Are You Struggling To Overcome A Traumatic Past?
Have you survived a traumatic event that has fundamentally changed the way you see and interact with the world? Do you often experience shortness of breath, chest pains, indigestion, or phantom aches and pains? Is your mind stuck in overdrive, causing you to feel overly on-edge, anxious, or easily startled? Perhaps you are haunted by intrusive vivid imagery, flashbacks, or life-like nightmares that disrupt your sleep or make it difficult to relax. Or it could be that you feel spacey, distracted, or unfocused, as if you are living in a dream detached from reality.
The effects of trauma are often diverse and hard to understand, especially if you are trying to comprehend matters on your own. You’re likely exhausted from losing sleep and trying to keep your emotions in check. You may also be moody, irritable, easily frustrated, or emotionally volatile, lashing out in anger or withdrawing into isolation. Parties, relationships, and social events may feel more like a threat than a chance for happiness. And so you avoid opportunities for connection, which in turn, makes your world slowly grow smaller.
Trauma can create an overwhelming flood of anger, grief, horror, and fear that can compound the suffering you are already experiencing. However, you can step out of the cycle of despair and repair your life. With my help, you can find relief, learn how to be more resilient, and remove the limitations that trauma imposes upon you.
Adversity Is An Unfortunate Part Of The Human Condition
Trauma is extremely common because, as humans, the fight-or-flight response is part of our biological makeup. It acts as a safety mechanism that informs us of danger and enables us to protect ourselves from harm. Unfortunately, sometimes our bodies have trouble processing and dealing with extreme stressors, such as surviving a natural disaster, tragic accident, or personal assault. As a result, we can get stuck in that automated response. That is why so many individuals who suffer from trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) always feel like they have to be on guard.
It’s important to understand that, although singular—and often violent—events are the most well-known catalysts for trauma or PTSD, there are other, more subtle precursors. For instance, prolonged exposure to dangerous environments, toxic relationships, or neglect and abuse as a child can create a cumulative effect that is hard to recognize and sort out. Similarly, hate crimes, violence against women, police brutality, anti-LGBT-related vitriol, and inhumane immigration policies can trigger so much fear and panic that they can become ingrained in the psyche. Furthermore, merely witnessing an event or being exposed to it can create vicarious trauma.
As a result of such adversity, your body is likely being hijacked over and over again by a hyperactive autonomic response system. However, I can help you stop the cycle of fear and doubt and offer you a place where you can feel calm, contained, and in control of your emotions.
Trauma Therapy Can Offer You A Path Forward
Working with a mental health professional gives you a safe space in which to talk about emotions and memories that may be too much for anyone else to bear. It allows you to explore the traumatic event and how it is affecting you on a daily basis without having to relive it all over again. And if you are not ready to talk about your experience, I can still act as a compassionate and impartial audience who will provide relief and comfort until you are ready to take the next step.
One of the goals of trauma therapy is to let you know that the emotions and pain you are feeling are completely normal and justified. It gives you permission and a place to expose your vulnerability and even collapse if you have to. And it is a place of safety where we can truly get to the core of your suffering. To that end, we may explore aspects of your past (including your upbringing), relationship history, or history of personal experiences to identify the cause of or the contributors to your trauma.
We’ll also work on regulating your nervous system and unlocking your ability to process your experience. I’ll help you reinforce your intrinsic resilience so that you can bounce back from stressors and triggers without being overwhelmed. In time, our work together can heal and transform the way you see and interact with others, creating a level of safety and security you are currently missing.
My goal is to develop a treatment strategy that helps you process your experience no matter how stuck you feel. I take a collaborative approach to healing that allows sessions to move at your own pace so you can feel safe and in control. In fact, if you feel that you don’t want to address the traumatic event directly, we can find other ways to talk about it without having to rehash the worst moments of your life.
Depending on your needs and level of comfort, I may use EMDR therapy to identify a particular traumatic event and minimize its emotional impact. In some cases, Somatic Therapy techniques can be useful for tracking physical sensations and awakening a deeper awareness of what is going on inside your body. I’ll also teach you how to use everyday resources for self-soothing, grounding, and orienting yourself so you can better tolerate and control what is happening internally.
The programming in the human mind that traps you in a place of fear also bears the potential for you to be resilient, heal, and create new ways of thinking and being. With my help, you will be able to move on, find purposeful meaning in your experience, and embrace it as something that can inform your wisdom and strengthen you as a person. In time, you can free yourself from the past and begin living on your own terms.
You may be considering trauma therapy but still have some concerns…
I’m worried that seeking therapy means I’m weak or damaged.
You’ve been through something that most people will never have to—and you’ve lived to talk about it. That means you are not weak or broken; you are a survivor. In our work together, you’re not going to discover that something is fundamentally wrong with you. Instead, you will learn that it is possible to have a nurturing, corrective experience that can better your life.
Once you understand what’s actually happening internally, your fears dissipate, exposing endless opportunities for personal growth. Trauma’s natural place is in the past. My goal is to help you put it there so that you can move forward in confidence.
I really don’t want to go through the experience again.
There are many ways to address trauma without going through the heart of it. In fact, EMDR treatment and body tracking techniques can alleviate PTSD and trauma symptoms without even having to talk about it directly. Plus, EMDR was designed with safeguards in place for making sure you don’t get overwhelmed.
In some cases, you may not even know or remember what happened, so it’s imperative that therapists have a way of addressing trauma indirectly. Even if you are not ready or have gaps in your memory, trauma counseling can still offer you relief and post-traumatic growth.
If I erase this part of myself, I won’t be me anymore.
The memory of a traumatic event is not something that you can overcome by simply carving it out of you. Like a scar, it’s an inherent part of you now. So our work will focus heavily on changing how you perceive yourself and your environment rather than changing who you are.
And you certainly don’t have to abandon coping mechanisms that have gotten you this far. My hope is to supplement the toolbox you already have for dealing with trauma with healthier, more effective means of coping with and overcoming challenges.
You Don’t Have To Be Controlled By Your Past
If you are struggling to manage the overwhelming emotions and frightening memories of a traumatic experience, I can offer you comfort and peace. Please call 323 539 7717 to see how my approach to trauma and PTSD treatment can improve your life.