What treatments could help?
Everyone has their own response to trauma. The treatment you are offered will depend on your particular symptoms and diagnosis (if you have one) and on your own unique needs. What helps is different person to person, and can change over time, so keeping an open mind and exploring different options can be useful.
This section covers:
- talking therapies
- arts and creative therapies
- crisis services
- accessing treatment
There are different types of talking therapies but they are all designed to give you space to explore difficult feelings and experiences with a trained professional.
Different people find different types of therapy helpful for trauma – there isn’t one tried and tested approach. Research has shown that the relationship you have with your therapist is particularly important, regardless of the type of therapy they practise.
“I learned through therapy that I actually probably did survive because I used those coping behaviours, [which] were damaging, but they were the only ones I knew at the time.”
Types of therapy some people find helpful include:
- Body-focused therapies, which address how trauma affects your body as well as your mind.
- Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), which involves making rhythmic eye movements while recalling a traumatic event and is most commonly used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Find out more on the The EMDR Association of Hong Kong website.
- Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy, which is a form of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) specifically adapted for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Find out more in our pages on CBT.
- Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT), which looks at how past events and relationships can affect how you think, feel and act, bringing together ideas from several different therapies.
- Schema therapy, which helps address unmet needs and difficult beliefs about yourself. This can include working through the effects of trauma.
Find out more on our pages on talking therapy and counselling, including tips on how to get the most from therapy.
The Department of Justice includes guidelines for vulnerable witnesses, including special accommodations to make you feel more comfortable.
If you have been the victim of sexual violence Rainlily offers free legal advice and support during judicial precedings.
Arts and creative therapies
Arts and creative therapies are treatments which involve using arts-based activities like art, music or drama in a therapeutic environment, with the support of a trained professional. You don’t need to have done these activities before, or have any particular skills or knowledge.
Some people say they find these sorts of therapies helpful because they provide ways of addressing painful feelings and difficult experiences without using words. This can include experiences of trauma. Find out more on the Hong Kong Association of Art Therapists website.
Some people find medication helpful in managing mental health problems that may be linked to trauma. Which type of drug you are offered will depend on the specific mental health problems or symptoms you’re experiencing.
Before you decide to take any medication, you should make sure you have all the facts you need to feel confident about your decision. For guidance on what you might want to ask your doctor about any drug before you take it, including your right to refuse medication, see our information on psychiatric medication.
“A lot of my trauma centers around my gender and how other people perceive me. Finding good, supportive mental health professionals has really helped me understand how and why certain things affect me in specific ways.”
Crisis services can be helpful if you’re going through a mental health crisis. For example:
- The Samaritans Hong Kong (multilingual hotline: 2896 0000) or The Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong (Chinese hotline: 2389 2222)
- Local support services may be available in your area, including day services, drop- in sessions or issue-specific support.
- Crisis teams can support you at home during a mental health crisis.
- Crisis houses offer intensive, short-term support to help you manage a mental health crisis in a residential setting (rather than in a hospital).
For more information, see our pages on what to do in a crisis.
Here are some ways you could access treatment and support:
- Contacting your doctor.
- Self-referral. Some areas run services which you can contact directly to refer yourself for talking therapy. Your doctor might give you details.
- Specialist organisations. See our useful contacts page for organisations that may offer therapy or other support for trauma or be able to put you in touch with local services.
- Private therapists. Finding a private therapist is another option some people choose to explore. Find out more on our page on seeking help in Hong Kong
“In my experience, understanding the how and why makes me feel empowered to be able to adapt my behaviour or environment to make it much less stressful and anxiety inducing.”
To find out about treatments for particular conditions, see our mental health A-Z.
What if I’m not offered the right type of treatment?
If you don’t feel like you are offered treatment that is right for you, you could talk to the provider and explain this to them. If that doesn’t work you could make a complaint.
If receiving the wrong kind of care has caused you harm you might have a claim for clinical negligence. For more, see the Community Legal Information Centre for legal information about medical negligence. For this you would need to show that a healthcare professional failed in their duty to take care of you, and you experienced damage or loss as a result of that failure.
For more information on accessing treatment see our page on seeking help for a mental health problem in Hong Kong.
If you’re finding it hard to access support, our page on overcoming barriers has some suggestions that could help too.