My definition of trauma is anything where you didn’t have the internal resources to cope with the event at the time. Trauma can be caused by single events, like a house fire, car accident, crime, or seeing or hearing that a loved one was threatened or seriously hurt. It could be from long standing abuses like past verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse; harassment, or bullying. It could also be something you did cope with at the time, but new stressors bring it out (like the straw that broke the camel’s back – events become cumulative).
Really, it’s anything where you perceived threat and felt powerless, helpless, or overwhelmed. You just don’t realize yet that you have SURVIVED.
You might be coping by:
• Hitting yourself.
• Pulling your hair out.
• Picking your skin.
• Avoiding things you used to love.
• Lashing out in anger.
• Not sleeping or having nightmares.
• Being overprepared.
• Overthinking or catastrophizing (thinking the absolute worst thing possible).
• Using food, drugs, alcohol, or exercise to numb out.
A professor of mine (thanks, Dr. Borbridge) once said, “I cannot take away your pain, but I can make sure you aren’t alone going through it.” I am not afraid of your dark places. We’ll move through them together.
Trauma therapy with me involves a blend of approaches, depending on what we choose (after discussing pros and cons of each for you and your situation). We will work to build supports in your life – if you don’t think you have them – and increase your trust in yourself. Then, the digging down begins to weed out all the strands of the trauma.
Think of it like a mirror that has been shattered. That’s what your brain does to protect you from the event; it takes some pieces and absorbs them in your body, then some stay in your emotional centers, leaving you with an incomplete story for your thinking brain. Your brain then constantly tries to figure out the puzzle (or make a complete story). Here’s where all those racing thoughts occur.
What we do together is try to find all the fragments and fit them back into the puzzle using strategies aimed at your body, mind, and emotional symptoms. Then, you can put the trauma where it belongs – in the past.
I cannot offer a quick fix, but I did say it didn’t have to be a life sentence. So what can I offer?
• Specialized approaches like EMDR and hypnosis.
• Integration with other therapies like CBT (thoughts), Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Body), and Emotion Focused Therapy (Emotions).
• Non-judgment and encouragement when things get hard.
• A safe space to be vulnerable in a way that promotes healing in all aspects of your life.
After therapy, you may:
• Feel more empowered, safe, and re-engaged with life.
• Feel more trust in yourself and others.
• Notice fewer physical symptoms, better sleep, energy, and ability to concentrate.
• And much more!
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