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Trauma Therapy & Counseling Services in Tennessee

Trauma Therapy & Counseling Services in Tennessee

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What is Trauma?

Trauma is a phrase used to express the difficult emotional effects that experiencing a traumatic event can have on a person. Because different people may experience the same event differently, defining what constitutes a traumatic occurrence can be challenging.

Trauma happens when a person is overcome by circumstances or events and reacts by experiencing severe fear, horror, and helplessness. Extreme stress outweighs a person’s ability to cope.1

Early life trauma, such as abuse, neglect, and a broken attachment, can frequently be devastating. Later life situations, including a catastrophic accident, being the victim of violence, going through a natural disaster or war, or experiencing a sudden, unexpected loss, can be equally difficult.2

There are three types of trauma:3

  • Acute: An isolated incident leads to acute trauma
  • Chronic: Domestic abuse or violence are examples of chronic trauma because they occur frequently and last a long time
  • Complex: Exposure to various, numerous, and frequently intrusive interpersonal traumas

Risk factors are contributing elements rather than the root causes of trauma. Risk factor examples include:4

  • Social isolation
  • Domestic violence in family history
  • Poverty and other social disadvantages, like unemployment
  • Substance abuse in the family
  • History of depression and other mental health disorders within the family
  • Absence of family unity
  • Family breakdown, divorce, and violence

Between 2014 and 2017, over half of adult Tennesseans reported having at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE), and nearly 17% had four or more. In addition, ACEs among Tennessee adults resulted in an estimated $5.2 billion in direct medical expenses in 2017 and lost productivity from employees missing work.5 Furthermore, in the United States, 70% of individuals have gone through a traumatic event at least once in their life.

Signs You Need Trauma Therapy

The way a person reacts to a traumatic event can vary. Do not criticize your own or other people’s responses since there is no “right” or “wrong” response to a thought, an emotion, or a response. However, when signs and symptoms of trauma interrupt your daily routine, it’s time to think about therapy for trauma.

Below are some common signs that you may need trauma therapy:6

Psychological and Emotional Signs:

  • Disbelief, denial, or shock
  • Confusion and difficulty concentrating
  • Angry, irritable, and moody
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Shame, guilt, and self-blame
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Social isolation
  • Feeling depressed or hopeless
  • Feeling unconnected or unresponsive

Physical Signs

  • Nightmares or insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Startling easily
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sudden sweating
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Aches and pains
  • Muscle tension
  • Constipation or diarrhea

Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance provider can help with the costs by filling in our confidential insurance verification form below.

Trauma Treatments & Therapy

The methods and goals used in trauma-specific therapy differ. Some are present-focused, others are past focused, and some are both present and past focused. One strategy may be preferable to another depending on the trauma’s specifics and your particular needs.7

Below are examples of the various kinds of therapy for trauma:

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT): CPT involves questioning your perspective on what caused the traumatic incident and the ideas and beliefs you’ve formed in its wake. You can use this therapy in a group or an individual setting.8
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy aims to understand how ideas, feelings, and behaviors are connected. In CBT, you and a therapist jointly decide on goals before you change how you think about a situation to alter how you react to it.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT seeks to improve emotional regulation, just like other forms of trauma therapy. Suicidal thoughts have been successfully treated with this type of therapy. Numerous mental health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), have also shown success with this approach. It aids in fostering new abilities to support people in changing unhealthy behaviors.
  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): TF-CBT therapy is a cognitive behavioral approach mainly used with traumatized children and adolescents. It can assist in addressing false ideas and destructive behavioral patterns. In this method, parents or other caregivers are also included.
  • Prolonged Exposure (PE): The goal of this therapy technique is to continually expose you to the source of your anxiety until it disappears.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): With the aid of visual stimulation, patients undergoing EMDR therapy concentrate on their trauma. While the stimulation helps reduce the emotional and physiological response to the trauma, thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations are triggered. The trauma-related negative thoughts can then be processed using more accepting and uplifting beliefs.
  • Group Therapy: The benefit of group therapy treatment is that it demonstrates that you are not alone in your challenges. Group participants grow more at ease telling their stories and assisting others through the trauma by being in a safe and encouraging environment.

Since PE and CPT have the most studies supporting their efficacy, they are the first-line therapy for trauma. In addition, there is significant evidence that trauma focused therapies like PE, CPT, and CBT are effective in the treatment of PTSD.9

Counseling for trauma can help you deal with trauma brought on by a single occurrence or a persistent or continuous circumstance. It can allow you to confront your concerns in a secure setting and teach you coping mechanisms to aid your day-to-day functioning.

Finding a therapist who can help you comprehend your trauma and discover practical coping methods can be very helpful. You might disclose facts you have never revealed to anyone else or talk about sensitive subjects. You want to work with someone with whom you can be open and honest while remaining comfortable.10 A therapist’s profile can give you some basic information. However, unless you speak with the therapist over the phone or in person, you won’t know the most important factor—the chemistry between you.

In addition, you’ll probably find a series of letters following licensed mental health professionals’ names when seeking work stress counseling services. These letters signify their degree, and the prerequisites for each degree are different.

For instance, in Tennessee, a clinician with LCSW after their name must have at least 3,000 hours of clinical practice and a master’s degree in social work. This includes at least 100 hours of direct supervision, 60 of which must be one-on-one.11 In addition, a psychologist (usually with a Ph.D. or PsyD) has training in various forms of psychotherapy and psychological assessments. At the same time, a master’s degree in counseling is required, as well as state-mandated training and certification, for certification as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).

In addition, while most therapists see a range of clients for a variety of reasons, many of them have areas of expertise. Therefore, you’ll want to find one who specializes in trauma counseling. For example, if you’re experiencing high levels of anxiety or depression, you’ll want to find a trauma therapist who has extensively worked with patients with anxiety and depression.

Medication Treatment for Trauma

The primary treatment for trauma is talk therapy. However, medications can help correct chemical imbalances in the brain to minimize symptoms associated with trauma. New, detailed research encourages using psychotherapy initially, then medication if psychotherapy is ineffective, or beginning treating trauma with a combination.12

Various treatment medications that can help reduce trauma symptoms include antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the drugs paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft) the green light to treat PTSD.13

Trauma Therapy Treatment Costs & Insurance Coverage

As the Affordable Care Act requires, most private health insurance policies must provide coverage for mental health treatment like psychotherapy. The cost of trauma counseling may be partially or entirely covered, depending on your specific type of health insurance, personal policy coverage, and deductible or lifetime limits. In addition, you may be responsible for a copay. Therefore, the following costs may not reflect the actual price you’ll pay for counseling for trauma in Tennessee.

In the United States, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions often last 45 minutes or more and cost between $100 and $200, dependent upon the state and the length of the session. In addition, doctor’s visits alone can range from a few hundred dollars to more than $2,700.14

Despite the possibility of insurance coverage for medications, those without insurance or with high deductibles might be concerned about cost. Keep in mind that many insurance policies still limit coverage to specific drug classes, dosage regimens, or just the generic form and not the brand name.

The price of an average monthly supply of regularly prescribed antidepressants, for example, can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars, depending on the dosage. Depending on the medicine, location, and dosage, generic versions of medications often cost $5 to $25 per month.15

Trauma Therapy Treatment Success & Outlook

According to studies, between 77% and 100% of patients who participate in consistent, personalized trauma therapy sessions experience a decrease in their symptoms.16 This compares favorably to research on trauma patients who took medication to manage their symptoms.17

Each individual is unique, as are their trauma-related symptoms. Your individual needs also influence how your trauma is treated. In other words, no one therapy for trauma works for everyone.

Compared to chronic issues, acute challenges typically require fewer therapy sessions. Additionally, the treatment time varies depending on the treatment being given; cognitive behavioral therapies, which concentrate on a particular issue, are typically shorter than psychotherapies with a broader focus.18

According to the American Psychological Association, “on average 15 to 20 sessions are necessary for 50% of patients to recover, as shown by self-reported symptom measures.”

Several factors will determine how long you need therapy for trauma, including:

  • The severity of your trauma and its symptoms
  • Associated disorders (like anxiety or substance abuse)
  • Your commitment to trauma therapy
  • The frequency of therapy sessions

It’s a strong indication that therapy is working if you spend less time or effort trying to forget the traumatic event(s). Likewise, complete remission or the capacity to get through the day without being hampered by symptoms of trauma are signs of a successful outcome.


  1. National Council for Behavioral Health. “How to Manage Trauma.” National Council for Wellbeing, www.thenationalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Trauma-infographic.pdf. Accessed 16 Nov. 2022.
  2. “Trauma.” CAMH, www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/trauma. Accessed 16 Nov. 2022.
  3. “Trauma-Informed Care.” Missouri’s Early Care & Education Connections, earlyconnections.mo.gov/professionals/trauma-informed-care. Accessed 16 Nov. 2022.
  4. American Trauma Society. “Risk and Protective Factors.” Trauma Survivors Network, www.traumasurvivorsnetwork.org/traumapedias/777. Accessed 16 Nov. 2022.
  5. Melton, Courtnee. “The Economic Cost of Adverse Childhood Experiences in Tennessee.” The Sycamore Institute, 26 Feb. 2021, www.sycamoreinstitutetn.org/economic-cost-adverse-childhood-experiences.
  6. Finch, Jon. “How Do I Know if I’ve Been Affected by Trauma?” Centre for Clinical Psychology Melbourne, 15 Sept. 2022, ccp.net.au/how-do-i-know-if-ive-been-affected-by-trauma.
  7. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (US). Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services. “Chapter 6 Trauma-Specific Services.” National Library of Medicine, 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207184.
  8. Gupta, Sanjana. “What Is Trauma Therapy?” Verywell Mind, 8 Aug. 2021, www.verywellmind.com/trauma-therapy-definition-types-techniques-and-efficacy-5191413.
  9. Watkins, Laura E., et al. “Treating PTSD: A Review of Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Interventions.” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 12, Frontiers Media SA, Nov. 2018, https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00258.
  10. Morin, Amy LCSW. “How to Find a Therapist.” Verywell Mind, 16 May 2022, www.verywellmind.com/how-to-choose-the-right-therapist-for-you-4842306.
  11. Writers, Staff. “Social Work Licensure in Tennessee | Find Accredited Programs.” SocialWorkLicensure.Org, 1 July 2019, socialworklicensure.org/state/social-work-licensure-tennessee.
  12. Merz, Jasmin, et al. “Comparative Efficacy and Acceptability of Pharmacological, Psychotherapeutic, and Combination Treatments in Adults With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.” JAMA Psychiatry, vol. 76, no. 9, American Medical Association (AMA), Sept. 2019, p. 904. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.0951.
  13. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Diagnosis and Treatment.” Mayo Clinic, 6 July 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355973.
  14. Lauretta, Ashley. “How Much Does Therapy Cost?” edited by Alena Hall, Forbes Health, 2021, https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/how-much-does-therapy-cost/
  15. Malka, Terez, MD. “How Much Do Antidepressants Cost? With and Without Insurance.” K Health, 3 Oct. 2022, khealth.com/learn/antidepressants/how-much-do-antidepressants-cost.
  16. Reisman, Miriam. “PTSD Treatment for Veterans: What’s Working, What’s New, and What’s Next.” P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management vol. 41,10 (2016): 623-634. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5047000/
  17. Lancaster, Cynthia L et al. “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Overview of Evidence-Based Assessment and Treatment.” Journal of clinical medicine vol. 5,11 105. 22 Nov. 2016, doi:10.3390/jcm5110105
  18. “How Long Will It Take for Treatment to Work?” American Psychological Association (APA.org), July 2017, www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/length-treatment.

If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.

One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control. 

(615) 320-1155