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Those who experience trauma may not even realize the intense grip it has taken over their life. Even those who can point to trauma as a trigger for self-defeating behaviors don’t always understand the true extent of its effects. Trauma is so deeply rooted in the memory and the mind that it’s nearly inescapable — it factors into self-image, fears and worries, actions and reactions. Finding release from trauma provides freedom and relief that never before seemed possible. It shows individuals carrying trauma that there is a better life awaiting them — they only need to lay down their burden.

But coping with trauma usually consists of compartmentalizing it, keeping it and ignoring it. The pain of living with buried trauma leads to self-defeating, often compulsive behavior patterns like substance abuse, process addictions or eating disorders that are difficult to break. Those who experience trauma may feel shame or guilt and internalize the idea that they deserve to live with their pain. For many reasons, those with trauma struggle to let it go.

When our guests arrive at The Guest House Ocala, many of them are suffering the effects of trauma through behaviors brought on as coping mechanisms. Instead of treating the surface-level symptoms, we help our guests look deeper and find the root of their difficulties. It is not unusual or surprising for our guests to act out through a secondary coping mechanism — when we take away their go-to trauma survival behavior, such as substance abuse, it’s natural to turn first to other methods of self-soothing rather than accepting the deeper issues.

But where more traditional recovery treatment stops after treating addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, we go a step further — we invite them to go to the pain of their trauma. We know that taking this step while in treatment is a good thing because it allows our team to work on the whole process and not just the primary issues. We can and do treat trauma in our clients every day, and we see that it gives them more fulfilling and longer-lasting healing than if we were to address only the overlying symptoms of substance abuse or mental health concerns.

What Is Trauma?

Trauma is defined as an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. When many people think of trauma, they imagine violence, abuse or a devastating accident — and while these are examples, trauma can take many less obvious forms. The passing of a loved one can be traumatic, as can unusually high levels of stress. Loss in the form of a breakup, divorce or infidelity may also be traumatic. Trauma can be any experience that profoundly changes the way you respond to the outside world, whether it breaks your trust in others, makes you feel numb to usual emotions or causes you to feel despair or anger at forces beyond your control.

It’s easy to understand why living every day with these intensely negative outlooks might lead someone to abuse substances or become addicted to pleasurable things like video games or sex. It’s also understandable that someone might cling to hyper-controlled eating or other compulsive habits to cope with the sense of hopelessness and powerlessness that traumatic experiences leave behind.

How Does Holistic Treatment Work?

Holistic treatment refers to treatment that focuses on the person as a multifaceted being. Holism is a principle that sees nature as a complex web of smaller parts working together to create the world we live in; every person is equally a complex being with more than one part, all coming together to create a unique individual. Holistic treatment recognizes that everyone has a mind, body and spirit. These three parts are inextricably intertwined, each affecting the other. When one is unhealthy, it affects the well-being of both of the others.

Research is increasingly showing this principle to be true. Studies show that mental health can be improved through better diet and exercise habits; that nurturing spirituality — whatever that might mean to any given person — is correlated with a longer lifespan. Holistic treatment understands the interplay between these aspects of each person, and strives to heal all of them together rather than focusing on one.

Holistic treatment also understands that there may be more than one thing ailing a person at any given time. When we look at a patient who is struggling with alcoholism, for example, a physician could say that they are drinking too much and it is affecting their physical health. A mental health counselor could say that they are struggling with the disorder of addiction. A psychologist specializing in substance abuse could say that a recent event, such as the loss of a spouse or a serious injury, has led them to use alcohol as a means of dealing with their changed reality. At The Guest House, we know that it can be all of these at once, and we want to treat our guests for everything that has brought them to our doors instead of just one set of symptoms.

What Holistic Treatment Looks Like

Holistic, trauma-oriented treatment isn’t just about sitting in therapy sessions — it’s an immersive experience in a safe environment that radiates with warmth and acceptance, where every aspect of the treatment process is designed to support your healing.

As you move through your day, you engage in experiences that are as varied as they are enriching. One moment you might be sitting quietly, learning to listen to your body’s wisdom through somatic therapy or mindfulness. Next, you’re expressing your deepest emotions through creative arts, transforming pain into beautiful expressions of art or music.

At The Guest House, we utilize a number of transformative, holistic modalities to treat the whole person and address various aspects of trauma. Some of these techniques include:

  • Somatic experiencing: Sometimes, it can feel like the body holds onto trauma like a clenched fist, leading to debilitating physical symptoms like muscle tension, headaches, rapid breathing and more. Somatic experiencing is a body-oriented therapy that helps our guests increase bodily awareness and release this pent-up stress and trauma.
  • Meditation and yoga: Studies have consistently shown that meditation, yoga and mindfulness are helpful for a number of health concerns, from stress and trauma to chronic pain and high blood pressure. We utilize these techniques to calm the mind and promote holistic healing, giving our clients the strength to take control of their well-being.
  • Conscious connected breathwork: Conscious connected breathwork is a holistic technique that creates a bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind. It is an exercise that guides individuals to breathe in a rhythm that connects them to their body, emotions and spirit, which can allow them to unearth and heal the trauma that’s been holding them back.
  • Psychodrama: Psychodrama is an experiential therapy that uses roleplaying and other techniques to allow clients to enact specific moments from the past, unpacking difficult experiences and providing a powerful platform to express unspoken emotions or practice new behaviors. It’s a dynamic way to explore personal issues, witness others’ stories and actively engage in the communal healing process.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is like a reset button for stuck memories, using bilateral eye movements to help individuals process painful experiences so they can begin to move past them. It is an extensively researched and effective technique for addressing a number of concerns, including trauma, anxiety, depression and panic disorders.
  • Spirit2Spirit: Our co-founder, Judy Crane, developed the Spirit2Spirit treatment model to heal the emotional trauma that often underlies substance use, process addictions and other self-defeating behaviors. It provides a framework that views all of our guests’ concerns as an equal force in their lives and addresses each one with a high level of care and compassion. It also encourages individuals to be vulnerable and explore themselves so they can learn to let go of their trauma and connect with others.

We also offer additional modalities such as equine therapy, art and music therapy and adventure therapy, as well as supplemental counseling options like family or couples therapy that cater to the unique needs of our guests. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive, holistic treatment program that allows people to find hope and healing on their own terms, using the techniques that work best for them.

Trauma Treatment at The Guest House Ocala

So many clients leave treatment feeling steady in their substance abuse recovery, but end up relapsing around other concerns. Many find themselves struggling with relationship issues; or maybe they replace substance abuse with other self-defeating behaviors like self-harm because they still haven’t figured out all of their self-soothing behaviors. At The Guest House Ocala, we anticipate the potential for these concerns to arise after treatment and instead approach treatment with the intention of whole healing.

Treating trauma is at once intense, exhausting, riveting and rewarding beyond measure. Trauma work is a new level of commitment. A trauma program cannot be just one or two groups per week. It must be immersive and it must contain visceral, cellular, sensory, body-centered and experiential modalities. At The Guest House Ocala, guests spend over five hours each day in group therapy and one-on-one sessions with their primary therapist, and several hours a day working on guest-specific, tailored assignments that are presented in group.

A seasoned trauma therapist can create an opportunity to connect the original traumas with the various other behaviors exhibited during treatment, allowing further healing to occur. Our clinical staff is trained not only in trauma therapy but also eating disorders, self-harm, sex and love addiction and substance abuse. They are trained at more than just a granular level. They not only provide therapy, but also provide space for cleansing, lifting up, forgiveness, atonement and the opportunity to find a spiritual path for the individual.

This is holistic trauma treatment — where the whole patient is accounted for, where all angles are explored and where no single concern is treated on its own.

To learn more about our approach to trauma treatment and to find out if the healing community at The Guest House Ocala is right for you, please contact us today. We welcome men and women from all walks of life who are struggling to find happiness and fulfillment as a result of self-defeating behaviors — including substance abuse, process addictions, mental health concerns and trauma. Our professional, helpful team is ready to answer your questions and get you started along the admissions process. Call us at 855-253-2964.