Is Something From Your Past Intruding On Your Present?
Do you live in a state of extreme fear? Perhaps you feel this fear in your body, and you experience nightmares, heart palpitations, sweaty palms or panic attacks. Or, maybe this fear shows up in relationships, and you struggle to trust, communicate well or feel empowered with others. You might feel completely disconnected from everyone.
Do you feel on edge most of the time? Maybe it seems you are powerless to intense emotions of anger, sadness or stress. Do certain sounds or smells flood you with panic and unwanted memories? In an attempt to avoid these uncomfortable sensations, you may withdraw or lead a very guarded life. You might wonder if you’ll ever be able to feel safe—in the world or with others—and able to pursue what you want.
Maybe you just want to be able to sleep at night. With nightmares or insomnia keeping you awake, everything from concentration to motivation may be suffering. You might even feel completely distracted, as if you can’t recall driving to work or what you ate for breakfast that morning.
Dealing with trauma can be very debilitating. You may experience a tremendous fear, both in the world and within the context of your relationships. With overwhelming emotions impacting your every action, you may feel extremely alone and misunderstood. You want to lead a meaningful, connected life, but you’re stuck and don’t know what to do.
You Are Not Alone
If you are experiencing the effects of trauma, you are not alone. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, nearly eight percent of American adults will develop PTSD at some point during their lives.
Almost all of us experience some unsettling and unexpected event, such as an accident, loss of a loved one, a breakup or a disempowering physical or sexual experience. Some people also experience traumatic events that are outside the realm of typical experience like combat, sexual violence, chronic childhood abuse or neglect. However, not all of us develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. For many, recovery after trauma occurs at a natural pace and doesn’t require intervention. But for some, trauma stays with them and can cause ongoing struggles in relationships, physical health and a lot more.
If you experienced an event that shook your very sense of self and purpose, you might feel helpless to understand or overcome the experience. When something so big and devastating happens—that you have little control over—the body reacts with a stress response that’s hardwired to keep you safe. If the body never fully processes the event, that stress remains in your system.
Although anyone can develop PTSD, people who have survived life-threatening events and/or multiple traumatic events, lack social support or tend to push feelings away are at a higher risk.
The good news is that help is available, even if this painful event happened a long time ago, or if you don’t quite remember what you survived. With the proper support and guidance, overcoming trauma is possible. You can come to trust yourself and others and live a more connected, peaceful and empowered life.
Trauma Therapy Can Help You Heal
PTSD treatment can be effective in restoring a sense of safety—in the mind, body and spirit. Because trauma tends to resonate in the body in the form of somatic memories, therapy addresses healing at that level. We also work to restore connectedness and meaning. Trauma can shake your very sense of self, causing questions about the meaning of what happened or existential uncertainty about life in general. These heavy emotions can be difficult to overcome alone.
Recovering from trauma is most successful and enduring when it is in the context of relationships rather than in isolation. This is because trauma healing involves rebuilding identity, intimacy, and your capacity for trust, all of which were originally formed in relationships. That is why the therapeutic relationship is important in recovery. I work first to establish safety in the room so that all the aspects of trauma can then be effectively addressed.
Throughout this process, I want you to feel empowered. It takes a lot of courage to pursue healing from a deeply frightening experience. At a pace that feels comfortable to you, we can peel back the layers until you experience profound healing, relief and personal growth.
Together, we’ll carefully examine your physical signals, which then inform the course of treatment. I believe the body holds wisdom and knows what it needs to heal. By listening to the language of your body, and gaining new skills to address particular symptoms, you can begin to heal, holistically.
Trauma therapy combines this somatic healing with traditional talk therapy. We want to address not only the bodily reactions but also the underlying relational disconnection that keeps you stuck.
To further aid this relational healing, I also offer trauma counseling in groups. Joining a group can be incredibly valuable as a way to connect with others who share similar experiences. Group therapy is another place to continue building bonds and working toward increased capacity for relationships and life.
With the right guidance and support, it’s possible to open back up to life. There are many things in our lives that call us to change and grow. Even though you cannot return to “before,” with the right healing interventions, you can start to recognize the many invitations and opportunities available to you now. You might even see trauma therapy as an unexpected gift that allowed you to form a new community and increase your resilience for future challenges. In other words, it’s not only possible to find relief, but to truly understand yourself and thrive.
You may still have questions or concerns about PTSD treatment…
Will I need to retell my trauma?
No, it’s not always necessary. Some people find that telling their story is a crucial aspect of healing. Others do not need to do this and in fact find it to be overly distressing. Your treatment will be tailored to your particular needs. I believe the body has wisdom and knows what it needs to heal. Together, we can listen to what your body needs and heal trauma at that level.
I feel unable to form steady relationships. Does trauma therapy help with that?
Absolutely, it’s a very crucial aspect of this work.
My therapy focus is relational. I offer group and individual therapy to practice therapeutic skills, rebuild safety and trust and establish your identity and independence. The relationships we have in therapy, whether with me or in the group, are like practice that you can then apply in a real-world context. This entire process should make connecting to others feel easier and more natural.
Can I really get better?
Yes. I’ve been working with trauma survivors for over 20 years and have seen many wonderful transformations. That said, this work is not easy. It requires time, patience, bravery, commitment and diligence. But, this could be the most significant decision of your life. If you’re ready to process your pain, I’m here to support you.
Relief is Possible
If you would like to learn more about trauma treatment or schedule a session, please feel call 512-222-6946 for a free 15-minute phone consultation.