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August 8 2022

Six Common Betrayal Trauma Treatments

Kristin Beaufort,
A woman practicing trauma informed yoga, one of the six common betrayal trauma treatments.

Betrayal trauma occurs when someone trusted or relied upon for support commits an act of betrayal. It is a unique trauma that can be very difficult to treat. Betrayal trauma often leads to feelings of abandonment and isolation. Many people struggle with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There are several different betrayal trauma treatments available, and it is important to find one that is right for you.

This blog post will discuss six of the most common betrayal trauma treatments.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most common betrayal trauma treatments. CBT is grounded in the belief that CBT focuses on helping people to change their negative thoughts and behaviors. This type of therapy can help individuals understand how thoughts and beliefs about the world may have contributed to their trauma. CBT can also help people to develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult emotions.

Cognitive behavioral therapy works to adjust thoughts by training the brain to see things in a different light. This involves exploring the evidence that supports and disproves negative beliefs, learning how to reframe thoughts, and practicing relaxation techniques to counterbalance the fight-or-flight response. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy also focuses on changing our behaviors. Including developing healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult emotions, setting boundaries, and learning how to assert ourselves in relationships.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is another common betrayal trauma treatment. EMDR is a therapy that accesses both brain hemispheres through bilateral stimulation eye movements, similar to REM sleep. Throughout the process, clients re-experience the trauma. However, it’s in a safe environment this time, so individuals can begin processing and healing from traumatic memories. 

Studies have shown EMDR to be very effective in various settings and for multiple reasons, including betrayal trauma. The simplicity of this breakthrough therapy is changing lives for the better. EMDR can lead to long-lasting relief in a relatively short period. This may be the best approach to help you heal if you are living with betrayal trauma. 

Accelerated Resolution Therapy

Accelerated resolution therapy (ART) is a newer betrayal trauma treatment showing promise. Similar to EMDR, ART uses eye movement and other forms of bilateral stimulation to help process and heal from trauma. Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) is a therapeutic approach that seeks to reduce the effects of trauma and psychological stressors. What’s unique about this therapy method is that for many, it is time-efficient. ART requires fewer sessions than conventional therapies, usually around one to five sessions. As a result, ART can do what other therapy methods would take months to accomplish quicker. In this short period, ART helps a person heal symptoms of trauma and stress-induced memories.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Trusting anyone, including yourself, can be difficult if you have betrayal trauma. This lack of trust can disconnect you from your authentic self. As a result of this disconnect, it can increase the body’s trauma response. Mindfulness is the practice of remaining in harmony with yourself. Likewise, it can cultivate a genuine connection within and can generate self-compassion.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) uses mindfulness techniques to help reduce stress and anxiety. MBSR is an effective betrayal trauma treatment because it can increase awareness of thoughts and feelings, and teach how to manage them in a healthy way.

Trauma-Informed Yoga

Betrayal Trauma often triggers a fight, flight, or freeze response. These protective responses put us in a defensive state, causing the body to store the trauma at the cellular level. How we think, learn, remember, and feel is altered when the trauma is not released or resolved. Symptoms of trauma stored in the body include muscle tension, tightness, IBS, anxiousness, depression, TMJ, fibromyalgia, headaches, restlessness, or exhaustion.

Researcher Bessel van der Kolk examined the effects of trauma-sensitive yoga (TSY) on women with complex trauma unresponsive to traditional psychotherapy. In The Body Keeps the Score, he reported, “In research supported by the National Institutes of Health, my colleagues and I have shown that ten weeks of yoga practice markedly reduced the PTSD symptoms of patients who failed to respond to any medication or other treatment.” This significant finding suggests that yoga may be a good starting place for healing and recovery in complex trauma cases.

For the first time, researchers had evidence that using physical movements to treat trauma was effective. In a follow-up study, researcher Alison Rhodes found women who practiced yoga were more likely to show significant reductions in PTSD and depressive symptoms 1-3 years post-treatment. These findings offer clinicians additional support for clients stuck in trauma.

Support Groups

One of the many symptoms of betrayal trauma is loneliness. Finding the words to explain your experience and why can be challenging, especially with someone who hasn’t been through betrayal. Because of this, you may not receive the empathy or validation you need and deserve to help you heal. Feeling alone or misunderstood is all too common. However, you can connect with others in similar situations through an online support group. Joining a support group may help you better recognize or voice your emotions. Similarly, hearing other people share their healing process may provide insight into yours.

The proper support can lead to healing. The good news is that online support groups intend to provide that very thing. Support groups can give betrayal trauma survivors a sense of community and a safe place to share their experiences. Human connection plays a crucial role in our mental health. Therefore, connecting with others who understand can aid healing and form lifelong friendships.

Find the Right Betrayal Trauma Treatment For You

Betrayal trauma is a unique and challenging form of trauma to deal with. Betrayal can often lead to feelings of deception, abandonment, and isolation. It can be difficult to trust anyone again after betrayal trauma, and many people struggle with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. There are multiple betrayal trauma treatments available, and the best course of treatment will be unique to each individual. 

With the proper treatment, you can heal from betrayal trauma. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), accelerated resolution therapy (ART), mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), trauma-informed yoga, and support groups are six of the most common treatment options. Understanding your thoughts and beliefs about the world, and developing healthy coping mechanisms can help you heal from traumatic memories.

If you or someone you know is struggling with betrayal trauma, please reach out for help. A therapist, counselor, or certified betrayal trauma coach can help you identify the best betrayal trauma treatment for your needs.

Bloom Guided offers assistance through virtual coaching and support groups. Schedule a consult call to start your healing journey now.

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