Healing from Trauma is a journey…
You want to move on from the past but something is holding you back…you just want to have a healthy life in the present and feel comfortable in your own skin…to feel safe and be able trust yourself…again, or perhaps for the first time.
Do you find yourself at war between your body and mind, logically knowing how you want to respond, but your emotions or fears seem to get in the way?
Do you find it hard to be authentic in relationships, tending to try to people please, uncomfortable saying no to requests, and have a hard time feeling loved or connected to others in satisfying ways?
Do you feel talk therapy has been useful, but you plateau...circling around the same themes that repeat but don’t seem to change?
Do you find yourself feeling like there is something “stuck” inside, in your body, nervous system, or mind that you want to release, or resolve, but aren’t able to?
You are not alone with this…
Many of the folks I work with have had similar concerns. Common symptoms related to trauma, or PTSD, include: difficulty with either intense or numbed emotions, feeling badly about yourself or like something is “wrong” with you, feeling reactive or on-guard in relationships, having difficulty with trust, perfectionism, over-achieving to cope, people pleasing out of fear of conflict, nightmares/flashbacks, having a tense or rigid body posture, difficulty relaxing, avoiding uncomfortable situations or people that remind you of the stressful or traumatic event, and sometimes feeling detached or “floaty” when stressed. Fortunately, the field of trauma therapy is continually evolving and has innovative therapeutic methods to help people find relief from these difficult symptoms.
PTSD treatment can help people find relief, freedom, and increased ease in life.
Finding freedom from symptoms related to the trauma, a greater sense of connection, an easier time in relationships, and a fulfilling life is possible. I provide a specialized integration of both evidence-based and innovative trauma therapy modalities to support healing at multiple levels from traumatic experiences. These modalities include advanced trainings, such as: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, trauma-informed art therapy, and a strengths-based person-centered approach.
Trauma- focused therapy with me is tailored to your needs and process. We begin with an intake process to get to know you as a person. This will include reviewing your values, culture, relationship style, life dreams, any past therapy, and related life history. We then collaborate on goals or concerns you wish to focus on, getting clear on what results you are seeking. In trauma-focused treatment, we will target specific themes with the modality that best fits both your personality and how the trauma symptoms manifest for you. Safety measures and support are built in through the process to help you feel resourced and prepared before we address specific traumatic events or triggers. We want this to feel manageable for you throughout the process. The following modalities are some of the approaches that we may pull from to best meet your needs during your sessions.
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is a body-based and attachment based therapeutic trauma treatment approach initially taught by Pat Ogden. It pulls from a somatic therapy perspective that recognizes overwhelming experiences, stressors, and traumas can become stuck unprocessed in our nervous system. The fight, flight, or freeze response, which is a natural instinct for us, becomes disrupted and we aren’t able to fully discharge the traumatic residue left over from the initial event, or events. In Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, or somatic therapy, the therapist supports the client in using targeted mindfulness and supportive therapeutic presence to allow the body to naturally “unwind” or process the residue left in the nervous system. This can sometimes feel a little strange at first, but I will help guide you in listening to your own body and trusting what it is telling you. Sometimes there is external movement involved and other times the process is much more internal. My clients often report feeling amazed at how deeply this work touches them and how helpful it is in their process.
EMDR therapy, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, is an evidence-based trauma treatment modality that helps the body process traumatic memories so they no longer take over or disrupt our present life. It was founded by Francine Shapiro and uses bilateral dual attention to support healthy brain processing of stressful events. Traumatic, or overwhelming, events tend to flood our brain, which creates a kind of shut down/overload. When this happens, the memories of that event get stored in the wrong part of our brain and aren’t able to fully process into long-term memory. EMDR therapy helps to re-activate the whole brain when re-visiting trauma symptoms or memories, allowing the brain to process them into long-term memory. This can allow it to remain in the “distant past” rather than feeling like the event is being relived in the present moment. Many people describe this as if their memories turned from “vivid color” to “black and white,” allowing them to live in the present more freely.
Trauma-informed art therapy, pulls from knowledge of how the creative process helps the brain integrate. It can also provide a more safe or gentle entryway if body based approaches feel unmanageable. Creative processes also allow us to access the part of the brain where trauma is stored, the place “without words.” We can then more easily communicate what it is we feel inside, see it reflected back to us in an image, and modify the image as we like. This can create a sense of satisfaction, control, comfort, and safety within the experience. Art can also be used to integrate a greater sense of connection, stability, and expansion after trauma processing has occurred.
Through a thoughtful and thorough integration of the above modalities to your specific goals, we can provide the space and opportunity for your body and mind to unwind, re-align, and integrate a more realized (or full) sense of self post-trauma. This process helps allow you to feel more connected to your body, connected to other people, a greater sense of control, a greater sense of trust in yourself and with others, greater flexibility in voicing your needs, and freedom from feeling limited by past experiences.
You may still have questions or concerns about trauma therapy…
What if I’m not sure I’m ready or I’m afraid of things getting worse if I start?
It’s understandable to feel fear when you hear the word “trauma” or fear that if you “open the box” you won’t be able to close it again. I hear you. I want you to know that I meet you exactly where you are at with this and will trust your pacing and needs for safety here. We will spend a significant amount of time on skills to support increased safety, learn to slow things down when needed, and find the right pace for you. We also “test” these skills with mild stressors before processing further. I’m attentive to this piece and am highly committed to providing support with whatever fears arise. For some people, the skills taught in the first phase, before ever revisiting a trauma memory, are enough for them to feel a sense of control and freedom in their lives.
What if I don’t have a particular memory related to trauma but I have those symptoms?
This happens quite often, people come to me with symptoms of trauma or stress, but don’t recall a specific event. Sometimes an accumulation of more subtle life or relationship patterns creates this dynamic in our bodies. Other times, there are pre-verbal experiences stored in our body. We can still address the symptoms without ever needing to “know the whole story.”
I’m worried about the cost of therapy?
Therapy is an investment in yourself and your future. There is a financial commitment, though the freedom and healing gained is often well worth the money for the clients I’ve worked with. Where might this healing process take you or how might it influence your life? I know from personal experience that investing in therapy, or other meaningful personal growth modalities, has helped me expand into a life I never dreamed I could have. I’ve found it to be worth the money and I invested. Therapy can also help us gain the confidence to take the next big leap in our career or relationship, potentially leading to financial gains in addition to relational gains.
Healing is possible…
Through the past 10 years, I’ve supported hundreds of clients navigate their life histories, traumas, and inspirations. Through the process, I’ve heard feedback over and over again from my clients that incorporating the body based and creative arts/art therapy based modalities I’ve discussed has touched them at a deeper level than they thought was possible. It has helped them access emotions in healthy ways, access inner wisdom, find trust in their own skin, and feel a greater sense of connection to life and relationships.
I’m passionate about providing comprehensive trauma focused therapy due to my experiences working as a rape crisis advocate for many years, with victims of sex-trafficking, with marginalized populations both in the states and internationally, my own experiences in life, and seeing the impact of complex losses on loved ones. These experiences provide me with a depth and understanding of the human condition. I feel strongly that my capacity to hold space for you and guide you through your own healing process is directly related to my capacity to do this in my own life. I’m committed to this offering to you as part of my life’s work.
I’ve also experienced all of these modalities myself, intimately understanding the process from within my own skin. Because of this, I am able to relate, be with, and support from both the perspective of therapist and from the perspective as client. I “get it” from the inside out.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out…or set up a consultation to learn more.
If you are considering trauma therapy for yourself, whether to get started right away or even if you are still having doubts, please feel free to outreach me for a complimentary in-person consultation to discuss your unique needs. Feel free to call or email, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.