Psychotherapy for Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders
What is Trauma?
This is a loaded question, but lets keep it simple:
Trauma is any event that ruptures
our general sense of predictability and safety
within the world.
Trauma is Subjective
Trauma is not a ‘’conscious’ decision but rather an executive decision made by our nervous system’s interpretations and interactions with specific parts of the brain.
What this means:
What can be felt as ‘traumatic’ by one person, may not be ‘traumatic’ to another person.
Our body may have a trauma response even when we don’t believe it should.
The good news:
If trauma impacts our body’s way of processing information... and if we view symptoms as ‘overactivity’ within certain regions of our brain... we can teach our body how to ‘rebalance’ itself by decreasing activity in certain neurological regions and strengthening other neurological regions.
Healing then becomes defined as the successful realignment between our mind-body brain connection.
Common Sources of Trauma
Terminating a pregnancy can result in a mixture of emotions and at times psychological distress. Therapy can be a safe space to process the complex feelings that result from terminating a pregnancy
Whether as an adult or as a child, experiencing abuse (physical, emotional/verbal, or sexual abuse) can shatter ones basic sense of safety and lead to symptoms of trauma.
Having a loved one who struggles with addiction can be incredibly stressful and confusing. Therapy can provide a space to process the damage often caused by addiction and develop new ways of coping with a loved one’s recovery process.
Communities can dramatically affect our core sense of safety. Individuals who have lived in a chaotic or violent community can develop symptoms of trauma, regardless of whether or not they have directly experienced an act of violence.
The dark underbelly of social media and texting. Too often, individuals suffer in silence. Low self esteem, suicidal thoughts and self harm can result from bullying. The effects of cyber bullying can be lifelong. Treatment can help find healing post trauma.
The process of divorce can be chaotic and confusing in nature. Individuals who have experienced traumatic divorces often need support in recreating life post divorce as well as processing the grief of what life used to look like.
Intimate relationships are intended to be a source of safety and support. When intimate partner violence is experienced or witnessed, symptoms of trauma can occur.
Grief can take many shapes and forms, including unexpected loss or ambiguous loss (loss which lacks a clear sense of closure). Therapy can provide a safe space to process the complexity of grief.
When betrayal occurs in a relationship the effects can be devastating. Emotional infidelity, physical infidelity, or having a partner who engages in chronic porn use, often ruptures the sense of safety within the relationship.
Life Change Event
Life Change Event
Major Life events that are experienced with extreme stress can lead to symptoms of trauma. Examples of life change events may include the birth of a child, a career change, loss of a job, or having moved to a new place.
The process of rebuilding post natural disaster can be a daunting task, both physically and emotionally. Therapy can help provide space to process feelings of fear, loss and hope.
Healing Post Trauma
Each person defines healing differently. Similar to how ‘trauma’ is subjective, our understanding of what it means to ‘heal’ is also subjective. Below are some common ways that clients have defined healing:
“I want to feel safe in my body again”
“I don’t want to feel numb”
“I want to feel like life has purpose and meaning again”
“I want to stop having intrusive memories of the event”
“I want to stop feeling so scared in the world”
“I want to have meaningful relations again”
“I want to be able to relax”
“I want to feel like I can protect myself”
“I want to feel happy”
“I want to feel like a person with an identity and not just a survivor”