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Betrayal Trauma Therapy in West Palm Beach, FL

Are you in South Florida and have experienced a betrayal of trust that has left you feeling hurt, angry, confused, and ashamed? You may even have symptoms of depression, anxiety, and avoidance. These feelings and symptoms are normal with betrayal trauma. Betrayal trauma therapy at the Trauma Therapy Center in West Palm Beach or virtually with our skilled trauma counselors utilizing evidence-based therapy that can help you heal your trauma and create a fulfilling life. With our focus on building a trusting therapeutic relationship, our therapists will help you navigate the journey from the distress of betrayal to a place of resilience and recovery.

Understanding Betrayal Trauma

Betrayal trauma can occur when someone close to you intentionally or unintentionally violates your trust. The betrayal is usually from someone you trust or look to for support or security.

Causes of betrayal trauma can include:

No matter the source of your betrayal trauma, healing is possible with our skilled and compassionate therapists in West Palm Beach.

Sources of Betrayal Trauma

Impact of Betrayal Trauma

Betrayal trauma can cause:

It is normal to feel distant from the world and other people after going through betrayal trauma.

Liz Chelak, MSW, CCTSI, CRPS, a clinical social worker, has dealt with hundreds of clients who have suffered from feelings of betrayal. She shares that in her professional experience, clients respond well to rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) and emotion focused therapy (EFT) for betrayal trauma.

With betrayal trauma therapy, your therapist will help you:

Often with betrayal trauma, we may acquire negative beliefs about ourselves and others. The key to betrayal trauma therapy is to reframe those negative beliefs into more adaptive beliefs.

Difference of Betrayal Trauma and Heartbreak

Imagine being blindsided by your partner breaking up with you after being in what you thought was a happy relationship for years. You feel as if your world is shattered and turned upside down. You feel a physical dull pain in your chest and can’t imagine your life without them. 

In the following days, you can’t seem to make sense of your emotions, oscillating between sadness, anger, and confusion. You see happy couples all around and feel disgusted. 

After some time, throughout it all you begin to regain hope. You start believing that you might create a life without them and feel positive about what that life may look like. Your heartbreak begins to heal and over time you can live a fulfilling life again. This is a painful experience of heartbreak.

Now, imagine your partner cheated and you find the evidence from someone at their job. When you ask them about this, they deny it, but you know deep down that it’s true and you feel like you’ve been living with a stranger all these years. 

As time goes on, you experience shock, denial, and intrusive thoughts. You notice yourself becoming hypervigilant and easily startled. You avoid reminders of your partner’s behavior such as specific people, places, and things. After some months pass, you notice headaches, fatigue, and stomach problems. This is betrayal trauma.   

Complexities of Betrayal Trauma

Why Is It Difficult to Heal From Betrayal Trauma?

The deep emotional pain of betrayal trauma can lead to loss of trust, feeling overwhelmed and unsafe, and a loss of your sense of security. You may be consumed with the intrusive worry of being betrayed again. Your self-image may even be affected, feeling guilt for what happened to you. 

This is a normal response to betrayal trauma. There is hope for healing. With the help of a trauma therapist or clinical social worker, and a support system, you can regain your self-worth.  

The Cycle of Hope and Disappointment

Liz Chelak, MSW, CCTSI, CRPS shares that in her experience working with clients, betrayal trauma can manifest itself as:

Everyone can experience betrayal trauma differently. With the help of a therapist, you can heal all the negative side effects after experiencing a betrayal.

How Long Does Betrayal Trauma Last?

The symptoms of betrayal trauma, such as low self-esteem, last until you heal. Healing involves reframing your negative beliefs into more positive or hopeful beliefs about yourself and others. 

Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Before participating in therapy, it is common for individuals with a history of betrayal trauma to use unhealthy coping mechanisms. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a great option for learning distress tolerance and acquiring specific mindfulness and coping skills.

Some unhealthy coping mechanisms include:

These unhealthy coping strategies can feel helpful short-term to distract yourself from the negative feelings, however long-term they can cause serious harm.

During behavioral health therapy, you will acquire different types of healthy coping skills that will be effective long-term and alleviate your negative emotions more effectively. 

Healing From Betrayal Trauma

Importance of Seeking Professional Help

Seeking help from a licensed counselor is important to receive external validation of your experiences and feelings. In psychodynamic therapy, you can identify the root cause of your feelings and patterns, identify healthy coping skills, prevent the long-term effects of trauma, and learn to handle life challenges. 

How to Heal From Betrayal Trauma?

Healing from betrayal trauma works best when combining multiple healthy practices. A therapist can help you identify strategies that work for you and teach you coping skills. 

Some important aspects of healing include:

You will notice positive changes in your life, reduced PTSD symptoms, and an overall sense of well-being while participating in trauma therapy. You will be equipped with skills to manage your emotions and cope with life transitions.

How Long Does It Take to Recover From Betrayal Trauma?

There are no fixed timelines for healing. Everyone’s trauma and healing experiences are different. It is important to give yourself time and ask for help from a licensed therapist. Remember to take it one step at a time. 

Your therapist will guide you through the healing process which involves:

Your collaboration is integral during this process. After therapy, you will feel a newfound sense of optimism and hope. You will emerge stronger and more resilient than before.

How to Help Someone With Betrayal Trauma?

If you know someone who is dealing with betrayal trauma you can offer your support in the following ways:

There are many ways to be a support for someone experiencing trauma. One of the best ways is active listening.

How to Heal a Partner’s Betrayal Trauma?

While you can be a supportive partner by listening and respecting boundaries, true healing can happen only through trauma therapy. 

The best way you can help your partner deal with their betrayal trauma is to help them find a therapist.

How to Get Betrayal Trauma Therapy?

The Trauma Therapy Center has licensed therapists who specialize in trauma therapy that can help you, a friend, or a family member heal from betrayal trauma. 

How Effective Is Betrayal Trauma Therapy?

While research on healing specifically betrayal trauma is limited, interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT), and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) have been proven to decrease trauma symptoms

Therapeutic Approaches for Betrayal Trauma

How Does Betrayal Trauma Therapy Work?

Betrayal trauma therapy works by using the following key principles:

After trauma therapy, you will reclaim parts of yourself that were once lost and no longer feel defined by your pain.

Individual Therapy 

During individual therapy, you and your counselor will work to identify the best intervention, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT), for your case. With the help of your trusted therapist, individual therapy will empower you to reclaim your sense of self-worth.  

Couples Therapy 

Couples therapy is a good option if both you and your partner are willing to process and identify coping skills you can work on together to heal your betrayal trauma. 

Support Groups 

Support groups are a great way to connect with others who have similar experiences. Listening to the stories of others and having your story be heard and validated can be a healing experience in itself. 

Self-Care Strategies

During therapy, you will learn self-care and self-love strategies that can help with your betrayal trauma healing and maintain overall well-being after therapy. 

Building healthy boundaries

Boundaries are a way to let people around you know what you are okay with and what you are not, to increase self-esteem and improve your relationships. 

Developing a Strong Support System

A strong support system can help you get through difficult times. Your support system is several trusted people who can provide emotional validation, assistance, and accountability. 

Practicing Self-Compassion and Forgiveness

Feeling guilt after experiencing betrayal trauma is not uncommon. Through counseling, you will begin to let go of unhealthy negative emotions and learn to trust not only others but yourself again, attaining inner peace. 

Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Some healthy coping mechanisms you may learn in counseling include:

Your therapist will provide you with multiple options you can choose from and help you decide the best options for you.

Moving Forward

The Road to Healing Is Not Linear

It is important to remember that there can be backslides in healing. These experiences provide a new lesson along with new information about yourself, your patterns, and new healing techniques that can work for you. 

Building a Fulfilling Life After Betrayal Trauma

You can experience healthy and happy relationships and live life peacefully. The key is identifying your patterns and learning healthy tools for handling distress.  

Finding Healthy Relationships

Learning what a healthy relationship means to you, setting boundaries, and practicing healthy communication can help you find healthy relationships to add meaning to your life. 

Our commitment to offering exemplary betrayal trauma therapy to the West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County community is underscored by our experienced team of therapists, equipped with specialized expertise in REBT, CBT, and EMDR therapy. At the Trauma Therapy Center, we prioritize your healing journey from betrayal trauma, empowering you to regain control over your emotional landscape. With a compassionate approach, we’re dedicated to helping you transform the pain of betrayal into an opportunity for personal growth, resilience, and lasting emotional well-being.

Page Modified on Mar 30, 2024 by Liz Chelak (Trauma Therapist)

The information on this website is to provide a general information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect a definitive treatment advice. It is important to consult a best in class trauma counselor in WPB regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your local trauma therapist, to schedule a assessment.