Perhaps you’ve been living with unresolved trauma, and you don’t even know it.
Have you experienced something painful? It may have happened once or over a period of time.
And ever since then, if you really think about it, there may be inklings of a subconscious fear that different versions of the event might happen again.
In your mind, this might sound like…
What if I get stuck in this situation and can’t get out?
What if they don’t respect my boundaries when I vocalize them?
What if you say something wrong and they blow up all of the sudden?
They’re nice right now but what if they change and show their true colors?
Sometimes, it feels like you’re walking on eggshells. It’s hard to trust people. Or, maybe you feel broken. You’re filled with self-doubt. You constantly criticize yourself. You keep yourself numbed or distracted through phone scrolling, social media, achievements, social outings, but if you really look within, you feel disconnected from others. You feel disconnected from yourself. You’re emotionally numb. These are just a few of the many symptoms you could experience.
Trauma can take many forms.
Were you put down and belittled?
Were you raised in a chaotic, unsafe, or unstable environment?
Have you experienced race-based, intergenerational, or immigration trauma?
Were you physically or sexually threatened or hurt?
Did you experience betrayal? Rejection? Ongoing blame?
Traumatic and painful experiences can disrupt our sense of safety and stability and our ability to trust others or ourselves. They can make us prone to feelings of shame, guilt, isolation, or hypervigilance. These ways of living and being can be all that someone knows. It may be hard to even imagine or know that life can be different.
you might think…
– “Is this really happening? Is it just me?”
– “Is there just something wrong with me?”
– “Why am I overreacting to such a small thing?”
It can seem almost as if there are no words to describe what happened…as if your ability to put what happened into words been lost or disabled.
You might experience…
– Memory lapses: especially memory loss of times surrounding the trauma.
– Frequent dwelling on what happened, replaying the situation in your head
– Intrusive thoughts of the situation
– Uncontrollable reactive thoughts
– Irritability/anger triggered by certain cues
– Feeling as though one is permanently damaged
– Mood swings
-Feeling ashamed. You want to hide. You want to keep this part of your life/self a secret
– Fear or anxiety about the situation happening again (For example, “What if this person betrays me again?”)
– Withdrawal from others
– Avoidance of anything, anyone, or any place that reminds you of the situation
– Loss of interest in hobbies/activities that you used to enjoy
– Insomnia or excessive sleep
– Obsession and/or compulsions
– Self-sabotaging occupational or lifestyle choices.
– Easily startled
– Fatigue and exhaustion
– Chronic physical pains
– Chronic muscle tension
– Shifts in sleeping patterns
Trauma can be stored as a memory within your body.
Our approach is individualized and trauma-informed. Trauma, whether or not it has been consciously recognized, has a complex influence on all parts of our lives, bodies, and mental and emotional world.
Here are some ways we might begin to address your trauma:
𖥸 Make sense of your experiences at your pace
𖥸 Identify triggers to the emotional, psychological, and physical reactions that may have been developed for self-protection
𖥸 Process feelings and memories you may have avoided, perhaps because of how confusing and painful they are
𖥸 Cultivate new coping skills
𖥸 Reconnect with your self and live more in the present instead of being stuck in the past
Through this process, strong emotions will eventually become less scary and intense because you will learn to express and understand them. Your past does not have to define your present. In a safe and supportive environment, it is possible to heal.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Complex trauma refers to repeated and prolonged exposure to traumatic events or experiences, often starting in childhood, that have a cumulative effect on an individual’s psychological and emotional development. Complex trauma can occur as a result of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional), neglect, domestic violence, or other forms of interpersonal trauma.
Unlike a single traumatic event, complex trauma can have a profound impact on an individual’s sense of self, relationships, and overall functioning. It can lead to symptoms such as difficulty regulating emotions, dissociation, identity confusion, chronic feelings of emptiness, low self-esteem, and a pervasive sense of being unsafe in the world.
Because of the complexity of the trauma, treatment for complex trauma often involves a longer-term approach that addresses the underlying emotional and relational issues that have developed as a result of the traumatic experiences.
Intergenerational trauma refers to the transmission of trauma from one generation to another. It occurs when the traumatic experiences of one generation have a lasting impact on the psychological, emotional, and social well-being of subsequent generations.
Intergenerational trauma can be caused by a range of factors, such as war, genocide, forced migration, slavery, racism, and discrimination. The trauma can be passed down through the family in a number of ways, such as through parenting styles, family dynamics, and cultural norms and values.
Read more about multicultural therapy here.
Race-based trauma refers to the psychological and emotional distress experienced by individuals who have been exposed to racism, discrimination, and prejudice. It can occur as a result of direct or indirect experiences of racism, including interpersonal racism, institutional racism, and systemic racism.
Race-based trauma can have a range of effects on an individual’s mental health and well-being, including symptoms of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and complex trauma. It can also impact an individual’s sense of self, identity, and relationships.
Examples of race-based trauma may include experiencing racial profiling, discrimination in the workplace or school, being the victim of a hate crime, or witnessing acts of racism against oneself or others.
It’s important to note that race-based trauma is a result of systemic issues and not the fault of the individual who experiences it. Treatment for race-based trauma may involve addressing the underlying trauma and developing healthy coping strategies to manage the effects of racism on an individual’s life.
Read more about multicultural therapy here.
Sexual trauma can profoundly impact an individual’s psychological, emotional, and physical well-being. It can affect someone in many ways, such as
Everyone’s experience with sexual trauma is unique, and the effects may vary from person to person. Treatment for sexual trauma often involves addressing the underlying trauma and developing healthy coping strategies to manage the effects of the trauma on an individual’s life.
A part of the work in trauma therapy involves processing the trauma in a way that moves you toward healing but at your own pace. While talking about trauma can be a helpful part of the healing process, it’s not always necessary or appropriate for everyone.
Trauma therapists are trained to work with individuals at their own pace and to respect their boundaries and needs. You are in control of what you want to talk about, how much of it you want to discuss, and if you even want to discuss it at all at any given moment. Having that control over the pace and speed of treatment is crucial, considering that many people who have been traumatized were left powerless and helpless when it happened.
Treatment helps you process the experience in a way that gives you power and control. It’s important to remember that trauma therapy is a collaborative process between you and your therapist, and you have the right to express your needs and preferences throughout the therapy process.
If you feel uncomfortable talking about your trauma, you can discuss this with your therapist and work together to find alternative approaches that may be more effective for you.
If you have out-of-network benefits, your insurance may be able to reimburse you for approximately 50%-80% of each session after the out-of-network deductible is met.
Out-of-network psychotherapy coverage varies by carrier and policy. It can be confusing, but we’re here to help! If you aren’t sure whether or not you have out-of-network benefits, we can check for you. Just email your insurance card and date of birth to firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting consistently and stably on a weekly basis will help build safety and trust, which is essential for the work to progress on a deeper level. Biweekly sessions impact the effectiveness of therapy.
Often, meeting less frequently results in a ‘catch up’ type of session and does not allow for the time, space, and emotional capacity needed to address what goes on beneath the surface.
Depending on the level of our work, there are also times when meeting two or more times a week is appropriate, and that will always come from us talking and making that decision together.
Therapy can last any time between a year to many more, as long as you are still progressing from our work. The length of therapy depends on what you want and need, and what you want/need can be fluid and dynamic.
Healing and personal growth is not strict or predictable. You can start off by wanting to address something very specific (e.g. “I want to feel less anxious”), but through our work together could realize a deeper meaning to these anxious symptoms (e.g. “I feel anxious because I am terrified of intimacy” to “I’ve had very familiar experiences of being emotionally suffocated when I was close to people”). Realizing these deeper long-standing issues may then shape the focus and length of treatment.
Regardless of why you are seeking therapy and how long you hope to be in treatment, it is important to remember that your thoughts and input are invaluable to me, and the pace and length of treatment will always be a collaborative discussion.
Anyone who wants a space to explore themselves and journey towards emotional wellness can benefit from therapy. If you’re unsure, try asking yourself these questions:
You may not need to know the full answer to these questions to try a few sessions. Sometimes, mulling this over aloud with a therapist can help you sort out your thoughts and answers. That’s also part of the therapy process!
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