specialize in the LGBTQIA+ population, what can sometimes happen is that a person feels as though they have to keep things inside as a reflex. On the other hand, if you know what population a therapist works with, it can be a lot easier to let your guard down and talk about what’s going on in your life, especially if that’s something you’d struggle with otherwise.

Progress

When you feel like you can talk to your therapist about anything that’s on your mind, and when you’re able to achieve that sense of safety and understanding we all want in and outside of therapy, you’re more likely to make the progress you want to make. Depending on what you’re looking for (some people will seek ongoing mental health support, whereas others may attend one or two sessions to get a letter for a medical procedure through the informed consent model, etc.), this can save a lot of time, money, and stress. It’s also worth noting that certain concerns, such as eating disorders, are more prevalent in the LGBTQIA+ population. An LGBTQIA+ therapist is more likely to understand how these different factors may intersect so that they can support you holistically.

Finding A LGBTQIA-Friendly Therapist

Here are some ways to go about finding an LGBTQIA+ therapist:

  1. Ask your doctor for a referral to an LGBTQIA+ therapist in your area.
  2. Search the web for an LGBTQIA+ therapist in your area using search terms such as “LGBTQIA+ therapist near me.”
  3. Ask local LGBTQIA+ community organizations for recommendations. This may be particularly beneficial if you aren’t comfortable asking your doctor or are struggling to find providers who meet your needs. If you are a student at a college or university, you may have a counseling center or LGBTQIA+ student resource center that can help.
  4. Use an online therapy website. Many online therapy websites like BetterHelp have licensed LGBTQIA+ therapists. Often, when you sign up for a reputable online therapy website, they’ll have you take a quick questionnaire that’ll help you find the right match. It’s also often faster and more affordable to find a provider through an online therapy website.

If you want to learn more about mental health and therapy, visit Mind Diagnostics to take mental health quizzes and read about everything from depression to even video game addiction. When you’re ready to try therapy, you can tap in your zip code and you’ll see a range of providers in your area who work with various populations, concerns, and modalities.

Simply type in your zip code, and you’ll see a range of providers in your area who work with various populations, concerns, and modalities. Regardless of how you reach out for support, take pride in doing so. Asking for support is something to be proud of, and you deserve to get the help you need.

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How online therapy Is bridging gaps: How effective is it, and how do you find a reputable site?

Maybe, you’ve been considering online therapy for a while and are ready to take the leap, or perhaps, you’re considering it for the first time and want to learn more.

There are many advantages to choosing online therapy, but how effective is it, and how do you find a legitimate site? Here are some major ways online therapy is bridging gaps in mental health care as well as information on the efficacy of online therapy and how to know if an online therapy website or platform is reputable.

Ways Online Therapy Bridges Gaps

Here are some of the ways that online therapy bridges gaps and makes mental health care more accessible to individuals and communities:

  • Online therapy is often more cost-effective (and it should be cheaper considering). Particularly if you seek services through an online therapy platform, website, or app, therapy or counseling will often be more affordable than it is if you seek traditional in-person counseling or therapy. Without insurance, a therapy session can cost up to $200 or more in a private practice setting, where online therapy websites often start at around $90 per week and bill you on a monthly basis rather than at the end of each session.
  • There’s no need to commute. Online therapy allows you to access a licensed mental health provider from anywhere with a reliable internet connection. This is advantageous not just for those with busy schedules but also for those in remote areas or those who struggle to make it to appointments due to lack of access to transportation or for any other reason. You can typically choose between phone calls or video calls depending on what you prefer, too.
  • It can make it easier to find the right fit. This might be a surprising benefit of online therapy services, but it’s a very real one. It can be hard to find a specialist in your local area, but with only therapy, you can see anyone who is licensed to practice in your state. If you’ve found it hard to find a specific kind of therapy, a provider with a particular specialty, or something else that you’re looking for in a therapeutic environment, online therapy might be the answer.

The Efficacy Of Online Therapy

Is online therapy effective? The research says yes. Online therapy has been studied and proven effective for individuals, couples, families, and groups. All of the above show that online therapy is indeed beneficial for people seeking various types of therapy for a range of concerns. With all of this in mind, the question that you’re probably asking is, “Is online therapy for me?” The answer to this question will vary from person to person based on their needs and preferences, but if you think that it might be a good fit for you, it’s an excellent option with a ton of advantages.

Remember that if you don’t like the first therapist you see or if you don’t like the first modality of therapy you try, you can always switch. The same is true for a preference between online therapy and therapy you’d receive face-to-face. More and more providers are offering services online, and remote services have continued to gain popularity over time, so if you want to give it a shot, there’s nothing to lose.

Finding A Reputable Platform

There are a number of ways to find a therapist both in person and online. If you’re looking for an online therapy website or platform and want to make sure that it’s legitimate, the main thing you’ll want to check on is if the providers who work through the platform are licensed.

You can sign up for an online platform with licensed professionals like BetterHelp, search the web for a provider in your area who offers remote sessions, ask your doctor for a referral, or use a website like Mind Diagnostics to learn more about common mental health issues.

All that you have to do is type in your zip code, and you’ll see a diverse variety of providers near you. Regardless of if you see someone in person or online, the important thing is that you reach out for help when you need it. Taking care of your mental health is vital, so don’t hesitate to get started.

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Why taking a break from social media can improve your mental health

Social media is the epitome of a double-edged sword. It can keep you in the loop with current events, local events, or the funniest memes life has to offer. It is a way to network with new people and connect with them. Continue reading “Why taking a break from social media can improve your mental health”

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