Treating trauma is a long process that requires the help of a therapist usually alongside medication for negative symptoms. Whether you’re seeking a trauma therapist in London or anywhere else in the UK, this article aims to answer any questions you may have.

Finding the right therapist with the professional experience required to treat trauma or complex trauma is highly important. While dialectical behaviour therapy was developed to treat those with borderline personality disorder (BPD), it has been proven to be effective for the treatment of trauma too.

It is also important to recognise that many people with BPD also suffer from PTSD due to childhood trauma. It has only been over recent years that therapists have begun to treat people with PTSD and trauma using DBT.

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How Does DBT Work For Trauma and PTSD?

The variety of skills that are taught in DBT have been found to greatly benefit those with trauma and PTSD. Many people with PTSD share
common symptoms with people that have been diagnosed with BPD.

These include the following:

  • Extreme difficulty regulating emotions
  • Interpersonal problems and difficult relationships
  • Impulsive behaviours and outbursts

While further research is required to confirm the effectiveness of DBT for trauma, there are many promising studies that have been carried out. In the case of self-destructive behaviours, people with BPD or PTSD are more at risk.

Because people with PTSD often relive the extremely negative emotions they experienced during trauma, this increases the chances of reliance on
coping strategies that are destructive.

DBT has been found to improve the symptoms of PTSD and trauma through helping the individual turn to alternative, more healthy coping
strategies such as self-soothing and mindfulness.

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The Complexity of Trauma

Because trauma brings about a wide variety of symptoms spanning hyperviligance, sleeping problems, emotional outbursts, and intrusive
thoughts, treatment requires a long-term approach.

DBT offers a very suitable treatment option for those suffering from trauma and PTSD. Below, is an outline of how DBT is structured in stages to help bring about a positive change and reduction of symptoms.


Mindfulness is a core skill that is learnt throughout DBT. This approach helps to redirect attention during moments of difficulty and brings the focus
back to the present.

For those with trauma and PTSD, being in the present moment can be extremely challenging. Mindfulness therefore aims to teach those suffering
with practicing this in a non-judgmental way.

Distress Tolerance

Distress tolerance, as the name implies, is a skill that is taught to help with surviving in the present moment.

This helps individuals to change their mindset into one that is accepting of the difficult present moments and establish an understanding that we
cannot rid ourselves of some negative experiences.

Emotion Regulation

Emotion regulation is a skill that is taught to help people deal with uncomfortable emotions such as sadness. It is also used to help identify
feelings and accept them while coping at the same time.

Once we understand that negative emotions come and go, we can be better at existing in the present moment, self soothing, and moving forward.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

People with BPD, PTSD, or trauma struggle to establish and maintain healthy relationships with others due to lack of trust. They also experience
unstable relationships as oftentimes there is a subconscious desire to reenact scenarios they have witnessed.

For example, this could include arguing, hostile behaviour, self-sabotage, and in worse cases abuse.

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Could DBT Help You?

The purpose of DBT is to combat patterns of behavior that are not effective, such as self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse. This approach brings about an increase in emotional and cognitive regulation and helps prevent triggers from causing reactive states.

For people with trauma, triggers are incredibly difficult to prevent. Every day scenarios can cause distress which means that extra measures need
to be put in place to reduce the chances of a reaction from occurring.

If you’d like to discuss DBT with our team or learn more about how this type of therapy is effective for the treatment of trauma, contact us today for a free 15 minute consultation.