Traumatic experiences are incredibly frightening, awful incidents, the memories of which get stored in a part of the brain that holds them as if they are happening now, and not past incidents that can be recalled with relative calm. Some examples of traumatic experiences are: childhood abuse or neglect, bullying, domestic violence, accidents, rape, and war experiences. The goal of trauma treatment is to process traumatic memories so that they are stored in the same way that regular memories are stored and no longer affect the person who was traumatized in his/her everyday life.
Sometimes clients come to therapy for help with symptoms that have developed after a recent trauma. If no prior trauma history exists, substantial improvement is sometimes possible in one or two sessions. In this kind of case, I find Lifespan Integration therapy to be extremely helpful.
In other cases, clients have been exposed to a number of traumas throughout their lives, or an extended period of trauma (such as during childhood), and there is a kind of interactive accumulation effect that necessitates a longer treatment process during which the therapist and client work in a careful, collaborative fashion that resolves trauma, and current life difficulties related to trauma, without re-traumatizing. In such cases, I find mindfulness-based, attachment-based, and somatic approaches, such as Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, work best.