How Cruel Summer Depicts Trauma Therapy


    Many shows tackle mental health issues. Some talk about anxiety or depression. Others, like Euphoria, discuss topics such as substance use. The show Cruel Summer depicts a character named Kate Wallis, abducted for a year by the school’s vice principal.

    Seeking trauma therapy

    Anyone who has been through a traumatic event has emotional challenges. It can be hard to talk about what you went through because it’s triggering. For many people, trauma therapy is a way to deal with the pain they experienced. After her rescue by the Texas police, Kate talks to Sylvia, her trauma therapist. In the beginning, she only remembers pieces of her experience.

    Memory gaps and trauma

    In many ways, the depiction of a trauma survivor on Cruel Summer is accurate. Many trauma survivors have difficulty remembering what happened to them. It is the brain’s way of coping with an upsetting event. The mind blocks out certain parts of what happened to the survivor because it is preserving their well-being. When you watch Kate struggle to remember the details of her captivity, it is because her mind is trying to maintain her mental health. Still, it could be frustrating for people who survive trauma to not recall what happened to them. They want to heal from their experiences, and when they can’t remember what those are, that may delay the recovery process.

    Finding ways to remember

    Someone who has survived severe trauma should be cautious of their triggers. A licensed mental health professional would not tell the trauma survivor to intentionally trigger their memories without supervision by a therapist. The character Kate goes to the place where she was emotionally and physically harmed by the vice principal (where he is no longer). However, this is not a realistic way for someone who survives trauma. One might argue that Kate is endangering her mental well-being by revisiting the house. In real life, there are safer ways to process trauma.

    Trauma-informed therapy

    When you are a trauma survivor, it’s crucial to see a therapist who understands how to treat trauma victims. You don’t want to see somebody who has no experience in this area. Trauma-informed is a specific kind of treatment where the therapist will create a trauma timeline and help the individual learn to process what they went through so that they can heal. The client identifies their triggers and learns how to cope, but they are feeling anxious or depressed due to trauma.


    EMDR is a type of mental health treatment where the therapist helps the patient recall their traumatic memories in a safe space. They support them while they learn to understand what assumptions they’re making about themselves due to the trauma. For example, a person may blame themselves for what happened to them. After understanding those assumptions, the client can learn to reframe the way they view their trauma. EMDR involves therapists using bilateral stimulation, so the client follows their finger while they recall traumatic events. EMDR can also use sounds and tapping to help the client heal. It is an effective form of treatment for trauma survivors. It supports people when they’re trying to heal from their traumatic wounds,

    Finding help for Trauma

    If you are struggling with trauma or any other mental health issue, it’s crucial to get help. You can find resources online to look at, and you can also seek the help of a licensed mental health professional. Counseling can help people with many issues, including trauma recovery, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and more. If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.


    Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.


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