Trauma-Informed Therapy

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Trauma can affect individuals in profound ways, impacting their mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being. Recognizing the prevalence and significance of trauma, mental health professionals have developed various therapeutic approaches to address its effects, one of those being Trauma-Informed Therapy.
Lightwork Therapy & Recovery utilizes trauma-informed therapy to address PTSD, trauma, and other mental health disorders. We also offer gender-specific treatment for women which enhances the effectiveness of our trauma-informed approach.

Trauma-Informed Care is grounded in five key principles that provide a safe and supportive environment for those who have experienced trauma and are looking for ways to address it.


These 5 principles are:


Creating a safe and stable environment is paramount in trauma-informed care. This involves both physical and emotional safety. Building trust allows the person participating in therapy to feel safe and secure throughout the entire process.

Trustworthiness and Transparency

Trauma survivors often struggle with issues of trust. Trauma-informed therapy emphasizes the importance of being trustworthy and transparent in all interactions. Clear communication and honesty help in rebuilding trust, fostering a therapeutic relationship built on mutual understanding.

Peer Support

Peer support is a crucial aspect of all types of therapy, including trauma-informed therapy. Connecting individuals with shared experiences can offer validation, understanding, and a sense of belonging both during and after treatment.

Collaboration and Mutuality

Therapeutic relationships in trauma-informed care are collaborative partnerships. Treatment professionals work with their patients, acknowledging their expertise in their own lives. This approach fosters a sense of empowerment and autonomy, crucial for individuals recovering from trauma.

Empowerment, Voice, and Choice

Trauma survivors often feel a loss of control. Trauma-informed therapy seeks to restore a sense of empowerment by giving them a voice in their treatment and respecting their choices. This principle promotes autonomy and self-efficacy in the recovery process.

What is the Difference Between

Trauma Therapy and Trauma-Informed Therapy?

While both trauma therapy and trauma-informed therapy address trauma, it’s important to note that they are not the same thing.

Trauma therapy typically refers to specific therapeutic interventions designed to target and process trauma, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), narrative therapy, or somatic experiencing. Trauma therapy often involves exploring and processing traumatic memories to alleviate symptoms and promote healing.

Trauma-informed therapy, on the other hand, is a broader approach to addressing and treating trauma. It’s not a specific therapeutic modality, but rather a framework that guides the therapeutic relationship and treatment planning. As we touched on, trauma-informed therapy prioritizes creating a safe and supportive environment, acknowledging the prevalence of trauma, and integrating trauma-sensitive practices into all aspects of care.

So, to recap, trauma-informed therapy is an umbrella term used to describe various forms of trauma-related therapy, one of which being trauma therapy.

Is CBT a Trauma-Informed Approach?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that is used to treat a number of different ailments. CBT focuses on identifying the underlying causes of the issue, such as negative thoughts and behaviors, and teaching new, healthier coping mechanisms.

While CBT is not a specific trauma therapy, it can be incorporated into the overall trauma-informed approach.

In a trauma-informed CBT approach, therapists integrate an understanding of trauma and its effects into the therapeutic process. This may involve modifying traditional CBT techniques to be more sensitive to the unique needs of trauma survivors. An example of this is pacing the therapy to accommodate the person’s comfort level, emphasizing safety, and incorporating grounding techniques.

It is important to note, however, that not all therapists well-versed in CBT have experience working with those experiencing trauma. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you seek out a therapist specifically experienced in trauma-informed CBT.

How does Trauma-Informed Therapy Work?

We’ve talked a lot about the various principles of trauma-informed therapy but it’s also important to understand how it all works as well. Trauma-informed therapy operates on the foundational understanding that trauma can have pervasive and lasting effects on an individual’s life.


Below is a breakdown of how it all works:

Assessment and Collaboration

The first step in the therapeutic process is to undergo an assessment and evaluation in order to determine important info such as the person’s history, experiences, and current challenges. From there, they will collaborate with their therapist to make sure that their perspective is valued, and treatment goals align with their needs.

Creating a Safe Environment

Establishing safety is a fundamental aspect of trauma-informed therapy. This involves not only physical safety but also emotional safety. Therapists strive to create an environment where clients feel secure, respected, and understood.


Psychoeducation is also an important part of the overall treatment process. For those participating in trauma-informed therapy, psychoeducation teaches them the effects of trauma on the brain, emotions, and behavior. Understanding the physiological and psychological impact of trauma can empower individuals and reduce feelings of shame or self-blame.

Mindfulness and Grounding Techniques

Incorporating mindfulness and grounding techniques helps clients develop a present-focused awareness. These practices can be particularly beneficial for managing symptoms of anxiety, dissociation, or hyperarousal commonly associated with trauma.

Flexibility and Individualization

Recognizing the diverse experiences and responses to trauma, trauma-informed therapy is flexible and individualized. Therapists adapt their approach to meet the unique needs and preferences of each patient, ensuring that the therapeutic process is both effective and respectful.

How Effective is Trauma-Informed Therapy?

While not every type of therapy is effective for everyone, trauma-informed therapy has been proven to be effective in treating those with a history of trauma. Trauma-informed therapy utilizes its emphasis on safety, collaboration, and empowerment to help promote recovery and improve overall mental health.

Beyond just that, though, trauma-informed therapy is also effective in reducing symptoms commonly associated with trauma such as intrusive thoughts, hyperarousal, and avoidance behaviors. It has also proven to be effective in helping to improve overall functionality.

Once again though, it is important to note that the effectiveness of this type of therapy can vary based on factors such as the severity of the trauma.

What Is An Example of a Trauma-Informed Approach?

An example of a trauma-informed approach can be observed in the integration of trauma-sensitive language and practices within therapeutic settings. This includes:

Language and Communication

Trauma-informed therapy recognizes the impact of language on individuals who have experienced trauma. Therapists use clear, non-judgmental, and empowering language, avoiding triggering or stigmatizing terms. Communication is respectful, validating, and attentive.

Choice and Autonomy

Trauma survivors often experience a loss of control during traumatic events. A trauma-informed approach seeks to restore a sense of choice and autonomy. This can be observed in decision-making processes within therapy, where the person in therapy is actively involved in setting goals, determining the pace of treatment, and making choices that align with their preferences.

Sensory Considerations

Many trauma survivors have heightened sensitivities to sensory stimuli. A trauma-informed approach considers these sensitivities and makes adjustments to the therapeutic environment. This may include providing options for lighting, allowing breaks during sessions, or incorporating sensory tools to support regulation.

Flexibility in Scheduling

Trauma-informed therapy acknowledges the potential challenges individuals may face in adhering to a rigid schedule. Therapists tend to be flexible in scheduling appointments, understanding that factors such as transportation, childcare, or work obligations may impact a person’s ability to attend regular sessions.

By incorporating these elements into the therapeutic process, a trauma-informed approach fosters an environment that promotes safety, trust, and collaboration, essential for the healing journey.

Why is a Trauma-Informed Approach Important in Women’s Treatment?

A trauma-informed approach is particularly crucial in women’s treatment due to the higher prevalence of trauma experienced by women. Many women seeking mental health support have histories of trauma that are unique to women, such as interpersonal violence, sexual assault, or childhood abuse.

Additionally, women may experience trauma in ways that are different than men, especially when it comes to some of the gender-specific trauma examples we listed above. A trauma-informed approach in women’s treatment recognizes and addresses these gender-specific traumas, creating a space where women feel understood and supported.

Trauma-informed therapy also allows women to break many of the stigmas surrounding women and mental health. This type of therapy promotes an environment of understanding, empathy, and validation, allowing the therapist to break down societal barriers and promote a culture of compassion and support.

Get Trauma-Informed Therapy at Lightwork Therapy and Recovery

If you or a loved one is a woman looking for trauma therapy, look no further than the Trauma-Informed Therapy program at Lightwork Therapy and Recovery.

We are a women’s only treatment center located in Woburn, Massachusetts specializing in treatment for trauma-based issues such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD in an outpatient setting.

For more information on our treatment programs, contact us today. Together, we can illuminate the path to healing and well-being.