Trauma Focused Therapy

Trauma Focused Therapy is a strengths-based treatment that utilizes psychoeducation and cognitive-behavioral techniques to process trauma memories and develop effective coping skills. The end goal is for clients to feel safe again and be able to function without impairment from trauma responses.

Trauma Focused Therapy


Trauma-focused models began emerging in the 1980s as an offshoot of evidence-based therapies like Cognitive Processing Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. They focused specifically on systematically addressing traumatic experiences and their mental health impacts.

Focus theme / core-concept

The core concepts involve-

Educating clients about the trauma response,

Teaching relaxation and emotion regulation skills,

Gradually exposing clients to distressing trauma memories and thoughts in a safe manner, and

Helping them find meaning and regain a sense of control over their experiences.


Active treatment of trauma-related issues: Trauma-focused therapy actively addresses and treats the specific issues related to trauma, aiming to provide relief from distressing symptoms and prevent long-term impairment.

Resolution of distressing symptoms: The therapy helps individuals to effectively deal with and resolve the distressing symptoms associated with trauma, such as anxiety, depression, flashbacks, nightmares, and hypervigilance.

Prevention of long-term impairment: By addressing trauma-related issues early on, trauma-focused therapy aims to prevent long-term impairment and the development of chronic conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Development of coping skills: Clients engage in the therapy process to develop effective coping skills. These skills help them feel more in control and less disturbed by trauma reminders, allowing for improved functioning and overall well-being.


Specific goals include reducing PTSD symptoms like re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal.
Other aims are improving emotion regulation, challenging trauma-related beliefs, enhancing interpersonal relationships and safety, reducing unhealthy coping habits, and processing trauma memories until their emotional intensity is lessened.


Psychoeducation: Therapists provide information and education about trauma, its effects, and the therapeutic process. This helps clients understand their experiences and the rationale behind the techniques used in therapy.

Relaxation training: Clients learn relaxation techniques to manage and reduce anxiety and stress associated with trauma. These techniques may include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, or meditation.

Affect identification: Clients learn to identify and label their emotions related to the trauma. This process helps them gain insight into their emotional experiences and develop strategies to regulate and express their feelings in a healthy manner.

Cognitive restructuring: This technique focuses on challenging and modifying negative or distorted thoughts and beliefs related to the trauma. Clients learn to reframe their thinking patterns, replacing unhelpful thoughts with more accurate and adaptive ones.

Gradual exposure to trauma memories/triggers: In a controlled and supportive environment, clients are gradually exposed to trauma-related memories, thoughts, or situations. This exposure helps them process and integrate the trauma in a safe manner, reducing the emotional distress associated with these triggers.

Enhancing social support systems: Therapists work with clients to strengthen their social support networks. This can involve developing healthy relationships, improving communication skills, and seeking support from friends, family, or support groups. Social support plays a crucial role in the recovery and healing process after trauma.