For those struggling with trauma, finding relief and “feeling better” can seem like an overwhelming endeavor. However, I assure you, change can happen, you can become “unstuck.” As an experienced trauma therapist I offer a empathetic, non-judgemental approach and use modalities focused on trauma resolution and long-lasting healing. In our sessions, we may use somatic and mindfulness techniques, neurobiology, shame resolution, and skill building to help you find relief. You don’t have to be held hostage by the past.
The past is the past –
but trauma is about the residues of the past in your current system.
What approaches are used for trauma?
There are a variety of approaches for resolving trauma. I draw from my training in NARM, Somatic Experiencing, and EMDR. Each is a therapeutic approach developed to help process trauma and restore your body’s inherent capacity to self-regulate and reorganize. They involve exploration of the physical dysregulation that is harbored in the body and beliefs as a result of trauma. Clients gain insight to how the body regulates stress; learn to track the related physical sensations, feelings, thoughts, and images that arise from traumatic memories; and are guided towards release and healing.
What exactly is trauma?
Trauma can result from any incident where you perceived that you or someone else was in danger, and your ability to protect or escape was limited or unavailable. Often these events are sudden and you had little or no power or influence. Dual impulses, such as running to save oneself and wanting to stay or fight to help another can result in trauma.
It is not necessarily the event itself but the resulting symptoms and inability to be present in life that plagues those with trauma. Witnessing or being the victim of violence, accidents or attacks, military service, adoption, abandonment, prolonged chaos or abuse, or a sudden life change, any of these can push us into trauma.
Trauma pushes our nervous system out of our “Window of Tolerance” and the resulting impulses get stored in our system. As you have probably already discovered, trauma is stored in body as well as in our memories. What makes a traumatic event so difficult is that we don’t “get over” it quickly. We’re either stuck on or stuck off. Meaning, our nervous system and brain are responding to the traumatic event rather than the environment we are in as it unfolds in the present moment.
You are not holding on to your past,
your past is holding on to you.
It is important to remember, everyone responds to experiences differently. Events that may be traumatic to one person may not be traumatic for another person.
Trauma can disrupt your life in a variety of ways.
- fatigue, pain, stomach issue, sleep issues
- inability to sit still or feeling on-edge all the time, easily startled
- feeling drowned with sadness, grief, aggression, anxiety, or guilt
- difficulty connecting deeply with others, poor boundaries
- emotional outbursts or “irrational” behaviors
- intrusive memories or flashbacks
- increased alcohol or drug use, sometimes as a form of “self medication”
- difficulty being in the present or concentrating
- difficulty being touched, sensitivity to light, irritation with clutter or obsession to clean
The Cornerstones of Trauma Work
I consider the following essential for any therapist who works with trauma. Wherever you go for support, your therapist should:
- Build a relationship with you and learn about your needs and how trauma is impacting your life.
- Create the safety necessary to discuss and work through traumatic memories as to not re-trigger you.
- Meet you where you are and go at a pace that works for your needs with the goal of returning you to living a vital life.
- Work holistically. Oftentimes telling the story is just that – it’s telling the story, but it doesn’t make the trauma go away. Since trauma lives in the body as well as the memory, trying to talk it out if often not enough. All elements of experience – physical, emotional, cognitive – must be engaged and reintegrated.
- Educate and guide you into ever-more-complex areas of your internal worlds and make them tolerable.
- Offer you knowledge and skills that can help you when not in session.
- Have a deep understanding of trauma gained through specialized training, clinical application and experience.