Everyone experiences and processes trauma differently. Because of this, not all trauma treatments will work for everyone. Even if two individuals experience the exact same traumatic event, they may require two very different treatment options. This is completely normal.
If you are trying to heal from sexual trauma, but the treatment options you have embraced so far have not been as helpful as you’d like for them to be, you may be wondering what other options you have. Luckily, there are tons of options when it comes to alternative trauma treatment. From art therapy to acupuncture, many people are able to find something that works for them in their healing journey.
Here, we’ll dive into seven of the most popular and effective alternative trauma treatments that people who are healing from sexual trauma use.
If you find that traditional talk therapy is hard for you or is simply not as fulfilling as you want it to be, you may want to opt for a more abstract treatment option. Art therapy is a great example of this because it is an excellent tool for helping patients interpret and express their thoughts and emotions. This treatment option is more creative and can feel less scary or direct than having a conversation with a therapist.
When you begin with an art therapist (or if your current therapist is familiar with and practices art therapy), they will guide you through expressing yourself through art. They may help you learn to use a medium, such as colored pencils or paint. They will then discuss the results of the art therapy with you — like how you felt and the art you created during the session.
Not everyone will find art therapy helpful for them, but those who do generally count it as an integral part of their healing journey, as it allows them to express their thoughts and feelings more freely than they may be able to in a conversation.
Dance, or dance and movement therapy, is another more creative treatment option for individuals suffering from sexual trauma. Dance therapy, however, focuses more on the connection between the mind and body. By using movement, dance therapy can help to form stronger connections between your mind and body.
This treatment option is one that really needs to be experienced to know whether or not it will work for you because it relies on the physical movement of your body to affect your thoughts and feelings. Realistically, you cannot know how this type of therapy would affect your personal healing journey without trying it.
Like dance therapy, trauma-informed yoga is another more physical treatment option. If you are not a fan of dance but you still want to pursue a treatment option that helps you get a better understanding of what is going on in your body, yoga is a great option.
Unlike many other forms of trauma treatments, yoga does not rely on taking you back to the cause of your trauma. Instead, you are focusing on your mind and body in the current moment — where your muscles are tensed and what you are feeling. Once you can better recognize what your mind and body are experiencing, you can better address those feelings. This allows you to release tension, built-up emotions, and stress.
Another form of creative trauma therapy is drama therapy. In drama therapy, you are utilizing theater and drama to achieve your goals. Drama therapy uses roles, stories, plays, empathy, performance, improvisation, and much more to help people better understand their own emotions and make meaningful changes in their lives.
The practices and specific approach to drama therapy that works for you may be different from what activities and practices work for another person. Because of this, it is a good idea to talk to a drama therapist who can help you determine which approaches will be the most effective for your particular situation before diving right into it.
Bibliotherapy is extremely common and is often used by therapists in conjunction with other treatment methods. It can be exceptionally helpful for individuals dealing with sexual trauma because there are numerous books, stories, and other written media about the topic of sexual trauma. Not only this, there are endless pieces of literature that highlight good coping mechanisms, detail safe and effective ways to heal from trauma, and offer incredibly important advice for making and keeping healthy habits in your life. All of these things can be essential to healing from your trauma.
Another benefit of bibliotherapy is that it allows you to really absorb and interpret the messages you are reading and use them more effectively in your own life — especially when you discuss your takeaways with your therapist or in a group therapy setting.
Reiki is a common type of energy healing practice that comes from Japan. This practice has been used for over 2,000 years, and many people find it to be essential to helping them relieve pent-up emotions and stress caused by trauma. The idea behind this treatment is that the energy in our bodies can stagnate when we have experienced pain — either mental or physical. This stagnation can lead to further pain or illness. Reiki works to release these energy blockages by improving the flow of energy in our bodies.
Typically a practitioner will place their hands lightly over certain places on your limbs, torso, and head. Doing this will allow them to transfer energy and “unclog” the energy blockages that are in your body. This can be an incredibly effective way to encourage relaxation and release thoughts and feelings that may come up as you are dealing with your trauma.
Another very common treatment option for trauma is acupuncture. Like yoga, acupuncture is generally viewed as more of a physical approach to treatment — though it has both physical- and energy-healing effects. This works very well for some and not well for others. While an integral part of traditional medicine, acupuncture is used today by people all over the world to stimulate nerves, muscles, and tissues in your body.
One thing to remember if you are considering acupuncture is that, if done by someone who is not a professional, it can come with a number of risks. Because acupuncture relies on inserting very thin needles into your body, you want to ensure the person doing the acupuncture is qualified to do so. However, when done right, acupuncture can be an incredibly effective way to manage stress, re-balance your body, and relax your muscles.
Realistically, you may find that a couple of these treatment options work well for you. You may find that none of these treatments really help. Remember, everyone is different, and just because art therapy works for someone does not mean it will work for someone else. The trick is finding which treatments (or combination of treatments) work for you and your healing journey.
How to Heal from Sexual Trauma
As mentioned above, there are numerous types of treatments for trauma, and some may be more effective than others in helping you heal from your trauma. Finding the right one can be challenging, but once you do find it, it can be an integral part of your healing process.
Each person will likely have their own preferences, and in reality, not all of the alternative trauma treatments we explored here may be a good fit for you. On the other hand, you may find that more than one of these alternatives really helps you. The best way to find out what works best for you is to try out different approaches. You can try some of the treatment options we mentioned above on your own, or you may find that it is beneficial to have the support of a professional counselor or therapist to help guide you through what alternative options may be a good option for you.
If you are considering trying an alternative trauma treatment to help heal from sexual trauma but do not know where to start, talking with a therapist can be an excellent first step. Many therapists are familiar with different types of alternative treatment options, and they can help you decide which options you may want to explore further, as well as offer more information about how each treatment option may be able to help your personal healing journey.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us today at Love Heal Grow to get in touch with a therapist who can help support you as you navigate through both traditional and alternative treatment methods.