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Relational trauma is a complicated trauma you won’t find in the DSM-5, yet it is recognized by experts throughout the psychological world. Though it might not carry the recognition like other traumas, the burden of its wounds says plenty.

60% of U.S. adults suffered abuse or hardships growing up. 14% of children report abuse from their caregivers. 40% of children are harmed at least once a year. At some point in their lives, one-third of women and one-fourth of men will be victims of partner violence and related traumatic events.

When the individuals meant to protect and nurture you don’t come through, it can take a pretty serious toll. You’ve paid enough. It’s time to move forward. Your personalized treatment plan awaits at our relational trauma treatment center in Nashville, Tennessee.

What is Relational Trauma?

Relational trauma results from an unhealthy relationship with someone close to you. It develops from trauma-focused, repeat events rather than one instance of intense trauma. It’s sometimes called relationship trauma or relationship post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Relational trauma typically refers to what happens from the effects of:

  • Abuse through exposure to harmful experiences. These can include physical, sexual, or emotional.
  • Neglect is trauma due to things that didn‘t happen, such as physical or emotional abandonment.
  • Enmeshment is a lack of boundaries between family members. It can hold back a child’s independence and sense of self.

The primary caregiving role is essential to a child’s upbringing. If this person doesn’t provide a healthy relationship, relational trauma can be the result.

What Causes Relational Trauma?

Constant unease and change during adolescence can cause this type of trauma. The main examples come from childhood neglect plus emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. It can also cross paths with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Though these are the main forms of relational trauma, there are many ways in which traumatic familial experiences can lead to the development of relational trauma. 

For example:

  • Parents neglect their kids or leave them alone. This can be physical or emotional.
  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by someone close to them.
  • Families with chaos and fighting in the home.
  • Parents or caregivers might have a substance use disorder.
  • A divorce or the death of a parent or caregiver.
  • Being bullied by others

In some instances, a parent might struggle to give emotional support to their child due to:

  • Personal mental health difficulties
  • Substance use disorder or misuse
  • Demanding work hours
  • Domestic violence in the home
  • Needing to care for other family members
  • Feeling lost and overwhelmed by a child’s needs

This doesn’t justify their actions or lack of action. A child might understand these issues, but it doesn’t change the lack of emotional support they suffer from.

Symptoms and Signs of Relational Trauma

The effects of trauma usually appear once a person is grown. This is despite the fact they experienced mistreatment as a child. Complex trauma can create problems in a person’s mind, body, behavior, and emotions. TRUE’s treatment mission also caters to these elements.

Some common signs of this type of trauma can include: 

Psychological

  • Detachment
  • Distraction
  • Self-Doubt
  • Suicidal Thoughts

Physical 

  • Disturbed Sleep
  • Stomach Problems
  • Migraines
  • Overreacting to Loud Noises
  • Feeling Faint
  • Sleep Terrors

Behavioral 

  • Reckless Behavior
  • Disturbing, Intrusive Memories
  • Withdrawn from Social Situations
  • Substance Dependence

Emotional

  • Mood Disorder
  • Excessive Worrying
  • Attention-Seeking Behavior
  • Panic Disorder Symptoms
  • Poor Emotional Regulation

If this mental health disorder isn’t treated, the symptoms become more problematic. Daily life can get exhausting.

Types of Relational Trauma

Relational trauma falls into two categories: childhood and adult.

Childhood trauma stems from mistreatment by parents or caregivers. This includes abuse, neglect, or abandonment. It leads to insecurity, distrust, and difficulties in adult relationships.

Later life experiences can also cause this trauma to develop in adults. Abuse, neglect, or abandonment by loved ones, partners, family, friends, or others lays the groundwork. Relational trauma impacts social life, twists self-image, and inhibits emotional control. 

Why is Relational Trauma Treatment Vital?

This trauma will never go away on its own. It happens in childhood but persists as you enter adult life. Relational trauma hurts your ability to build healthy relationships. This serious setback can affect your personal and professional life. This can lead to co-occurring mental health issues like depression. Or turning to substances like alcohol to cope. It only gets worse the longer this trauma grows. You can find yourself alone if the trauma has the reins.

As an adult, these signs can include:

  • Taking responsibility for others’ emotional well-being:
  • Being hyper-vigilant in watching others’ moods:
  • Extreme attention to self-sufficiency
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Fear of failure

Trauma is an area of specialty at our recovery center. We use effective strategies like psychotherapy, mindfulness, and positive lifestyle habits for healing. Recovery is transformative for those who have experienced relational trauma. The symptoms take away more of your life and sense of self. TRUE is your source of healing to live a positive and productive life.

Why Choose Us 

We don’t treat bipolar disorder like borderline personality disorder (BPD). We know trauma is unique to the individual, and we treat this with respect. We want to build your toolkit to break from relational trauma. 

Consider your next stop in Nashville, Tennessee. Our relational trauma center results from years of industry experience and research. Founder Benjamin Dobbs saw an incredible need to improve mental health treatment programs. He applied over a decade of knowledge to build TRUE into the recovery center it is today. Our outpatient programs go the distance.

Our Relational Trauma Treatment Programs

We provide specialized mental health care and many exciting wellness therapies. We pair this with talk therapy which complements our holistic nature. At TRUE, we respect and act with your well-being and needs in mind first. We work hard to foster a calm, safe space so that you can focus on yourself while recovering. 

We celebrate our clients and offer real solutions to navigate relational trauma recovery. Our therapy reclaims control of your sense of self through evidence-based and holistic natural interventions. We will build your most important relationship back. The one with yourself.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Our outpatient program is a step down from an inpatient or residential treatment center. PHP is our 30 hours a week program. You come to our center in the daytime and go home at night. You ease into applying what you learn into your daily life. This program instills the skills not to let relational trauma control your life. It dives deeper into mental illness and substance abuse if needed.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Intensive outpatient is a lot like PHP but with fewer restrictions. You continue to strengthen your emotional regulation, coping techniques and change your thinking. You attend this program three to five days a week for 15 hours. 

You’ll have a variety of treatment modalities that cater to your individual needs. Mindfulness meditation in a peaceful setting for healing inspires our wellness services. You return home at night to ease into regular life.

Community Living Homes

Sober living isn’t exclusive to addiction recovery. Early recovery is a life change. A sober home means a peaceful environment in a safe setting. Many of the triggers of the trauma’s characteristics come into play so you can adjust.

Our outpatient programs aren’t the end. Aftercare for relapse prevention into old thought patterns or habits is vital. This includes peer support specialists, recovery coaching, and ongoing counseling.

Our Approach to Relational Trauma Treatment 

We understand coping with the symptoms of this trauma is unbearable. Our customized treatment plans pave the way to a brighter road ahead. The great news is that recovery is in close reach. You deserve a life of healthy relationships.

Benjamin Dobbs spent many years evaluating services, treatment modalities,  resources, and programs. He learned a more in-depth way to treat mental conditions for people stuck. We use the best evidence-based therapy and holistic “whole self” healing approaches. 

You can embrace who you are and where you want to go.  At our mental health recovery center, you won’t sit in a room for hours. You discover your authentic self through our immersive treatment services.

Our in-depth approach defines our center’s commitment to quality. Ben noticed the core nature and creative instincts of people fell by the wayside. TRUE Addiction and Behavioral Health brings both a fresh approach to wellness interventions.

Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)

Medication can enable you to learn strategies better for the long term. Paired with therapy, medication-assisted treatment can be very effective. Depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, or other issues caused by relational trauma each have different options to consider. Prescription drugs like antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication can often be beneficial. Although they’re not always required.

Antidepressants and Anti-Anxiety MAT Include:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved. SSRIs manage your brain’s chemical serotonin. This reduces the feelings of anxiety and emotional regulation challenges. These antidepressants include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil).

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another type of antidepressant. Venlafaxine (Effexor XR) is FDA-approved for treating panic disorders.

Beta-blockers lower your “fight-or-flight” reactions to triggers of trauma. This is a heart medication on-label.  But it’s also prescribed off-label for anxiety disorders. Beta-blockers impede the effects of adrenaline. This treats the symptoms that relate to the anxiety core of this mental health condition.

Common beta-blockers include bisoprolol (Zebeta), atenolol (Tenormin), and acebutolol (Sectral). Studies have shown their effects resemble benzodiazepines but with less risk of addiction. 

Always talk to your doctor about any changes you experience while on medication.

Talk Therapy

Also known as psychotherapy, this science-backed behavioral treatment is effective. It is helpful to tackle all sorts of trauma. It also improves mental health difficulties that come from it. Our therapists guide you to understand how the trauma changed your way of thinking and sense of self. Therapy sessions are all about addressing problems you want to solve.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a well-known style of talk therapy (psychotherapy). Our clinicians use CBT techniques beneficial for anxiety-related disorders. CBT teaches you to pinpoint and cope with the results of childhood neglect in a way that lets you move forward. Depending on the individual’s complex trauma, CBT works well paired with medications. It also is effective on its own.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a variation of CBT. It goes well in treating various personality disorders. The main goal of DBT is to cultivate the fulfilling life you deserve.  It guides taking a more optimistic outlook on life. Individuals who undergo DBT have low self-esteem and feel hopeless. This therapy specializes in changing thoughts and actions to align with personal goals.

Holistic Therapy

Our trauma recovery programs are more than medications or therapy. We unite a wide range of natural, non-drug treatments. Each can relieve symptoms and side effects living with relational trauma creates. They also get you back in touch with you.

We offer these treatment program modalities, with more in the works:

  • Music Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Yoga
  • CEMA (cognitive, emotional, memory assessments)
  • Acupuncture 
  • Movement Therapy
  • Animal Therapy
  • Onsite physical fitness equipment with personal trainers on staff

Get the Trauma Treatment You Deserve

If you or a loved one is struggling with complex trauma, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. Untreated relational trauma can make a huge impact on your future.

The impact only grows if you let it. We’re available 24/7 to help answer your questions.  Give us a call or email us to start the conversation.