"Why am I always on edge?"
"Why are my moods all over the place?"
"I can't concentrate or remember things, but the past sure seems to pop up in my mind all the time."
"I'm so tired but I can't sleep."
"I want to be with friends and family but when I do I feel so overwhelmed and uncomfortable."
"I just don't feel like myself anymore."
"Why did this happen to me?"
Trauma has no boundaries regarding age, gender, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. It is a response to an adverse event or a series of events that can have a lasting impact your mental, physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. The impact of trauma can be subtle, insidious, or deeply destructive. How you respond to a traumatic event is personal - while some people find that their reactions go away on their own after a distressing/traumatic event, for some people there are lingering impacts that are disruptive and upsetting. Factors such as your personal attributes, resiliency, the type and characteristics of the event(s), personal ways of coping, support of others, culture and spiritual beliefs influence how an adverse event may impact you over time. With that said, let's explore some of the most common reactions to traumatic experiences.
Common Reactions to Trauma
The following symptoms and behaviors are common, normal stress reactions to abnormal circumstances. You may find, however, that these symptoms do not go away, are highly distressing and significantly interfere with your daily life. If so, please know that our work together can help address your concerns and help you heal.
Anger, sadness, fear, shame, irritability, grief, betrayal, cynicism, apathy and numbness are all common reactions you may feel. You may find that you have difficulty identifying your emotions at any given time or have trouble experiencing certain emotions such as joy or contentment. Often, you can vacillate between feeling too much or too little. The constant mood swings may leave you feeling fragile and vulnerable which negatively impact you and your relationships. Our work together will help you find the right balance so you can experience all emotions while feeling able to regulate through challenging emotions.
The physical impact of an adverse experience can be equally as troubling as the emotional impact and, for some, may be the first signs that they are struggling with the aftermath of the stress response. Sleep changes, stomach upset, cardiovascular changes, neurological complaints, heart rate / blood pressure changes, body aches, difficulty breathing and hypervigilance are examples of how trauma can manifest somatically. Together, we will help you understand the mind-body connection to help you connect to your bodily cues and learn effective ways to respond to them and heal.
You may find that your core beliefs about yourself, others and the world are profoundly impacted by traumatic events and can skew your hopes and expectations of your future. You may find that you are more fearful, have conflicting, confusing or mixed feelings about yourself and the event and have intrusive, unwelcome thoughts and memories related to the trauma occur (often called flashbacks). Difficulty concentrating, remembering things, rumination and racing thoughts are all common cognitive responses to traumatic events. Our work together will teach you how to notice cues, identify activators/triggers, and ground yourself in the present moment to help you feel more safe and in charge.
In an attempt to manage the after effects of trauma, you may find that you engage in behaviors to reduce the intensity of distressing aspects of the traumatic experience. Avoidance of people, places or things that remind you of the event, compulsive urges for food or self-medicating substances, and increased impulsiveness are common reactions. These behaviors may feel like attempts to try to control the situation or your reactions. It is also common to feel like you have no control over your life and can feel helpless, indecisive, or struggle to take action when needed. Together, we will explore these behaviors and address the underlying urges and needs by building adaptive, healthy ways to cope.
Social support and healthy relationships can be effective protectors against the stress of trauma. However, regardless of the type of trauma you experienced, you may find that your relationships struggle after your traumatic experience. You may feel "different" or like no one will understand you and what you went through. Relationships may feel unsafe and you may feel betrayed and ashamed by what happened, resulting in avoiding or shutting down in close relationships. Conversely, in an attempt to connect you might find that you overshare and flood the relationship, leaving all involved overwhelmed. Our work will help you learn how to regulate with yourself and in the presence of others so you feel more equipped to invest and be present with those who matter to you most.
Trauma Therapy Can Help
You don't have to feel this way anymore...
An essential ingredient in healing from trauma is feeling supported. In therapy, we will focus on building a safe and caring space where you can sit with your feelings, listen to your body and regain a sense of self again. Our work together will help you better understand yourself by learning valuable skills to feel grounded, regulated and connected. Our goal is to leave you with the emotions, perspectives and understanding that will guide you towards positive, healthy and useful interactions and behaviors.
Together we will work on...
Safety & Stabilization
After experiencing trauma, it can feel difficult to be vulnerable or have trust in yourself and others. At the core of trauma therapy is the need to experience safety and consistency. We will do that by creating a working alliance together that takes your needs, personality and pacing preferences/needs into consideration. Our work together will provide you with purposeful psychoeducation to develop knowledge and understanding of how trauma has impacted you, enhance and build upon your strengths and capacities, and expand your repertoire of coping skills and resources to help you feel grounded and connected to yourself and the world around you.
Processing & Resolution
An important step in effective trauma work focuses on cognitively and emotionally processing the traumatic experience(s). We will explore and address any questions of responsibility, shame, guilt, grief or self-blame that may arise for you. Any negative beliefs and painful emotions will be tended to with care, patience and gentle guidance to help you overcome them and heal. We will intentionally turn towards the traumatic memories and the physiological and emotional distress to create a shift in meaning and response to the past. Our work together will ignite and re-establish your connection to yourself and help you develop a healthy narrative of yourself so you achieve wellbeing.
Integration & Meaning Making
Throughout our work together, we will explore ways for you to integrate and consolidate the skills, knowledge and concepts gained from therapy. Our goal is to do more than decrease your troubling symptoms; at the end of therapy we will look for ways to cultivate a joy for life that honors your resiliency, rejoices in greater self-knowledge and appreciation and develops trust, respect and purpose for yourself and the way you relate to the world around you. Additionally, we will identify and establish robust, meaningful relationships, and help you create a lifestyle that aligns with your values. Together, we will build connection and engagement, nurture emotionally engaged living and enhance your overall quality and fulfillment of life.
Personalized, Focused Therapy for Trauma will Help You...
Reduce and heal trauma related symptoms
Acquire new tools to help you better understand your emotional and physiological experiences
Learn how to experience and regulate difficult emotions and bodily responses to help you find your optimal level of emotionality and functioning
Empower personal growth and improve self-worth and self-esteem
Improve your relationships and expand your community of support
Redefine and revise your priorities to increase your commitment to a personal mission and sense of purpose and meaning
Live in the present moment
Trauma Therapy For...
- Childhood Emotional, Physical, Sexual, Verbal Abuse
Childhood Physical or Emotional Neglect
Witnessing Violence & Trauma in the Home and/or Community
Traumatic Grief & Loss - Often Sudden, Unexpected and/or Violent
Being Physically or Sexually Attacked/Assaulted
Being in an Accident
EMDR for Trauma
EMDR Therapy in Los Angles and Throughout California & Florida
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy is a psychotherapy that enables you to heal from the distressing symptoms that are a result of disturbing and painful life experiences. EMDR has shown to be effective for anxiety, depression and trauma disorders. EMDR uses eye movements, tapping or other forms of bilateral stimulation to access your brain's information processing system to clear blocks, imbalances and unprocessed, stuck memories resulting from the impact of a disturbing event. Once the block is removed, your body and mind can activate their natural healing processes.
EMDR does not require you to remember or share the details of your traumatic experiences - making this a less stressful, faster and highly effective form of support and treatment. EMDR pairs well with many other forms of therapy and can easily be integrated into a unique treatment plan that works for you.
EMDR is proven to help. Let's talk to determine if this approach is right for you.