Are The After-Effects Of Trauma Affecting Your Ability To Live A Joyful, Connected And Productive Life?
Are you struggling to work through looping thoughts, painful emotions and uncomfortable physical sensations following a trauma? Do you find it difficult to relax, stay focused on the present moment and trust others or even yourself? Perhaps you are constantly replaying the traumatic event, feel hyper-vigilant and worry that you’ll experience a similar trauma again. Or, maybe you feel like you’re out of your body, just going through the motions of daily life without any real connections or feelings. Are you feeling shame or guilt about what happened – somehow believing that it was your fault or that you could or should have done something to stop it? Do you wish you could be free of painful thoughts and feelings and experience a sense of safety around others and within yourself?
Dealing with the after-effects of a trauma can be a lonely, confusing and even frightening experience. You may constantly feel on guard and have a hard time sleeping, focusing on work and connecting with others. You may have begun to withdraw from people and situations that remind you of the event, afraid that they might trigger painful memories and feelings. You may also vacillate between feeling highly charged and on edge to feeling nothing at all. Perhaps in order to feel something different or to feel anything at all, you’re using alcohol, drugs, sex, food or other potentially harmful vices to cope.
Trauma Is Extremely Common In Our Culture
Almost everyone has experienced some form of trauma. And with trauma, it’s important to understand that it’s not so much what happened, but, rather, how your mind and body responded to the event(s) that creates the trauma. This is why two people can experience the same event and have very different views, feelings and reactions to it.
Traumas can be caused through a single incident, such as a car accident, sexual assault or invasive medical procedure. Traumas can also be developmental, created over years of neglect and/or abuse. Trauma symptoms present on a wide spectrum, and can include eating and sleep issues, hyper-vigilance, disassociation, anxiety, depression, difficulties with concentration and isolation to name a few. Following a trauma, about 7 percent of the U.S. population will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People suffering from PTSD often experience nightmares, flashback, intrusive thoughts and struggle to develop and maintain meaningful relationships.
While traumas are common and occur everyday, there are many traumas and related symptoms that will not go away on their own. If you are feeling really alone, struggling to regulate your emotions and function normally and/or feel ready to finally process your trauma and regain your life, an experienced trauma therapist can help.
Trauma Therapy Can Help You Work Through Your Trauma And Regain Control Of Your Life
A mind-body focused approach to trauma therapy can be extremely effective and provide you with insight, healing and relief. Because trauma is stored in the body, it must be discharged, which traditional talk therapy alone cannot do. In order be become “unstuck” from trauma and heal, your nervous system needs to be recalibrated. The good news is that there are many effective mind-body approaches to treating trauma. An experienced trauma therapist can offer you the support, guidance and trauma therapy approach you need to work through your trauma and regain control of your life.
One of the highly trained and experienced trauma therapists at Dr. Dori Gatter and Associates can provide you with a warm, safe and nonjudgmental space to begin listening to your body and learning how to understand what your symptoms are trying to tell you. Through approaching trauma holistically and developing a mindfulness practice, you can increase your body awareness and access the inherent wisdom within. You can learn ways to identify when you’re off center and develop the tools, insights and skills needed to bring you back into balance.
In sessions, your therapist can help you slow down and become present in the moment. As you begin to better understand yourself and your experience, you can develop more compassion for yourself and understand that what you’re experiencing is okay. Through guided visual imagery, experiential exercises and other proven trauma therapy techniques, you can begin to process your trauma in real time. Your therapist can also help you identify triggers, develop healthy coping skills and provide you with strategies you can use to calm yourself in the moments that anxiety, depression or panic set in.
Every individual and trauma is different, which is why your therapist will custom-create a trauma therapy strategy that best addresses and supports your specific needs, history, personality and therapy goals. With the right strategy in place, you can increase self-awareness, process feelings as they arise, increase resiliency, build supports and feel more grounded and balanced.
It is possible to let go of your trauma. It doesn’t have to define who you are or guide your life. With support and effective tools in place, you can heal the unfinished places inside yourself. You can begin connecting with others, feel an increased sense of safety and start living a joyful and productive life.
Although you understand your need for help during this challenging time, you still may have questions or concerns about trauma therapy…
I tried trauma therapy in the past, and it didn’t work. How would/could it be different this time?
There are a multitude of reasons why past therapy was ineffective. It may be that you didn’t connect well with the therapist, and building a trusting therapeutic relationship is key when working through trauma. It may also be that your past therapist wasn’t specifically trained to treat trauma or didn’t use a mind-body trauma therapy approach. Or, it could have been that the timing was not right for you. Regardless of the reason past therapy failed, it’s important that you don’t give up. With the right therapist and approach, there is hope. It is possible for you to work through your trauma and move forward into a happier, healthier way of being.
I’m afraid that talking about my trauma will make it more real and I’ll feel even worse.
This is a common concern and, in all honesty, there will likely be times in therapy when you feel emotionally charged. That said, you will not be alone in the process, and your therapist will meet you where you are emotionally. In a guided space, you will be provided with the safety and support you need to process your trauma. Furthermore, you will not be asked to go into your trauma until you have built up resiliency and established control in other parts of your life. You and your therapist will work at a pace that feels comfortable for you. You decide when and how much you are ready to share.
I’ve heard that trauma therapy can be a long process.
We all experience and process traumas differently. Insomuch, the trauma therapy process and length of treatment will be contingent on your history, needs and goals. We’ll go at a pace that feels comfortable for you and ensure that you get as much – or as little – as you need to achieve your therapy goals and feel more comfortable and confident in the world. A big piece of trauma therapy is personal empowerment. You are in control of the process and decide what’s right for you.
We invite you to call our office for a free 15-minute phone consultation. We’re happy to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about trauma therapy and our practice.