5 Questions to Ask a Rehab if You’re Dealing With Trauma

This article is by April Smith and published by rehabs.com


Many of us who end up in treatment for substance use issues struggle with trauma. Some treatment centers employ trauma-informed care and are able to help, others are less sensitive.

Finding the Right Rehab Facility

If you’re struggling with trauma, dealing with those emotions will be an important part of your recovery process. That means your facility of choice will need to be equipped to help you work through those past hurts.

With that in mind, here are five questions to ask when choosing a treatment center:

  • Can I receive individual therapy sessions? It’s important to know if there is a therapist on staff who specializes in trauma therapy, and if you will be able to have sessions with him or her. A good treatment center will have a trauma therapist available, and you should be able to find out in advance if you can have private sessions.
  • Do the counselors have specialized training? All counselors should have some familiarity with trauma and be sensitive to the needs of trauma survivors. Ask what their specific qualifications are, and how often they receive updated education in trauma. Some treatment centers have counselors whose only qualification is a certification and the fact they’re in recovery themselves. Make sure your treatment center trains their counselors in trauma.
  • Will my care be individualized? Can your special needs be cared for? For instance, if you’re not ready to be touched, can I ask others to refrain from hugging or touching me, even if their intentions are good? One of the most helpful things my intake counselor did was talk with me about my triggers to make sure I would feel safe. She even asked if someone coming by our rooms at night to check on us would be triggering. It made me feel understood and, in that moment, I decided I could trust the process.
  • Is the facility co-ed? If I am a female survivor of sexual assault by a male, can I attend women-only therapy and meetings? My rehab was segregated by sex – we weren’t even able to walk into the cafeteria when the males were still there. But our 12-Step meetings were co-ed, so for the first week, they let me go to women-only meetings.
  • What therapy methods are used? Are confrontational tactics used in therapy that may trigger you? What are your options to seek safety if you’re triggered by the tactics used? I was very afraid of confrontation tactics, as they would re-trigger my trauma. I was assured that no confrontation tactics would be used, and we would be supported, not attacked. I felt safe and that led to my healing.

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