Slight shifts in imagination have more impact on living than major efforts at change.
-Thomas Moore

What is trauma-informed psychotherapy?

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People often come to therapy with the idea that there is something wrong with them because they don't like how they feel. They believe that their 'bad' feelings equal bad character or that they are defective and damaged humans. They wonder, "What's wrong with me? Why am I like this?"

Trauma-informed psychotherapy flips this question on its head and instead asks, “What happened to you?"  Without stigmatizing or pathologizing, it puts one's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in an appropriate context and  seeks to make sense of the lived experiences. It is this shift in perspective that facilitates the desired growth and change. People learn to trust their own innate wisdom and develop a coherent sense of self. They can reflect on what happened to them in the past, understand how the past affects them in the present, and feel hopeful for the future.

What is trauma?

Trauma is a loaded word that can  mean different things to different people, but at its core, it's physically, emotionally and psychologically overwhelming experiences that cause physical distress and emotional disturbance. Memories of these experiences can trigger an involuntary stress response in our bodies and brains, commonly referred to as ‘fight, flight or freeze’.  We tend to recognize the 'big-T traumas' such as assaults, abuse, or sudden deaths - and we expect that we'll need help to regain our sense of safety and wellbeing.

 

Other events occur within the context of normal livinglike relationships ending, accidents, illness, life transitions or grief and loss. We tend to minimize the lasting impact of these 'small-t traumas' but they can be as impactful. Our bodies and minds - where the felt-experience is lived and stored - do not make a distinction.

 

The stress response of fight-flight-or-freeze is the same for both big and small traumas. Anxiety, depression and PTSD are among some of the most common symptoms of of unresolved trauma.


 

 

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Other ways that the stress/trauma responses  manifest are:

  • Feeling on edge, overwhelmed and highly stressed all the time

  • The inability to relax

  • Excessive fears, guilt and worry

  • Intrusive thoughts and rumination

  • Avoidance of reminders of the event(s) and unhealthy coping techniques

  • Isolating or withdrawing from others

  • Feeling disconnected from ourselves 

  • Blame ourselves and think that we are responsible for what has transpired

What's there to talk about?

​Everybody presents with their unique story and experiences but some issues that I commonly work with are: 

  • Accidents/Injuries

  • Anger management

  • Anxiety

  • Childhood Abuse, Neglect and Trauma

  • Chronic Illness

  • Codependency

  • Crime Victimization 

  • Depression

  • Divorce/Break-ups

  • Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Abuse

  • Drugs and Alcohol Abuse

  • Emotional/Psychological Abuse  

  • Grief and Loss

  • Incarceration

  • Interpersonal Conflict and Relational Traumas

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  • LGBTQ Identity and Relationships

  • Life Transitions

  • Natural disasters/fire

  • Physical Assaults

  • Self-sabotage, Shame and Self-Esteem Issues

  • Sexual Trauma

  • Strained and/or Dysfunctional Family Relationships 

  • Sudden and Traumatic Death/Complicated grief 

  • Trauma/PTSD

  • Vicarious Trauma

  • Workplace Stress and Trauma