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  • Writer's pictureEmily Smith

Trauma Therapy after Traumatic Events like the UNC School Shooting

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

The UNC school shooting highlights many, many, many stark needs within our nation. The debate is ongoing and polarizing. Each individual has a different belief or opinion about what the "right" step forward is to fix this revolving issue. One piece that remains, no matter what legislation is put forward or shifts are made from those that have the power to do so, is that the pain left as a result of what has occurred and continues to occur will not go away as quickly as it came. To those who have been touched by the profound tragedy of the UNC school shooting and similar atrocities, healing is possible. The path forward after traumatic events like this is complex, layered, maybe confusing, downright terrifying. Finding a specialized trauma therapist in order to heal through trauma therapy can be a guiding light on this journey.

It's essential to lean on those who support and ground you. Sometimes though, those individuals may not be equipped to help you navigate the nuances of your deeply painful experiences. When seeking a therapist after traumatic experiences like this, it can be of benefit to prioritize finding a healer who has specialized training and experience in working with trauma survivors. They are equipped with the knowledge and techniques to address the complex emotional and psychological aftermath of events like the UNC school shooting.

Seek Recommendations and Referrals

Trauma therapy after traumatic events can be an imperative component of healing. If you're uncertain where to start, seeking recommendations from trusted sources can be immensely helpful. Reach out to your primary care physician, mental health professionals, support groups, or friends who may have experience in connecting with trauma therapists. Personal referrals often come with the added assurance of a therapist's effectiveness and compatibility. Online therapist directories can also help you to start a general search and begin narrowing down the list until you've identified someone who may be the best fit for you.

Research and Ask Questions

As you compile a list of potential therapists, take the time to research their experience with trauma. Those that specialize in trauma typically obtain certifications and affiliations with reputable organizations that specialize in trauma therapy. Different therapists may have varying approaches and asking questions and doing a bit of research might help you to understand the approaches that might feel best suited for you. This will also help you to understand a bit more about the style of therapist that you're looking to connect with. Some trauma-specific approaches in therapy include Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Brainspotting, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), or Somatic Experiencing.

Schedule Consultations with Potential Therapists

The relationship that you have with your therapist is everything, and many therapists offer initial consultations which can be invaluable in assessing whether they are the right fit for you. Use this opportunity to ask about their experience with trauma survivors, their treatment strategies, and their overall approach to therapy. Gauge how comfortable you feel discussing your experiences with them.

Consider the Logistics

The practical aspects of therapy, such as location, availability, and affordability, are also crucial. Not every trauma therapist is one-size-fits-all and it's important to find someone who checks the logistical boxes just as much as others. In this type of work, consistency is crucial. Choose a therapist whose office is convenient for you to reach or practices virtually if that's best for you, and inquire about their scheduling options. If cost is a concern, explore whether they accept insurance, offer reduced rates, or have other payment arrangements available. Often times, therapists who are considered out-of-network and don't accept insurances have other resources to offer that can assist you with the financial investment.

Trust Your Instincts

Above all, trust your instincts when choosing a trauma therapist that will be best for you. As mentioned above, a strong and trusting relationship is essential for you to process the hardship you've experienced. Your comfort and sense of safety during therapy are paramount. Pay attention to how you feel during the consultation and trust your gut feeling about whether you can establish a strong therapeutic rapport with the therapist.

Choosing a trauma therapist is a significant decision that can pave the way for your healing and recovery after major events like the recent UNC campus shooting. Remember that seeking help is an act of strength, and finding the right therapist is a vital step towards regaining control over your life.

UNC school shooting survivors seeking trauma therapy


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