When horrible or overwhelming things happen to us, whether incidentally or over a long period of time, they can leave profound, living scars that interfere with our ability to be fully alive in the present.
During traumatic events, our nervous system responds in ways that protects us from fully experiencing what's happening. This is a useful coping mechanism for surviving unbearable stress, but it can also lead to unconscious, long-lasting shifts in how we experience and engage with the world and ourselves. Traumatic conditioning plays out in myriad ways in the present.
You may find yourself overly agitated or inexplicably depressed; you may react strangely to certain sights, sounds or smells; you may suffer from nightmares or sleep trouble; you may have unpleasant flashbacks or intrusive thoughts; you may find yourself getting highly emotionally reactive or "shutting down" in relationships. You may feel numb, or you might be anxious most of the time. These are just some of the symptoms that can emerge after a traumatic event.
How I help: I treat trauma through two highly effective, biology-based methods:
(1) Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a simple, effective, rapid, evidenced-based therapy that can help you work through highly distressing memories and triggers for a more adaptive and fulfilling life. Often our disturbing inner experiences in the present are connected either to a specific, highly-charged upsetting event, or to a chain of memories that trace back to our early life. EMDR uses bilateral stimulation and guided conscious processing to help activate your brain's innate healing capacity and repair psychological wounds. To read more about EMDR and whether it would be right for you, click here.
(2) Parts Work helps you notice, investigate and communicate with different aspects of yourself that may have been injured during the trauma. While we all have an adult "self" that functions in day-to-day life, trauma survivors also have many other hidden "selves" or "parts" that can react to, influence or even hijack conscious experience. Does this sound familiar? Working with these "parts" often involves exploring your body as a place to gain wisdom and insight, experience safety and wholeness, develop resources, and fully process unresolved traumatic events. Parts work and somatic techniques can help you learn how to regulate your nervous system and release the trauma using your body's natural mechanisms.