Combating complex wounds with emotion-based treatment

Woman sitting on swing terrace, looking at viewMany of us develop emotional regulation skills, of course, during childhood and as we mature in our adult years. We learn to regulate negative emotions such as anxiety or anger through constructive self-esteem, distraction (if there is nothing to be done about an unpleasant situation) or getting to a supportive person for help.

The compound trauma, as the name implies, is a more complex form of trauma caused by prolonged abuse and trauma (Herman, 1993). People who have experienced complex trauma or who grew up in an abusive or stressful environment often did not have the opportunity to learn how to regulate emotions. Abusive parents often increase negative emotional situations in their child and do not offer helpful help.

For people with complex trauma, experiences of sadness, fear or anger may be more intense and last longer. Continuous negative feelings often interfere seriously in function and can cause interpersonal difficulties.

Fortunately, she can learn emotional regulation. Emotional therapy (EFT) with a trained EFT therapist can help clients build skills for healthy responses to difficult emotions and learn ways to better regulate their negative emotions.

What is emotion-focused treatment?

Emotion-centered treatment is an approach to psychotherapy based on the understanding that our emotions play a key role in who we are and how we work.

Our feelings are linked to our needs and behavior. Our emotions guide the way we choose goals and we keep the commitment to achieving our goals. Emotions inform decision making and play a central role in communicating our emotions and intentions to others.

Our feelings are linked to our needs and behavior. Our emotions guide the way we choose goals and we keep the commitment to achieving our goals.

Our feelings also warn of dangerous or unhealthy situations. In this way, they protect, guide and motivate us. They also help us to understand ourselves and the world around us (Greenberg, 2004).

Based on the theory that emotions are central to human experience, EFT seeks to help customers recognize, experience, understand, and manage emotions with flexibility in order to bring about positive changes and live alive.

The three goals of emotion-focused treatment therapies

  1. Raising awareness of emotion: The first goal of EFT is to increase the client's ability to recognize and name his feelings. While this may seem simple, many people, especially those who have been abused in childhood or other forms of complex trauma, do not naturally recognize emotions. For example, depression may not be felt as sadness or despair, but as fatigue or lethargy. Anxiety can manifest itself as another emotion, such as irritability.
  2. Enhancement of emotional regulation: Emotional regulation can be seen as the ability to control the intensity and duration of negative emotions as well as to increase the experience of positive emotions.
  3. Transforming the feeling: It is possible to transform emotions by altering an inappropriate emotion to more positive emotions.

Cognitive reasoning and the desire to change a feeling are not enough to transform one's feelings. An EFT educator can teach clients to identify and name feelings, regulate emotions, and learn emotional transformation skills.

Using EFT to overcome the complex trauma

If you have a complex trauma, you may find that you have difficulty with increased and prolonged feelings of sadness, fear or anxiety. You may not be able to trust people or wait for things to happen in your life. Anger and anger can overcome the little inconvenience and it may take a long time to calm down afterwards.

Given the difficulties of building and maintaining confidence, complex injuries often face serious or prolonged challenges through interpersonal relationships. It can be difficult for your partner to understand your intense emotional states. In addition, you may have difficulty naming or explaining your feelings and reactions to your partner and even to yourself.

EFT treatment goals are, of course, in line with the needs of many people with compound trauma. The goals of EFT are to help the client identify, regulate and transform negative emotions as well as address the basic symptoms of complex trauma.

EFT for compound trauma is supported empirically. A study designed to test the efficacy of EFT for adult survivors of childhood abuse (physical, emotional and sexual abuse) found that those who received 20 weeks of EFT therapy achieved significant improvements with multiple symptoms. Effects of EMX have also been retained over time. More than nine months after the end of the EFT sessions, clients still had improvements that were achieved during treatment (Paivio & Nieuwenhuis, 2001).

If you have a composite trauma, there is hope

If you have a complicated trauma, consider meeting with a therapist. A trainee trained in EFT can help you manage and understand your emotional experience. You can develop and maintain healthier and more durable relationships. Emotions should not be inappropriate. you can learn to transform your feelings. Difficult feelings can change into adaptive and positive situations that will allow you to experience a higher quality of life as well as improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Bibliographical references:

  1. Ehring, T., Welboren, R., Morina, N., Wicherts, J. M., Freitag, J. & Emmelkamp, M. (2014). Meta-analysis of psychological therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder in adult survivors of child abuse. Clinical Psychology Review, 34(8), 645-657. doi: 10.1016 / j.cpr.2014.10.004
  2. Greenberg, L. S. (2004). Emotional treatment. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 1(11), 3-16. two: 10.1002 / cpp.388
  3. Herman, J.L. (1993). Post traumatic stress disorder: DSM-IV and beyond. Washington D.C.: American Psychiatric Press.
  4. Paivio, S.C. & Nieuwenhuis, J.A. (2001). Efficacy of emotion-focused therapy for adult childhood survivors: A preliminary study. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 14(1), 115-133. doi: 10.1023 / A: 1007891716593
  5. Pascual-Leone, A., Yeryomenko, N., Sawashima, T., & Warwar, S. (2017). Creating emotional resilience in 14 emotion-focused therapy sessions: Micro-time analyzes of productive emotional motifs. Psychotherapeutic Research. doi: 10.1080 / 10503307.2017.1315779

© Copyright 2018 All rights reserved. Publishing permission is granted by Fabiana Franco, PhD, a therapist in New York, New York

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