Trauma & PTSD

What is trauma?

Trauma can result from life experiences that are emotionally painful, distressing, threatening and overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope. Some trauma-inducing experiences include acute incidences, such as the sudden death of a loved one, sexual assault, natural disasters or an accident.  Others are cumulative, such as childhood abuse, systemic oppression and exposure to ongoing violence. Traumatic experiences can damage a sense of safety, trust and ability to respond appropriately to perceived threats.

What are some symptoms of unresolved trauma?

When an individual is not able to process and integrate traumatic experience, it can result in ongoing distress. This distress can be subtle or overt, and can take many forms. Common symptoms of traumatic stress include: anxiety, hyper or hypo vigilance, fearfulness, numbness, avoidance of anything related to the traumatic experience, rexperiencing of the traumatic event. These symptoms can impact work, relationships, social functioning, physical health, and make it difficult to cope with daily life. Persistence of these symptoms over time can result in a number of post-traumatic stress conditions, including PTSD.

What can I expect from therapy for trauma?

It can often be difficult to talk about the painful experiences and symptoms that you experience as the result of trauma. Recall of specific details can happen at your own pace, over time and in your own way. Working directly with current physiological and psychological symptoms can help to regulate emotions and increase distress tolerance. This can result in a reduction of symptom intensity or frequency and improved ability to cope with daily life.

My approach to trauma healing is grounded in the development of a safe and supportive therapeutic relationship that is sensitive to your needs and preferences. I am trained in Somatic Experiencing, a gentle yet effective approach that helps to resolve “stuck” physiological states and release energy bounded by traumatic stress. The duration of our work together is determined by your goals. Healing from trauma and learning to adjust to a life impacted by trauma can take time.

Trauma Reading List

  • Herman, Judith (1997). Trauma and Recovery.

  • Lee, Deborah & James, Sophie (2013). The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Recovering from Trauma and PTSD: Using Compassion-Focused Therapy to Overcome Flashbacks, Shame, Guilt and Fear.

  • Levine, Peter (2008). Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body.

  • Scaer, Robert (2012). 8 Keys to Brain-Body Balance.

  • Van Der Kolk, Bessel (2015). The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma.

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