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Trauma Therapy – Expectations vs. Reality

How we react to a traumatic event is influenced by our previous life experiences, phobias we are dealing with, and any anxiety or depression episodes we have been through. Everyone reacts differently to trauma.

Many people resort to therapy after experiencing a traumatic event due to growing awareness about mental health. Most people expect trauma therapy to be a “quick fix” solution that will make them feel better before the end of their first session. 

But in reality, trauma therapy takes time and can be a long and challenging process. However, it is essential to remember that no matter how long or challenging the process is, the results are usually worth the effort.

The Realities of Trauma Therapy

When considering trauma therapy, setting the right expectations and understanding the realities before you begin is essential. This will help you set realistic goals and manage your expectations. Ultimately, healing from trauma is possible, but it takes time, effort, and patience.

Trauma therapy can be a very long and challenging process. It is essential to be patient and to trust the process. If you are considering trauma therapy, you need to find a therapist you feel comfortable with and who you think is qualified to help you.

Trauma therapists often use a variety of techniques to help their patients heal. Some of these techniques may include exposure therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) (EMDR Institute, 2022), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) (MayoClinic, 2022), and others. The goal of trauma therapy is not necessarily to “cure” the person of their trauma but rather to help them learn how to cope with it healthily.

People undergoing therapy may have to face their fears and revisit painful memories, which can be quite difficult. However, with the help of a qualified therapist, people can often overcome these challenges and begin to heal.

When Expectations Are Not Met

If you are feeling frustrated or disappointed with your progress in trauma therapy, it is best to share your concerns with your therapist. They may be able to offer suggestions about how to adjust your expectations or make changes to the treatment plan. 

It is also important to remember that trauma therapy is a process, and healing takes time and requires persistence. Trusting the process and being patient can often be key to success in trauma therapy.

Final Thoughts

Trauma therapy is often a long and challenging process, but it can be incredibly rewarding in the end. Setting realistic goals for yourself and managing your expectations before beginning therapy is essential. 

Finding a therapist that you feel comfortable with and who you can trust is also essential. Therapists use various techniques to help their patients heal, so it is best to be patient and allow them time to work. 

Talk to your therapist about your concerns if you are frustrated or discouraged with your progress. They may be able to offer suggestions on how to make the process easier for you. Trauma therapy takes time and effort, but it can be an incredibly healing experience if you are willing to put in the time and persistence.


EMDR Institute, I. (2022). What is EMDR.   Retrieved from https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/

Mayo Clinic. (2022). Cognitive behavioral therapy.   Retrieved from Mayo Clinic:   https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cognitive-behavioral-therapy/about/pac-20384610