When a person, young or old, experiences trauma, what is broken is the awareness and belief that one is safe. It can also shatter a sense of trust in others and trust in the world.
When a person feels unsafe as a result of past traumas, that person operates in their fight, flight, or freeze system. A person having suffered from trauma is now primed for perceived danger and with that, can be readily triggered by interpersonal conflict and stress. Add to that a busy lifestyle with lack of balance and self-nurturing, and life can feel like a cycle of pending threat and fearful avoidance.
At different times throughout one’s life, the imprint of the past trauma can surface. This surfacing can be due to triggers that occur or long-lasting patterns in how we relate to others and to ourselves. This surfacing can be strong, complicated and confusing. A person can have become so accustomed to the impact of the trauma, that they live a pain-filled life as if this is their “normal.”
When trauma is encountered and experienced, something inside detonates, causing fear, terror, and an impulse to act. This is the tendency to fight, run, or freeze. What may seem as a minor or inconsequential matter to some, can be salient to a person who has suffered trauma.
I consider myself to be a trauma-informed and trauma-focused therapist. What does that mean for you as a survivor looking to find support and wanting to effect change in your life?
Your life can be occupied with anxiety, hypervigiliance and hyperawareness of your surroundings and feel the need to pay added attention to your environment and how others regard you. You may be especially hard on yourself, experience self-blame, as well as question the intentions of others. There is a myriad of circumstances that present in your life that cause you to be guarded and avoidant of emotional and/or physical intimacy. It can be challenging to trust and feel safe. All of this can lead to depression, profound sadness and loss, and feelings of dread.
My intention is to provide a sense of safety within the counseling process, with acceptance, gentleness, kindness, and healthy boundaries. I work with you to regulate the intense feelings that arise when triggered and slowly process what has happened, to normalize how you have been impacted. My goal is that as you process the pain and fears, you become, over time, empowered and regain your sense of personal control. It is in this processing and resolving of the past that you can develop a sense of who you are, aside and from those experiences.
I can help you to gain insight into what your feelings are telling you, to recognize your needs in the moment, and to be able to assert yourself in getting those needs met. That can be the need for comfort and assurance, for protection and safety, and for social support. Our work together is to help you regain your sense of control and power, learn to trust yourself and others, and to find meaning in life despite what has happened.
If this is you, I hope you will find some comfort here and know that there is support in our community. I invite you to reach out to see if I may be a good fit for what you are hoping to achieve in your life.