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Trauma Treatment

 
 

Traumatic experiences from the past may manifest presently in a number of ways:

  • anxiety/panic

  • loss of a sense of the future/hopelessness

  • irritability

  • loss of interest

  • little or no memories

  • restlessness/insomnia

  • nightmares/flashbacks

  • addiction/disordered eating

  • low self-esteem

  • out of control sexual behavior

  • compulsive tendencies

  • self harm

  • intense anger

  • chronic pain/headaches

  • feeling unreal or out of body

  • fear/hypervigilance/mistrust

  • loss of sense of “who I am”

  • numbing

  • tumultuous relationships

When confronted with traumatic experiences, especially as children, we may not have specific memories of these events. Often however, these memories manifest as physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms.   Too often we dismiss these symptoms as predispositions, blaming ourselves for our behavior or emotional patterns, though often these symptoms are in response to traumatic experiences of the past.  Our nervous system is affected by events that threatened the integrity of our life.  In response, we attempt to defend ourselves the best ways we can.  Over time, our nervous system becomes dis-regulated, fluctuating from sympathetic response (fight, flight, or freeze: anger, restlessness, anxiety) to parasympathetic response (feigned death: lethargy, depression, numbing, dissociation). In an attempt to create some stability, we interact with our world in a number of ways.  We may turn to alcohol to help down regulate, or a stimulant, shopping, sex, or eating, to up regulate our nervous system to feel “stable”.

Often it is the symptom (i.e drinking alcohol) that is indicative of trauma rather than the problem itself.  At the point where the behavior is no longer serving (i.e. alcoholism) people typically seek help.

With trauma recovery, we help you integrate the body and the mind, as opposed to traditional ‘talk therapies” that solely focus on thoughts and behavioral change.   So often people with trauma histories or experiences report feeling disconnected from their bodies or even disgusted towards their bodies.

Influenced by the work of Judith Herman, the Noeticus Counseling Center and Training Institute, and the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute we provide trauma treatment through 3 phases of treatment:

1.    Safety and stabilization-Clients learn to develop an awareness of nervous system activation and cultivate specific resources to help regulate emotions, body sensations, and thought patterns.  

2.    Processing Traumatic Memory-Clients learn to strengthen their capacity for intentional regulation learned in Phase 1 while expanding their capacity to stay present to a wider range of physiological, emotional, and thought states. Client's access the procedural memories of traumatic experiences and discover defense strategies to complete action defenses and thus restabilize and calibrate their nervous system.

3.    Integration, Meaning Making-Clients discover meaning based on their past experiences and widen their narrative of their current life, relationships, and potential.  

As you work with our trained clinicians, you can: 

  • Generate resources and tools to help you tolerate intense emotions, behaviors, and thoughts

  • Develop curiosity and mindfulness to how your body and mind hold memories of your past experience(s),

  • Increase body awareness and acceptance of the present moment experience,

  • Expand your capacity to tolerate distress, regulate emotions, and decrease reactivity,

  • Integrate body memory of trauma with emotions and self defeating beliefs,

  • Move through stuck patterning of trauma by completing unresolved defensive tendencies, and

  • Acquire new tools to work with and through traumatic symptoms in your daily life.

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