Overcoming Trauma: How To Face Life After Residential Treatment

September 21, 2015 Ryan Poling, MA, MAT

Overcoming trauma can be difficult to do on your own. For many people, the decision to enter residential treatment for help overcoming trauma can be difficult. However, ultimately, individuals often find that trauma treatment can be quite restorative.

During the residential treatment process, healing from trauma does occur. Yet after residential treatment is complete, a person is faced with the prospect of leaving the treatment center and reentering their outside life. This can be a difficult adjustment, but it is possible to make the transition and continue the process of overcoming trauma.

Treatment Program: Ryan Poling, MA, writes on behalf of Life Healing Center, a Santa Fe, New Mexico-based treatment center that provides comprehensive care for trauma, addictions and substance abuse, and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Residential treatment centers are designed to be different from everyday life. One of the main benefits, in fact, of being in residential treatment for trauma is that it allows a person to shed many of the everyday stress of his or life and focus solely on healing and overcoming the trauma.

The ability to temporarily step away from stress can in itself be a restorative experience, but one of the primary goals of treatment is to allow a person to gain the skills needed to better manage life outside of treatment (Change Often Incites Fear in PTSD Recovery). As such, here are a few things a person can do to carry the treatment experience along with him or her even after leaving the treatment center.

Leaving residential treatment for trauma can be a difficult adjustment, but the transition to living in the outside world can be made. Here's how.

Build a social network: Quality social support is one of the best ways to overcome trauma. During residential treatment for trauma, a person is surrounded by caring staff and others who are experiencing some of the same struggles. This environment can provide a strong sense of camaraderie, which can be conducive to the healing process.

After treatment, it is helpful to try to recreate some of this support by building and developing healthy friendships and participating in PTSD support groups.

Build routines: Another benefit of residential treatment for trauma is the strong sense of routine and structure that many treatment programs provide. These two facets of residential treatment allow a person to have ebbs and flows during his or her day, while also having a predictable daily schedule. Often after treatment, it is easy to lose structure, especially if a person is not currently working or in school or does not have other obligations that keep him or her to a relatively regular schedule.

As such, it can be helpful to create things that provide structure: join support groups, engage in hobbies, volunteer, or search for jobs. All of these things can begin to provide some routine that can be helpful as one readjusts to life outside of treatment and are a great way to help in overcoming trauma.

Build new habits: Depending on the nature of a person’s trauma, he or she may have developed habits that were not beneficial. For example, a person may have feared going out, so everyday tasks like grocery shopping can feel overwhelming and terrifying (PTSD Symptoms and Signs of PTSD).

After residential treatment is over, however, a person likely has new coping skills and new strengths that he or she may not even realize. The time after treatment is perfect for stretching one’s wings and trying new things that may have previously seemed too scary or anxiety-provoking to attempt.

Life after residential treatment for trauma can be an adjustment (3 Ways to Accelerate Your PTSD Recovery), but it is also a chance to continue one’s trajectory of growth. By looking at treatment as a training experience, the time after treatment is then a place to explore what one has learned or how one has grown. Overcoming trauma is possible, but patience and vigilance is key.

APA Reference
Poling, R. (2015, September 21). Overcoming Trauma: How To Face Life After Residential Treatment, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 14 from

Author: Ryan Poling, MA, MAT

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