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Trauma Therapy

Trauma Therapy

Is Past Trauma Getting In The Way Of Your Present and Future Self?

Have you been struggling to keep memories of child abuse and neglect at bay and are finally starting to acknowledge how it has impacted your life? Do you find yourself waking up in cold sweats from nightmares about a one-time experience that changed you forever? Did you grow up with a verbally abusive parent and now lack the confidence as an adult to believe in your ability to reach your full potential?

The effects of trauma can affect many different aspects of your life. Emotionally, you may experience anxiety, depression, PTSD, anger, or shame. Physically, your body can hold tension as a form of armor to protect itself from further abuse, or you may self-harm to cope. Relationally, you may develop a fear of intimacy with another person or repeat dysfunctional relationship patterns.

Perhaps you’re triggered by a certain smell at the office, a facial expression, or a tone of voice of a friend, family member, or co-worker, that takes you back to the time when someone took advantage of your innocence and sexually abused you. Maybe a random interaction in the world brought back memories of being bullied in high school. Or you may have simply had enough of being a victim of domestic violence and have decided that now is the time to break the cycle of abuse.
If you want to come to terms with the trauma in your life, then you are in the right place. You did not ask for your experience with trauma, but because of its effect on you, you have found the strength to seek professional help to heal and experience life free of the weight of your past. With trauma therapy, you can begin to transform your traumatic experience(s) and its effects into self-empowerment.

Trauma Is The Unofficial Club That Many of Us (Don’t Want To) Belong To

Trauma is defined as a profoundly distressing event. It can result from a one-time occurrence or multiple experiences over time. Examples of trauma include emotional, sexual, and physical child abuse, rape, sexual assault, bullying, domestic abuse, neglect, discrimination, and war, to name a few.
Trauma rewires our brain. The thinking and emotion centers are deactivated, while fear is overactivated.1 Due to these effects, many people feel isolated in their desire to connect with others. In fact, in the United States, some 70 percent of adults have experienced a traumatic event of some kind at least once in their lives.2
And while more research still needs to be done on the gendered differences of trauma, we do know that women are diagnosed with PTSD at twice the rate of men.3 But could it be possible that fewer men seek help due to society’s gender expectations and it simply goes against the silent rules of being a man to acknowledge trauma and admit that they are suffering?

What is also different between genders is that women report more experiences with sexual assault and abuse, and men have higher incidences of trauma from military combat, and natural and man-made disasters. These gendered realities can add another layer to feeling isolated.

Even with the differences, most of us are still members of this unofficial club. And we can benefit from trauma counseling, regardless of gender or how the impact of our experiences is expressed. Also, the present time is particularly sensitive because of the risk of increased trauma due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With more partners and families in close proximity to one another, the risk of intimate partner violence and child abuse is on the rise.4

Our experiences with trauma and how it has impacted our lives might all be different. However, what we share as members of this “club” is the strength we have cultivated in continuing to live each day in both professional and personal settings. Whether the impact we deal with is a result of a one-time incident or multiple experiences, the validity lies in us recognizing how trauma permeates not just our memories, but also our relationships with others, ourselves, and our approach to different aspects of our lives.

You may try to heal alone. But as a human, you cannot always exert the power of a superhero to carry yourself across the finish line. However, in choosing to work with a trauma counselor, your vulnerability becomes your power. It is enough to take the first step in admitting that you have a problem, and recognize a need for help.

Trauma Therapy Can Give You Back Your Life and Help You Thrive

You might think that trauma is something that goes away on its own—that you can forget about it or post affirmations on your bathroom mirror to repeat each morning. It is true that time might lessen the sting, and repression can work wonders for the time your mind allows it to last. And yes, studies show that affirmations can help to balance the pain. However, the deep-seated psychological impact of trauma needs to be met with a solution that can help you access the deepest parts of your emotional self.

As a therapist, I’ve witnessed firsthand how trauma therapy can help my clients to transform from people who have survived to people who now thrive. I build a foundation for transformation through a supportive and compassionate environment where you can have a safe space to tell your story.

Trauma therapy can not only help to heal your trauma, but it can also help to build a new foundation for your life with trust, authenticity, and love. During our sessions, I will work with you to understand your trauma symptoms and how it is affecting your life. We will also work together to identify the root cause or causes of your trauma and the coping mechanisms you currently use.

I offer a solutions-based approach that is tailored to each person’s individual experience. Your story might call for counseling for emotional child abuse, child neglect, or psychological abuse. Or your healing journey may require sexual abuse counseling for childhood trauma.

Treatment can also utilize one or a combination of scientifically validated tools such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, somatic movement, or eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Mindfulness and somatic movement can help to release the trauma that a person can store in their body. EMDR—a technique based on the theory that trauma overwhelms the brain and is never fully processed as a result, EMDR bilateral stimulation helps the brain reprocess distressing experiences.

Other modalities that I use are body awareness, relaxation techniques, or visualization, which can be a powerful bridge for clients who have started to make progress and need a way to find internal calm as a healthy coping mechanism for flashbacks.

Your recovery is a highly individual process—it won’t look like anyone else’s. (Two survivors can be victims of mental abuse, for example, with two different kinds of recovery.) But with commitment from each of us, recovery is possible. The overall goal will be to co-exist with your past so that the new life you build through therapy will allow the memories of your trauma to be a small part of your overall story.

But you may still have questions about trauma therapy…

I am ashamed of my experience with trauma and its impact on me.

You are not alone in wearing feelings of shame. Yet you can lay this burden down with trauma therapy. Feelings of helplessness are difficult to carry when you take pride in a sense of independence or an ability to stand up for yourself in most cases. Yet you cannot control every aspect of your life. Your trauma is not your fault, and trauma therapy can help release the feelings of shame you feel and turn them outward to help you grow and experience self-acceptance.

I’m fearful of starting trauma therapy.  

Fear is a natural response, but you have taken steps to confront your fear. First, you are finding the courage to relive distressing memories so that you can live a healthier and more fulfilled life. Second, you’ve decided to take ownership of the parts of your life you can control, like recovery. The future may seem frightening because you’re not sure of what it holds. But your courage to seek help for your traumatic experience(s) will help you to build a bridge to a better tomorrow.

I’m worried that treatment will take a long time.

Recovery might take a long or short time—everyone’s process is different. After all, you can’t control the speed at which your psyche begins to heal. Recovery is also impacted by different factors such as how often you utilize the skills learned in therapy, your personal beliefs and perceptions, your level of resiliency and ability to cope, your support base, and the state of your mental health before the trauma. What you can control is your focus on healing.

Are You Ready To Take The Next Step Toward Recovery?

If you’re ready to look at your reflection and face the trauma of your past or present, I invite you to schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation. It doesn’t matter if your experience was from a one-time incident or many traumatic events throughout your life. Let me help you take the wheel to start on the road to recovery.
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