Is Trauma Keeping You From Fully Experiencing Life?
Many of us are uncomfortable when we hear the word trauma. We think, “I know I’ve been through some rough stuff, but I got through it and overall I think I’m okay. How can I be traumatized?”
Trauma can be any single event or on-going circumstance that exceeds your ability to cope. This could be witnessing an act of violence, the death of a loved one, or experiencing an assault. It could be growing up in a stressed-chaotic family, experiencing child abuse, having emotionally unavailable caregivers, or sexual abuse.
Your trauma symptoms might be really clear to you. You may know without a doubt that the flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts are all related to what you experienced and you want it to go away. There might even be a point in your life when you can remember not feeling this way.
But, trauma symptoms aren’t always so clear. The past can be showing up in your body as muscle tension and chronic pain. You may even sometimes feel completely disconnected and numb to your own body. It can show up emotionally as anxiety, depression, and deep shame. The way you think about yourself can be impacted too. You may be struggling with constant self-doubt and worry that you are not good enough or not smart enough. While others sing your praises and give you positive feedback, there’s something inside of you that just doesn’t believe these things are true.
You’re not Alone
Unfortunately, trauma is more common than you might think. It is estimated that 70% of adults have experienced a traumatic event and 20% of those develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A common reaction is to minimize it, push it into the past and leave it there. We often have very good reasons for doing this. It’s a coping skill that at one point in your life really served you well. It probably protected you because it was unsafe to process at the time, or whatever happened exceeded your ability to understand.
However, this comes at a cost. Especially as children, when we can’t make sense of something that happened, we tend to blame ourselves. Self-blame and self-judgement tend to be the things that show up in adulthood even when we think we’ve left the past behind us.
Trauma finds a way to show up in our lives even when we are ignoring it. In fact, many trauma symptoms are your body’s way of trying to keep you safe when you feel scared or uncomfortable. The good news is that healing and relief are possible.
Trauma Therapy Can Help
When people encounter danger, the body has a natural response that helps us survive. This is referred to as the “fight, flight, or freeze” response. When trauma occurs, our brains get stuck in this cycle leaving you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and maybe even totally numb.
This response can be triggered by any number of things, including general stress. Trauma therapy, specifically a technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), can help change your brain's response to distress.
I use this technique in two ways. 1) To help you decrease the emotional intensity of experiences and memories so they no longer have power over you. 2) To help enhance your own resources of strength and resilience.
Whether it is ongoing or a one-time instance, coping after a traumatic event is not easy. I will help you build on the strengths you already possess and tap into your body’s own healing mechanisms.
People who choose to engage in trauma counseling might notice that their trauma symptoms decrease and change. They might notice that their sense of confidence in themselves increases. Trauma counseling often leads to greater self-awareness and a sense of finally having control over your own happiness.
I believe that all people hold the key to their own healing. Sometimes we just need help finding the key.
You may have questions or concerns about seeking help.
I’m afraid that trauma therapy will make me feel worse.
The beauty of EMDR is that you don’t have to hash out every detail in order to effectively process the memory and begin healing. Many people are scared of addressing their trauma because they think that they will be forced to retell, and thus relive, the event.
Your comfort and safety will always be at the forefront of this work. I’m never going to ask you to do anything you don’t want to do or ask you to go farther than you feel comfortable going. Part of healing from trauma is you discovering your own voice and power of choice. I not only honor that, I believe that’s where the healing lies.
My goal is to nurture your individual process. If the floodgates get opened and you become overwhelmed, I will help you learn how to calm and ground yourself in the moment. My clients actually find this very helpful because they can use these same techniques to calm and re-center themselves in their day-to-day living. I will help you walk away from our sessions feeling grounded, balanced and calm.
What is the Enneagram and how can it help?
The Enneagram is a personality typing system that focuses on self-awareness and self-growth. The system can help you understand how you get in your own way and how to nurture the healthiest, most authentic version of yourself. With trauma specifically, it can help you understand how you cope and how to release personality patterns that don’t serve you.
What are your thoughts about medication?
Medication is a personal choice. For some people, medication is the key to helping them feel better. Sometimes medication is the intervention that helps someone feel well enough to be receptive to other interventions. However, medication isn’t always the answer and there can be some negative side effects.
Many of my clients value natural remedies and want to focus on building their own coping tools instead of putting a substance into their bodies. Either way, I will support whatever choice you make and will help you determine what works best for you.
I am connected with acupuncturists, massage therapists, energy healers, and physical therapists. These therapies can be an excellent addition to counseling and I can recommend some great folks. If you decide to try medication, I can recommend some great folks there too.
Are you ready to get started?
Finding the right therapist is an important step towards healing. It’s important that you feel validated, understood, and comfortable. Feel free to contact me for a free, 15-minute phone consultation. This is primarily for us to get a sense of each other, and for you to ask any questions you might have.