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Forest

Trauma Therapy

 

Trauma symptoms can be debilitating. Hyper-vigilence can leave you feeling constantly on edge, while anxiety, depression, loneliness, mood swings, sleep disturbance, intrusive thoughts, and overwhelm can disrupt your daily life. Part of what can be so devastating about trauma is that as if the trauma wasn't already enough, once it's over, you might find that your body continues to react as if the trauma is still happening. It can be confusing and difficult to know if your current reaction to a present situation makes sense, or is a result of your body reminding you of what happened in the past. Trauma can also have a profound impact on interpersonal relationships, trust, sense of safety, boundaries, and attachment and it can be challenging to enter into or navigate new relationships when triggers constantly make it feel as though the past is present.

Trauma is Common

Is is estimated that 70% of adults in the United States experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime and nearly half of all children in the US are exposed to adverse child hood events (ACEs). Despite its prevalence, many of us don't get help for trauma and suffer through a lifetime of symptoms.  Many of us grow up with messages about how we "should be able to handle it all ourselves."  It can be scary to reach out for help, especially if we've received this kind of messaging. And yet, the belief that we should be able to handle it all ourselves might actually be a relic of trauma because we often fear outside help when the help that should have arrived in the past never showed up. 

How Does Trauma Therapy Help?

A trauma therapist can help learn to relax your nervous system and understand the patterns that have developed from your trauma, including the less desirable coping skills that may have helped you survive, but no longer serve you. Symptoms really do show up for a good reason. Maybe staying vigilant and not sleeping helped you survive a dangerous situation in the past, but today it prevents you from recovering. Trauma therapy can help you meet these patterns with compassion and understanding when they show up in the moment. Reducing shame around symptoms is often the first step in changing habitual response patterns. 

As a Certified Clinical Trauma Practitioner, I have specialized training in the treatment of trauma.  My approach combines evidence based somatic techniques that help establish safety and grounding, with parts work and mindfulness based practices that can help us unpack the mechanisms and patterns that have arisen (for good reason) from your trauma. I also utilize EMDR, an evidence based practice that involves bilateral stimulation of the brain while processing difficult experiences. This technique can do a lot to help reduce over activation in the amygdala related to specific thoughts, experiences, and emotional states.

 

My approach is compassion centered: every way that you have learned to survive has come about for a good reason (to protect you and help you survive). There is space to honor the ways that you were able to make it this far, while also unlearning ways of being that might be outdated or maladaptive.

What if I Don't Want to Talk About My Trauma?

Many trauma survivors find rehashing trauma(s) to be so overwhelming that it doesn't seem possible that it could help. The latest research in the treatment of trauma confirms that we do not have to begin by talking about the specifics of your trauma. It may not always feel this way, and at some point you may find that you want to share specifics about your experience, but we certainly don't have to start here. For some, sharing trauma stories and feeling heard, seen, and felt can help validate experiences, which can help process memories. For others, the story itself matters less than the ways that the effects of the trauma continue to show up. If you are a "symptoms now, story later person," we can start exactly there. Managing symptoms is a huge part of trauma healing. Learning nervous system regulation helps support your whole system so that you can feel better, and in time, as your system becomes more stable and grounded, the nature of your trauma can begin to feel less overwhelming.  

Will Working on My Trauma Be Painful?

Effective trauma therapy is well paced. A gentle and gradual fluctuation between states that feel a bit uncomfortable/triggering, back to more resourced and grounded states is part of how we can safely learn to expand our tolerance for distress. This can rewire the brain to understand a new experience with a widened window of tolerance, greater trust, and less fear of overwhelm. While working with trauma, you might feel some sadness, discomfort, anger, frustration. There may be unexpected emotions or sensations, but the goal is for none of this to be too overwhelming. You are absolutely invited to speak up if things feel too intense and you can decline any invitation to go into a specific topic. Therapy moves at your pace and you are in charge of how fast or slow you would like to go. At the same time, your therapist has specialized training in nervous system regulation and will be watching for signs that indicate a need for change in pacing.

You Can Reclaim Your Life

Trauma can interrupt every part of life, but with effective treatment, it is possible to feel like yourself again. Reach out to schedule a free consultation to talk about your specific symptoms and how you can benefit from trauma therapy.

Are You Struggling with PTSD or Complex Trauma?

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