Are You Living In Fear Of Your Memories?
Are you currently living with trauma? Do certain triggers remind you of a painful event, leaving you overwhelmed with emotions as you relive the fear and distress?
If you’ve served in combat, or you’re a first responder EMT, law enforcement officer or firefighter, you may have been witness to extreme danger or a violent act, which shattered your sense of safety in the world. It’s also possible that you’ve been in a life-threatening situation or sustained injuries, and you’re not sure how you can get through the day now, let alone your job.
Or, perhaps you’ve directly experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, physical assault or a hate crime, and you’re plagued by intrusive, debilitating memories. Any number of things in your daily life can remind you of your trauma—someone’s perfume or a certain song, for example, can take you back to that powerfully negative time and place. With so many potential triggers, your fear can be crippling, leaving you disengaged from life and feeling isolated in your fear and pain.
Many people who have experienced trauma hope that avoiding triggers is enough to ward off a flashback, but trauma can affect your everyday life in other ways, too. For example, it’s possible that you’re struggling to focus or complete tasks, finding even the most rudimentary assignments daunting. Maybe your reactions have become quick to escalate, and if so, emotional swings may be creating friction in your relationships. Perhaps you’ve turned to alcohol or mind-altering substances in a search for some small sense of peace.
Do you wish you could return to the person you were previously, before the event took place? Are you looking for a way to reconnect with others and reclaim your life, genuinely and without fear?
Most People Have Experienced Trauma
If you’ve experienced trauma or are currently living with domestic abuse, you are not alone. Trauma does not discriminate—anyone of any economic status, race, color or background can be affected.
In fact, according to the Sidran Institute, 70 percent of people have experienced a traumatic event in their lives. Out of that number, up to 20 percent are also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which means flashbacks and fears are making it nearly impossible to navigate the world with ease.
It can sometimes be difficult to recognize the signs of trauma, especially if you are unsure if what you experienced was really “that bad.” And, trauma and PTSD also don’t operate on a set timeline. You may be experiencing continual, intense and disturbing thoughts or feelings about a traumatic event that has long passed. This does not mean you are weak or that you simply need to “get over it.” Especially if you suffered from prolonged exposure to danger, neglect or abuse, it’s incredibly difficult to reclaim a sense of safety without trauma and PTSD counseling.
No matter what you’ve survived or when, your feelings are valid, and shame and guilt are often themselves trauma symptoms. It’s also normal to feel a lack of self-esteem, struggle with trust and find relationships challenging. You may experience symptoms of anxiety or depression, including racing thoughts or sense of hopelessness. Physical ailments, such as headaches, chronic pain, fatigue, muscle cramps or lower back pain, are also common.
Fortunately, trauma focused therapy can help you experience a deeper connection with yourself and those around you. You can claim a richer, lighter and more purposeful life.
Trauma Therapy Can Lead to Personal Freedom
No matter how helpless, broken or lonely you may feel, it is possible to feel relief and happiness again. In our sessions, I will help you process and make sense of the trauma, from how it is affecting you now to how you can cope with triggers in the future. We will restructure your beliefs around the trauma so you can understand, mentally and emotional, that it is in the past. And, the past does not have to define your life.
In trauma counseling, I offer a safe, compassionate, empathetic and non-judgmental space to allow you to open up at your own pace. Using a tailored therapy approached, I will utilize two specific evidenced-based, short-term treatments that have proven effective in managing post-trauma responses.
First, using trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy, I will teach you effective ways to respond and cope with daily triggers that would normally flood you with painful memories. You can gain a new ability to recognize distress as it builds in your mind and body, which allows you to slow your reactions. As you change the way you perceive the world and yourself, you can gain new power over your behaviors.
I will also work with you using a highly effective treatment known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Through EMDR, I will help you heal from the symptoms and emotional distress the trauma has caused. EMDR works from the inside out, helping you re-store traumatic memories so you can place them firmly in the past. So, even if you are reminded of what happened, that memory won’t hold so much power over you.
You may feel as though your freedom has been taken from you, or that your life is defined by this traumatic experience. By following an effective treatment plan, you will regain power over the experience and understand that you are more resilient than you know. You can take ownership over your story so you may once again live with joy and purpose.
You may have questions about trauma and post traumatic stress disorder treatment…
I Feel Too Shamed And Embarrassed To Discuss My Trauma
Unfortunately, we live in a culture where it’s uncomfortable to discuss difficult feelings, especially when we perceived them as signs of “weakness.” As a result, many trauma victims feel they should be able to handle their struggles on their own, leading to isolation, shame and withdrawal from life.
In truth, there’s no incorrect way to respond to trauma. And, when you come to trauma therapy, we don’t need to discuss the details of what happened. Instead, we can focus on what you are feeling now and the relief you’d like to experience in the future. I am here to guide you through those emotions and to recreate a safe space outside of our sessions so you can feel comfortable living again.
Going To Therapy Will Make What Happened Real
In truth, what you went through is real. And that’s ok. I want to validate the experience because it’s important to acknowledge that something happened. A large part of therapy is simply recognizing and accepting that this event took place, and that you are struggling to cope with it. It’s my job to support you and equip you with the tools to process and manage your pain. Then, you can understand the experience as just one small part of your life—not the center of it.
Trauma Therapy Seems Scary And Painful
Because you’re here, I know you’re looking for change and relief. While taking the first step toward therapy can be frightening, the only way out is through. By giving yourself permission to touch that fear and pain in a safe, supportive space, you will develop a sense of control and ownership over your narrative. The memories will not go away, but they will no longer be sources of deep pain and chaos.
The scariest part for a lot of people is just acknowledging that the trauma happened, especially if they have kept it hidden for some time. Once you’re ready to discuss it, however, the relief of not carrying that heavy burden alone sets in and the true healing begins. You may feel as though you are taking a risk being vulnerable, but I can assure you that the payoff is worth it.
Take The First Step In Trauma Healing
Admitting you’ve experienced trauma is the first step, and it’s often times the most difficult part of the therapy process. I encourage you to call me at (814)329.5304 for a free 20-min consultation. I welcome any questions you may have my techniques in helping clients overcome the fears and anxieties associated with trauma.