When we think of trauma, we picture someone who experienced or witnessed a life-threatening event, and of course, such an event is certainly traumatic. If you have been in an accident, were assaulted or lived through a natural disaster, such as a tornado or earthquake, you may struggle with flashbacks or other distressing trauma symptoms that impact your ability to enjoy life today. Or, if you were neglected, abused or grew up in a home in which your emotional needs were not met, those experiences may have left lasting scars, casting a shadow over your current relationships and sense of self.
Other people struggle with situations that did not threaten their physical safety, but still have an overwhelming negative effect. The sudden loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, betrayal and public humiliation are all examples of events that may be traumatic to you.
Some people are hesitant to label what they have experienced as trauma if it did not involve a life-threatening or violent event. Others may have been diagnosed with PTSD, but feel unsure what that means for the future. Either way, if you are struggling with memories or flashbacks, high anxiety, avoidance of certain situations or places that remind you of your experience, irritability, anger and/or insomnia, therapy may be a starting place to work through those events.
If You Are Struggling With the Past in the Present, Trauma Therapy Can Help
Working with a professional who has experience and training to treat trauma has been shown to help lessen the intensity of symptoms. With help, you can feel better able to regulate painful emotions, connect with yourself and others and embrace opportunities to enjoy your life again. You can find relief from the intense, frequent memories, fears and sensations that have made life feel unmanageable.
In the first trauma counseling session, we will discuss a brief history of your symptoms and how they are impacting your life. Together, we will create a safe space to do the work of healing. In fact, you don’t necessarily have to go into details of the traumatic event, as sometimes that may feel too unsettling. The first few sessions may be spent learning some new self-soothing exercises, so you can regulate emotions and feel better. As you are ready, we can decide together how best to work through, or reprocess, the trauma.
To offer clients the best help, I utilize Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, a scientifically validated treatment accepted by many organizations, including the Department of Defense. In fact, “the Department of Defense/Department of Veterans Affairs Practice Guidelines have placed EMDR in the highest category, recommended for all trauma populations at all times.”
Having trained in Parts I and II of EMDR, I also participated in Brainspotting training to offer additional modalities to help clients who have experienced adverse events. When adverse events happen and a person is profoundly upset, all the sights, thoughts and feelings may be stored in the brain, where they get “stuck.” This makes it feels as though the traumatic event is still happening in real time, or that a threat is present, even when it is not. EMDR therapy and Brainspotting seem to act by releasing the negative memories and allowing the brain to reprocess them.
The good news is, science is discovering more and more about neuroplasticity—the ability for our brain to reorganize itself, creating new pathways and changing and healing for the better. It is possible for you to bring new peace to your body and mind.
You may have concerns about trauma treatment…
I don’t want to talk about what happened.
Some people have avoided asking for help because they do not want to talk about the difficult things that have happened to them. That makes sense. But rest assured, during therapy, you do not have to share all the details of your experiences in order to feel better.
In addition, it is important to trust your therapist. It may be that we work together a few sessions before you are comfortable talking about what happened, and that is OK. With both EMDR and Brainspotting, you do not have to share anything you are uncomfortable sharing. Working at your pace, I will create a safe, supportive space centered on your healing.
Maybe it will get better with time.
If you are struggling with anxiety, flashbacks, insomnia, nightmares or anger after a traumatic experience, and these symptoms have lasted over a month, you may need treatment to assist in healing. Without trauma treatment, many people continue to experience symptoms that disrupt their ability to get adequate rest and function at their best. In some cases, their symptoms may worsen over time without treatment. However, with treatment, many people find relief from their symptoms, allowing them to move past the memories and embrace life again.
What If trauma therapy just makes me feel worse?
It takes courage to face the past that has been intruding on your present happiness. It is a process that sometimes brings up powerful emotions that you may have been avoiding for a long time. However, positive change is possible.
Working with a trusted, trained and experienced therapist may be the best investment you can make for your future. I have eight years’ experience in private practice and training in proven modalities to assist as you work to free yourself from the past. No matter what you’ve been through, you don’t have to do this alone.
Healing Is Possible
If you are ready to begin the journey to let the past stay in the past, reach out for an initial conversation about whether I’m the best therapist for you. You may reach me directly at 615-828-6973, or you may schedule here online. I offer trauma therapy in Hendersonville, TN.