Trauma

Unaddressed trauma can easily slip through the cracks and affect your daily life. Due to its morphing nature and unpredictability, dealing with all the symptoms of trauma is oftentimes viewed as impossible. The first step towards healing is separation, so have a read below and learn a little more about trauma existing as outside yourself.

  • Shanti: inner peace

  • Bhāvanā: mental insight

  • Karuṇā: guided healing

What Is Trauma?

Traumatic experiences can cause varied cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral changes that impede your healthy functioning. The idea of what a traumatic experience is is individually defined and felt. These occurrences can exist as reactions to a natural disaster, divorce, sexual assault, childhood neglect, accidents, torture, and everything in between. How your mind and body react to these experiences is what determines both your definition of trauma and the extent of your involvement with it. Trauma doesn’t always affect individuals the same way, and some people can rely on their social connections and cope healthily. However, when acute stress reactions and a sense of detachment/numbness become apparent, these inherent coping mechanisms we have are not working effectively enough to guide us through trauma healing.

The integrative nature of trauma, affecting your mind and body, requires a holistic approach towards therapy. Oftentimes trauma is directly linked to more obvious reactions, such as shock or denial. However, traumatic symptoms are much more complex and subtle in many individuals, leading to a winding path towards recovery. Symptoms can be short and long-term, affecting your daily life or even just surfacing during triggering moments. Your brain structure can actually become altered after such an experience and in children, chronic illnesses can even develop. The social isolation associated with trauma also adds to the complexities involved in treatment. The traumatic experience sets you apart from others, whether that is reality or not, and it can be a very marginalizing path to travel without some guidance.

There are several classifications of trauma, which can be problematic in their own right due to the individual nature of such mental health struggles. However, widely speaking, trauma can exist as Complex Trauma, PTSD, and Developmental Trauma. Complex Trauma is more of a cyclical occurrence in which your mind-body reactions to the event or events build upon each other throughout your life experiences. PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is more acute in its nature, resulting in directly distressing cognitive and physical reactions to that specific event (i.e. Combat Stress, car accident, sexual assault). Developmental Trauma Disorder occurs in young children where their developmental needs were not met, thus affecting their coping, attachment, and socioemotional capabilities into later life.

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“Each morning, we are born again. What we do today is what matters most” (Buddha)

Trauma and COVID-19

One effective coping mechanism for trauma is relying on social connections to rebuild a sense of normalcy, stabilize emotional reactions, and set new goals for oneself. Unfortunately, in today’s world, this outlet is extremely limited and makes trauma recovery more difficult. The added stress of everything that has come along with COVID-19 can act as a trigger for past trauma and even magnify responses to such. It’s important to address the new context we’re all living in, especially regarding trauma healing.

Remember, any occurrence you perceive as traumatic in your life is trauma and will be treated as such. These are just a few examples.

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Combat Stress
  • Complex Trauma
  • Sexual abuse
  • Family trauma
  • Accident

This list is not the end all be all and trauma experiences can take many forms.

  • Cognitive: event flashbacks, issues with mood regulation, guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, dissociation, hallucinations, obsessive-compulsive thoughts
  • Physical: extreme fatigue, sleeping issues, night terrors, nausea, headaches, muscle pain
  • Behavioral: unhealthy reactions to beliefs regarding future life possibilities, fear of sudden death, anger, anxiety, numbness, sadness, self medication/substance abuse, self-harm, eating disorder development, dissociation, disorientation
Healing is a complicated journey, not an impossible one. Opening your heart and mind to your own well-being will enlighten your path and reveal your destination.
Our counseling clinic approaches trauma from an interconnected healing perspective in which all aspects of who you are as an individual are involved and can progress. Due to its mind-body involvement, integrating both a traditional psychotherapeutic approach, alongside a more mindful, full ‘you’ approach, trauma therapy addresses all possible experiential surfacing. Our main goal is to support a safe environment free from any possible triggering factors so you can delve into the roots of your trauma with us. We lead you to the base of the issue and help you to understand what actually happened. By fully comprehending your place in that trauma, you can bring it to the present and become aware of how it affects you and your daily life. After coming back to the present, we can address how this trauma is surfacing, how it may arise in the future, and create healthy coping strategies for every aspect of your life.

Our Therapeutic Approaches

Holistic & Transpersonal

Your perception of the self is formed through interactions within the body, mind, and spirit. We believe that acknowledging the interconnectedness of your existence can aid in the uniqueness of building one’s own identity, and therefore, behaviors and actions regarding a traumatic experience. Our therapeutic treatment of you and the traumatic experience you’ve encountered encompasses this mind-body approach, delving into all aspects of its manifestations.

‘You’-centric & Relational

We believe that acting as the guides to your trauma healing journey is the most effective treatment approach, regardless of the path it leads you down. Your life experiences, including your trauma, have molded you into this present version of yourself, and our treatment acknowledges that. Integrating Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques allows us to call out unhealthy mental, physical, and behavioral coping patterns and address them.

There is no one answer for trauma healing and acknowledging your own sense of self, and how you present that to the world, is vital for successful counseling and addressing not just the problem, but how to manage it now and in the future.

Mindfulness

Existing in the present during the mental and physical surfacing of your trauma (flashbacks, dissociation, etc.) can assist in addressing and calming those oftentimes overwhelming emotional reactions. This Gestalt therapeutic approach keeps you grounded in the present, assisting you in separating what happened to you from who you are now.

In our counseling sessions, we often utilize breathing techniques, guided visualization, and Reiki therapy to ground your experiences and assist you through them when they resurface. Attention is drawn to the present moment, the current interactions and causes of these reactions, and possibly even any unconscious interactions that were previously dismissed.

Your Counseling Experience

Each therapeutic experience is different, and each session can unlock helpful and new paths to explore in the healing process. The below are just to give you a general idea, hopefully instilling a bit of confidence and easing of any worry associated with seeking treatment.

  • 45-minute sessions generally, once a week
  • Short-term work can last between 3-6 months or whenever you feel you’ve reached the version of yourself you were seeking
  • Long-term work also lasts as long as you need

How We Choose Your Therapist

  • What you both need to reach mental well-being
  • Your personalities and energies
  • Your communication styles
  • Our therapist’s specialties, training, interests, and own lived experiences
  • Our therapist’s approach and communication style

In the Meantime

Extensive research has found that these simplistic and mindful lifestyle changes have a drastic effect on daily life. Give them a shot if you need some immediate peace.

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Reiki
  • Experiencing nature
  • Conscious, deep breathing
  • Maintain an active lifestyle
  • Healthy diet

FAQs About Trauma

Trauma can exist consciously and subconsciously, surfacing at seemingly random times and not for extended periods. The complexity of how each individual copes with traumatic events makes it extremely possible for you to be experiencing a reaction to a long past event.
That is oftentimes the case. As humans, we attempt to normalize disturbing occurrences, oftentimes even completely dissociating from them (blocking them out). Becoming aware of the existence of trauma in our past can lead to symptoms and experiences that never surfaced before. This is normal and can be delved into in treatment.
Our main therapeutic goal is to help you separate who you are from what happened to you. The keywords here are ‘happened to you’. Yes, this trauma feels like a part of who you are, your identity even, but it’s important in your healing journey to mindfully remove these events and see them as just that. It may seem impossible now, but we can help you do this.
Symptoms of trauma can arise in various forms, one of them being anxiety and its many mind-body symptoms. Remembering or acknowledging a traumatic experience can exacerbate these symptoms and even morph them into something else. It’s possible you were prone to anxiety before your event, but it is also possible your anxiety is a direct result of it as well. Part of our therapy is to dive into the roots of your mental health battles and find how they’ve grown within you, eventually separating them from your sense of self.
Trauma therapy is a long and winding road with the end goal of a healthier you. It is absolutely possible to reach a state of well-being again and if you are feeling a sense of hopelessness, that is a strong sign that it’s time to seek outside assistance.