Trauma Assessment & Support Service (TASS) Therapy Options

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy

Trauma focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is delivered by experienced and trained therapists. A collaborative form of therapy, the therapist and client develop a trusting working relationship. During sessions the therapist will help clients to:

  • Manage overwhelming feelings of trauma or PTSD

  • Understand relaxation techniques and how to use them effectively

  • Work with difficult memories and beliefs

  • Support clients to get back to what they used to enjoy doing

Non-trauma-focused interventions such as relaxation or non-directive therapy, that do not address traumatic memories, should not routinely be offered to people who present with PTSD symptoms within 3 months of a traumatic event.

Duration

The duration of trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy should normally be 8–12 sessions, but if the treatment starts in the first month after the event, fewer sessions (about 5) may be sufficient. When the trauma is discussed in the treatment session, longer sessions (for example, 90 minutes) are usually necessary. Treatment should be regular and continuous (usually at least once a week) and should be delivered by the same person.

EMDR Therapy

EMDR is an acronym for 'Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing'

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The predominant aim is to release the individual from challenging thoughts from the past and to subsequently enable adaptive responses to be possible in the present so that the disturbing memory is no longer emotionally distressing. The person will remember the event rather than re-experience it. 

EMDR is a powerful psychological treatment method that is recommended by NICE for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and trauma. This therapy has also proven useful for other conditions including:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Negative experiences in relationships

  • Phobias / fear

  • Intrusive thoughts

  • Grief

  • Pain management

  • Body dysmorphic disorder

  • Emotional, physical and sexual abuse

  • Addictions

  • Performance anxieties including sexual dysfunction

  • Psychosis

  • Abandonment

  • Trauma including giving birth

Learn more about EMDR

PTSD where symptoms have been present for more than 3 months after a trauma

The duration of trauma-focused psychological treatment should normally be 8–12 sessions when the PTSD results from a single event. When the trauma is discussed in the treatment session, longer sessions than usual are generally necessary (for example 90 minutes). Treatment should be regular and continuous (usually at least once a week) and should be delivered by the same person.