Is it possible to feel better after only one therapy session?

Therapy is hard. Painful even.
That’s what we’ve all been told. So if you read about a therapist claiming improvement from serious trauma is possible after only one session, you’d feel sceptical and even wary, right? I would too. I’ve been involved in the therapy world for a long time and I’ve seen a lot and heard a lot and I’ve become seriously sceptical about a lot of things. Especially one session trauma treatment. So when I developed Gentle Trauma Therapy, which doesn’t go for one session trauma ‘cures’, I kept my expectations deliberately muted.

I’ve noticed a pattern.
I knew that the Gentle Trauma Therapy approach was truly beneficial, with its emphasis on safety and stabilisation by influencing the autonomic nervous system, along with kind and gentle psychological techniques, but I didn’t know how fast it would work. I mean, fast isn’t really a word that sounds as though it should go hand in hand with gentle! I am accustomed, with my background as a hypnotherapist, to seeing clients improve quickly. The trauma interventions I used to practice could be transformative, often in only one session.

But these ‘miracle’ trauma interventions are not suitable for everyone.
Trauma expert Babette Rothschild informs us there are different types of trauma and these types need different approaches in treatment and this is a key foundation of Gentle Trauma Therapy. And trauma clients are real people who do not necessarily fit neatly into ‘types’, so Gentle Trauma Therapy is flexible enough to take account of all these needs. But I’ve noticed a pattern, and it’s something that I want to share with you, because clients often come to therapy in crisis, when they have reached a tipping point and they are desperate to have something that helps them feel better. The thing I have noticed is that most often, with Gentle Trauma Therapy clients do feel better after the very first session.

Warmth, empathy and respect are just the starting points.
As a very basic starting point, the warmth, safety and respect shown by the therapist, along with a non-judgemental listening ear, is powerful in itself. When we feel lonely, isolated, confused and distressed, an empathetic listener can be an immense source of support and comfort. So, I hope that I get that foundation right for every client! But there is something more than that. As I have already explained, as a rule, I no longer do trauma interventions on the very first session, because this can be destabilising for some people whose trauma is more complex or developmental.

With my methods clients feel different.
During a first session, I start to build a picture of the nature of the trauma or traumas, not the specifics of the dreadful things that happened, but a picture of how your experiences have affected the clients and also their available resources. The psychosensory and somatic methods that I use form part of this. During that first session, with the client’s permission, I will guide the client through some simple psychosensory and somatic self-help techniques. We may do some very gentle exploratory work, connecting with inner resources. We go gently. We finish with grounding and reorienting to the room. And time after time, a shift happens. Visible signs of agitation diminish. The breathing calms, deepens. Facial tone and pallor improves. Language patterns change. These are some of the indicators I observe that suggest to me that my clients is moving towards safety and stability. These changes are an initial indicator to me of how well we might continue to work together. But the real change happens after that first session. Clients feel inexplicably and positively different. And I’m truly happy for them. I don’t want my clients to have to wait weeks or months before they get a sign that the therapy is starting to work. It’s different for everyone of course. The degree of shift experienced at the beginning of therapy varies and some clients will find it easier than others to access their inner place of safety. Where there are multiple traumas and early life trauma, sometimes referred to as complex or developmental trauma, it may take more time for safety and stabilisation to become habituated within the brain and the autonomic nervous system so that lasting changes can be reliably experienced outside of sessions. However, with my gentle methods, nearly every client can begin to feel encouraging changes early on in therapy, that offer hope for a calmer, safer and more stable way of being.

For a free initial consultation, please call me on 07930 286309.