Are You Struggling To Manage The After-Effects Of Trauma?
Have you gone through an event or series of events in which you felt powerless, deeply frightened or trapped? Following the trauma, do you often feel anxious, on edge and irritable? Is it hard for you to concentrate, especially if you can’t stop thinking about what happened and/or fear that something equally scary will happen again? Perhaps you have experienced changes in eating or sleeping patterns, or maybe you’re afraid to sleep due to reoccurring nightmares that bring you back to the horror that you experienced. It might be that you often feel numb, just going through the motions. Maybe you feel as though you did something to cause what happened and fear that you’re unequivocally broken in some way. Or it might be that you can’t understand why you feel so disconnected one moment and hyper-vigilant the next, or angry that others—even strangers—seem oblivious to the pain in the world. Do you wish that there were a way for you to get back to life and feel whole and healthy again—or maybe for the first time?
The after-effects of trauma, whether experienced as a single incident or over an extended period of neglect or abuse, can be a confusing and deeply isolating experience. Relationships may be hard for you, especially if you struggle to trust anyone, including yourself. You might also be consumed with shame, blaming yourself for what happened, and trying to hide your experience from the world. You might be beginning to wonder if something is seriously wrong with you and/or why everything—work, relationships and even daily tasks—seems much harder for you than for the people around you. Although you might deeply want to experience peace and believe that everything is and will be okay, you may be beginning to wonder if relief and stability are possible for you.
Trauma Is Prevalent In Our Culture
If you feel fearful, uncertain and isolated following a trauma, you are far from alone. Between single incident trauma, such as an accident or assault, and developmental trauma, which is borne through longstanding abuse and/or neglect, not many of us are left untouched. Add to that the fraught political climate, mass shootings, natural disasters, the threat and reality of terrorist attacks and more, and it’s no wonder that so many of us feel overwhelmed. Essentially, we live in a traumatized and increasingly polarized culture in which we’re exposed to a 24-hour news stream of violence, hate and disconnection. Most of us are walking around with unresolved trauma, which often leads to depression, anxiety, addictions, interpersonal relationship issues and more.
Unresolved trauma can seep into every crevice of our lives, often coming up in surprising and unsettling ways. Anniversaries of a traumatic event or a certain smell, sound or other sensations can trigger us. And, it’s not uncommon for children who suffered developmental trauma to not remember the specifics of their trauma until adulthood. Unresolved trauma can also turn into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in which the trauma gets buried in the mind, overtaking us mentally, emotionally and physically, and propelling us right back into the trauma arousal. The trauma essentially shakes our belief that the world can be a safe place.
The good news is that there is help and hope to resolve trauma, regulate the nervous system and feel safe again. An experienced and compassionate trauma therapist can help you heal, relax, understand that trauma is just one part of your story and feel whole again.
Trauma Therapy Can Help You Gain Skills, Build Resiliency And Heal
Trauma counseling sessions are a safe place for you to process what happened and develop an understanding about your experience with trauma. It’s often said that we heal in relationship with another, and that is certainly true for trauma. Although a very bad thing happened, it was not your fault and you do not need to try to make sense of your experience alone. Throughout our time together, I will help to normalize and validate your experience and develop a therapy strategy that best addresses and supports your needs and therapy goals.
There are various effective approaches to treating trauma that we can draw from. Whether we utilize CBT to challenge negative thoughts or integrate EMDR Therapy, Mindfulness Techniques, Brené Brown’s Daring Way™and Rising Strong™, Positive Psychology, body-based approaches or a combination of the above, we’ll work together to figure out what works specifically for you. If needed, we can work on developmental and attachment issues so you can develop healthy relationships with other people. And, in developing a safe, trusting and collaborative therapeutic relationship, you can begin to trust others and yourself again.
Throughout it all, I will be present and accountable as I provide genuine care for you. I can help you challenge negative thoughts and take control of them, which can help you regulate emotions and make mindful choices about your actions. We can also discuss ways that you can build a support system outside of therapy so you can go from simply surviving post-trauma to thriving in your life.
I have been treating trauma for almost 30 years, and I know both personally and professionally how devastating the after-effects of trauma can be. None of us get out of this life without trauma; however, it is possible to cultivate resiliency and strength. You can begin to see trauma not as something that defines you, but rather as one thread in the tapestry that makes you who you are. You can reclaim agency over your life, trust others and yourself, develop intimate relationships and feel safe and whole.
You still may have questions or concerns about trauma treatment…
I’m afraid that talking about the traumatic event will bring it all back and I’ll feel even worse.
It’s totally normal to feel scared. And, sometimes throughout the early stages of healing, things will feel worse before they get better. But, you can heal. Although daunting, sharing your experience with someone who understands trauma slowly takes the power of trauma away. It’s important that you take a leap of faith and find a trauma therapist with whom you feel connected, heard and safe.
I thought I was over what happened, but I suddenly feel like I’m right back in it. Is there something really wrong with me?
It’s not uncommon to make progress and then feel triggered again. Feeling triggered can come out of the blue. It’s okay, and there is nothing wrong with you. What’s important now is that you work with someone who can help you understand your triggers so they become less impactful. You can begin to identify and believe in your strength and develop the skills and insight needed to take care of yourself when triggers come up.
I’ve seen many trauma therapists and nothing has ever really helped. I’m starting to give up hope that I’ll ever feel okay.
You can feel okay again, and it’s important that you don’t give up. When healing from trauma, it’s important to find a trauma specialist who is the right fit for you. When working with someone who understands trauma from the inside-out, both personally and professionally, and you share your experience openly and without fear of judgment, the real, sustainable healing process can begin. It can be so powerful to have someone sit in the darkness with you and bear witness to your pain. That, in and of itself, can be extraordinarily healing.
You Can Feel Healthy And Whole
If you’re struggling with the after-effects of trauma in Boulder, CO or the surrounding area, feel really ready to do the work and are looking for an active, collaborative, compassionate therapist, I can help. I invite you to call me to schedule a free 30-minute, in-person sessions to see if we’d be a good fit and decide how we can best work together. I’m happy to discuss your trauma symptoms and answer any questions you have about trauma therapy, PTSD treatment and my practice.