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  • Olga Rudin

5 Best Therapies for Healing Trauma Without Medication

 A therapist who is holding a pen and notepad, sits beside a woman client clasping her hand to comfort her. The text on the image reads "Therapy to heal trauma without medication.
A therapy can heal trauma without medication..

Many people go through frightening situations that cause trauma in their lives. The trauma can lead to mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates around 3.6% of the world's population has experienced  PTSD. 

Though recovering from trauma is tough, there are ways to do it without using medication. There are many ways to heal trauma without medication. Therapies like BWRT, EMDR, Hypnotherapy, EFT and the Havening technique help people safely deal with their traumatic memories.

These therapies offer long-term solutions without side effects. They teach better coping skills, and deeper self-understanding and help manage hard feelings. 

As everyone's trauma experience differs, you can choose the healing approach that works best for you.

What is trauma?

Trauma is a psychological and emotional response to a terrifying or life-threatening event such as

These dreadful experiences can lead to fear, helplessness, and loss of control. These emotions may damage a person's mental and physical health in the long term.

Lasting effects of trauma

 A woman sitting on a bed holding a glass of juice and touching her forehead with a distressed expression. The text on the image reads LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF TRAUMA.
The effects of trauma can be debilitating.

Trauma can cause problems that stick around for a very long time. These effects can disrupt a person's daily life in many ways.

  • Scary memories or nightmares about the traumatic event can make it hard to sleep well or concentrate.

  • Feeling constantly on edge, jumpy, and anxious may trigger intense fear or panic.

  • Avoiding things related to the trauma, like certain places or people can get in the way of work, school, and relationships.

  • Becoming numb and disconnected from friends and family can disrupt relationships.

  • Being irritable or having angry outbursts may cause feelings of shame and guilt.

The aftermath of trauma puts a lot of strain on physical health too. Headaches, nausea, muscle tension and back pain are common. 

Trauma can make it hard for a person to live calmly and enjoy life, turning everyday life into a big challenge.

Therapies vs medication for healing from trauma 

Split image: on the left, a man in a therapy session; on the right, a pill organiser with various pills. The text reads "Therapy vs Pills? Exploring ways to heal trauma.
It is your choice how to heal from trauma.

People have different ways of coping with trauma. Some take medication prescribed by a doctor to help with trauma symptoms like anxiety, depression, or trouble sleeping. Others prefer to try therapies instead of or in addition to medication. 

This raises a question: which is better for healing therapies or medications?

Benefits of therapies

When it comes to recovering from trauma, therapy can be more effective than medication in promoting long-term recovery and emotional well-being because  it can

  • Provide a safe space where you can share your thoughts and feelings. It can help you find healthy ways to deal with life's challenges and become stronger.

  • Address the root causes of trauma, helping you to work through difficult emotions and memories. The therapy can teach useful techniques to handle difficult situations and emotions. This can help you heal from past issues and continue growing.

  •  Provide support and advice that is customized specifically for your situation and needs. 

  • Give you the power to do more than manage your symptoms. It can help you build a solid base for making big, positive changes in your life.                                                                                                                                                                     

  Limitations of using medication for trauma

Only taking medication for trauma recovery has some downsides that you should know about:

  1.  While medication can help alleviate symptoms like anxiety or depression it doesn't address the root cause of the trauma.

  2. Medication may provide temporary relief, but it doesn't offer long-term solutions or teach coping mechanisms for dealing with trauma triggers.

  3. Some drugs may have side effects that can impact your overall well-being.

  4. Taking medication alone may stop you from really dealing with your trauma in a healthy way. 

It would help if you thought about the downsides of only using medication and looked into other options too. 

5 Therapies for healing trauma without medication

There are therapies like BWRT, EMDR, Hypnotherapy, EFT, and the Havening Technique that can help you recover without taking drugs. Studies show these methods work well. Each therapy focuses on what will help you the most. Looking at treatments besides medicine can give you other choices.

 Brain Working Recursive Therapy (BWRT)

BWRT is a new type of psychotherapy. It's a science-based method that doesn't involve hypnosis or spirituality. 

It was developed by Terence Watts in 2011 and refined in 2013 with clinical psychologist Rafiq Lockhat.

 Psychologists and psychotherapists worldwide are using it for various conditions like posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxietyphobias, panic attacks, and addictions.


Both therapists and clients have said this method is effective and helpful because it resolves emotional issues and distress quickly and permanently. 

BWRT is based on the idea that our brain notices and reacts to things in our environment before our conscious mind becomes aware of what is happening.  When something frightening happens our brain activates fight or flight response automatically. That is why it is hard to calm down when the brain's alarm has already started.

BWRT stops this automatic reaction and changes response to trauma. It rewires the pathways in our brain so we can have a different, better response instead of the automatic one.  Unlike traditional therapies, it helps people change their reactions quickly and permanently.

BWRT is the best choice for anyone who wants to heal from difficult experiences in their past and improve their lives.


A therapist conducts a hypnotherapy session with a woman lying on a couch, guiding her through the process of healing while taking notes on a clipboard. The word "HYPNOTHERAPY" is displayed in the background.
Hypnotherapy can help heal trauma naturally.

Hypnotherapy is a type of therapy that helps people deal with difficult thoughts and feelings.  It allows you to process traumatic memories fully because it works directly with the subconscious mind. Hypnotherapy can help with the following:

  • Identify triggers of painful memories and reduce their power. The therapist helps you deeply relax and focus. They identify triggers for painful memories, like sights, smells or places. They weaken the power of those triggers so that you can think about those memories calmly.

  • Change unhelpful beliefs. Painful experiences can negatively shape how we view ourselves, others, and the world. A therapist helps you revisit those memories and pinpoint when thoughts became negative. Then you can replace negative beliefs with positive, healthier ones.

  • Reduce or alleviate the physical symptoms of trauma. Sometimes the reaction to trauma gets stuck in the nervous system, causing physical issues such as pain, high blood pressure, muscle tension or fatigue.  

  • Teach you the skills and relaxation techniques needed for deep, permanent changes in your life. This makes hypnotherapy an important approach for dealing with trauma and its effects.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

 A therapist conducts an EMDR session, holding up two fingers in front of a client to guide their eye movements for eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing.
EMDR is an effective therapy for healing trauma.

Have you ever heard about this therapy and how it can help with trauma recovery? This therapy is well-supported by research psychotherapy that has a strong foundation.

It has become widely accepted worldwide as a proven treatment. Big organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, Department of Veterans Affairs, and World Health Organization all acknowledge its effectiveness, especially in treating both short-term and long-term PTSD, ranking it equally with Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

The therapy breaks down traumatic experiences in a phased way. Although it's not always super-fast, it can be quicker than regular talk therapy. In sessions, a specialist guides clients to reconnect with their memories safely. Here are the eight phases:

  1. History Taking: The therapist learns about past events and current triggers.

  2. Preparation: Clients are taught about their symptoms and coping techniques.

  3. Assessment: Specific memories and associated emotions are identified.

  4. Desensitisation: The client focuses on the traumatic event while bilateral stimulation is used.

  5. Installation: The therapist emphasises the positive beliefs you identified earlier.

  6. Body Scan:  The client checks in with their physical sensations related to the memory and positive thoughts.

  7. Closure: Clients learn self-management techniques for home use.

  8. Reassessment: The therapist evaluates the client's progress and current state.

The therapy is highly effective for trauma and stress-related issues. Many clients no longer experience PTSD after a few sessions.


Emotional freedom technique

A therapist is teaching the Emotional Freedom Technique to a client  by gently tapping their hands. He is helping a client recover from trauma. The text reads "Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping).
Tapping helps process and release trauma.

EFT is a therapy that can help people heal from traumatic events. It is one of the psychosensory therapies like EMDR, and the Havening Technique that uses senses to cure various conditions including PTSD. It's a mind-body approach that engages both psychological and physical aspects to overcome traumatic stress.

Here's how EFT works.

EFT involves tapping on certain points in your body while thinking about the painful emotion. This helps process and release the emotional energy that gets stuck inside you. It's like giving the emotional part of your brain a way to deal with the trauma that it couldn't fully deal with before.

The tapping is combined with saying affirmations or statements about the issue you're dealing with. For example, you might tap on a point while saying "Even though I have this painful experience, I deeply accept myself."  With each tap, you’re feeling better and more in control.

The tapping motions and affirmations help rewire the brain's reaction to triggers related to the trauma. Over time, EFT can reduce the emotional intensity of a distressing memory and make your brain respond calmly.

This technique is easy to learn, and you can do it yourself once you know the tapping points and process. Many people find it provides relief from PTSD symptoms like nightmares, anxiety, and avoidance of trauma reminders.

 EFT is a powerful way to heal from trauma, making a big difference for those who try it.

Havening technique

The person demonstrating the Havening Technique by crossing their arms and gently touching shoulders. The text beside reads "Havening Technique”.
Havening provides relief from PTSD symptoms like nightmares, flashbacks,

The Havening Technique is another method that can help people heal from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). It's a relatively new technique but shows promising results. 

Here's how it works, and its mechanism explained.

Havening involves making specific touching motions on different parts of your body and eye movements while you are in a relaxed state.

First, you focus on a traumatic episode or emotion you want to overcome. As you concentrate on that issue, the therapist will have you cross your arms over your chest and gently stroke from your shoulders to your hands.

This stroking touch sends calming signals from your skin to your brain. At the same time, the therapist may have you move your eyes in certain directions.

The gentle touch, focused attention, and eye movements all work together to help your brain process stuck memories in a safe, calming environment.

Your brain gets "re-coded" so that the traumatic recollection doesn't provoke such an intense emotional and physical reaction anymore. With practice, the memory loses its power over you.

Havening may also help your brain create new, more positive associations with the memory rather than just feeling fear, anxiety or other negative emotions.

Many people find Havening provides relief from PTSD symptoms like nightmares, flashbacks, and hypervigilance after just a few sessions. 

Considerations when choosing between therapies and medication

Recovering from psychological and emotional trauma is different for each person. When deciding between therapies and medication for healing your trauma, it's important to consider the individual needs and preferences. 

Therapy offers a chance to explore underlying issues, coping mechanisms, and emotional responses in a supportive environment. If you prefer discussing your experiences and finding long-lasting solutions, therapy is a good option. 

On the other hand, medication can help manage symptoms such as anxiety, depression and difficulty falling asleep providing relief from intense distress.

If you have severe symptoms that interfere with your daily life both medication and therapy may work well together.

Seek professional help. They will look at how severe your symptoms are, your medical history, and what approaches you feel comfortable with. This will help you make the best decision for your specific situation.


Overcoming trauma is difficult, but there are ways to heal trauma naturally. Trauma takes time to process, so find what works best for you. Getting professional help from therapies like BWRT, EMDR, hypnotherapy, EFT, or Havening can reduce stress, anxiety, and fear related to your traumatic experiences and offer long-lasting recovery.

Don't be afraid to try different approaches until you find the right one to help you recover. Getting better isn't just a hope - it's something you can actively work towards to achieve recovery.


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