Trauma

I have years of experience working with clients who suffer from PTSD and C-PTSD (complex PTSD). It does not have to be a life sentence. I have utilized CBT, guided imagery, relaxation training, Prolonged Exposure therapy and more recently, EMDR. I am a huge fan of EMDR as I find it is a "relatively" quicker and more effective way to relieve trauma symptoms, however it is not always the best fit for everyone. I am more concerned with  earning your trust, establishing safety and hearing your story.  Being a survivor of trauma can be isolating. It can cause shame, or a deep sense of not being enough. Therapy might be the first time you've ever told your story. That takes GUTS! It takes real vulnerability and I truly feel honored to have been the trusted recipients of so many survivor's stories over the years. Telling your story is the first part of loosening it's grip on your present. 

 

What is trauma? In general, trauma can be defined as a psychological, emotional response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. When loosely applied, this trauma definition can refer to something upsetting, such as being involved in an accident, having an illness or injury, losing a loved one, or going through a divorce. However, it can also encompass the far extreme and include experiences that are severely damaging, such as rape or torture.

 

Because events are viewed subjectively, this broad trauma definition is more of a guideline. Everyone processes a traumatic event differently because we all face them through the lens of prior experiences in our lives. For example: one person might be upset and fearful after going through a hurricane, but someone else might have lost family and barely escaped from a flooded home during Hurricane Katrina. In this case, a minor Category One hurricane may bring up traumatic flashbacks of their terrifying experience.

Complex Trauma

Complex trauma happens repetitively. It often results in direct harm to the individual. The effects of complex trauma are cumulative. The traumatic experience frequently transpires within a particular time frame or within a specific relationship, and often in a specific setting. The following situations and experiences can be considered chronically traumatic and thus be considered complex trauma:

  • Any kind of childhood abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, mental, verbal)

  • Childhood neglect and abandonment

  • Domestic violent relationship

  • Combat/War

  • Any situation where your safety was regularly at risk

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop after a person has been exposed to a terrifying event or has been through an ordeal in which intense physical harm occurred or was threatened. Sufferers of this PTSD have persistent and frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal.

Trauma Symptoms

Often, shock and denial are typical reactions to a traumatic event. Over time, these emotional responses may fade, but a survivor may also experience reactions long-term. These can include:

  • Anger

  • Persistent feelings of sadness and despair

  • Flashbacks

  • Unpredictable emotions

  • Physical symptoms, such as nausea and headaches

  • Intense feelings of guilt, as if they are somehow responsible for the event

  • An altered sense of shame

  • Feelings of isolation and hopelessness