What is Trauma?
Trauma is the combination of 1) something awful happening to you combined with 2) an environment that wasn’t able to help you process this trauma at the time at which it occurred. Traumas can include things like: physical or sexual assault; bullying; emotional abuse; systemic racism; longstanding poverty; and (sadly) a multitude of other experiences. In my opinion, traumas are better defined by the impact they have on the person experiencing them rather than the nature of the incident that caused the trauma. When people are traumatized, they are often ‘stuck’. They typically conclude that they are to blame, and engage in behaviours that are designed to protect themselves but that also severely limit their life. (E.g., someone who is attacked randomly on the subway might avoid taking the subway; someone who grew up with an intensely critical parent might be extremely hard on themselves.) People who are traumatized typically spend a lot of time trying to prevent a similar trauma from happening again, which takes away from time spent creating a fulfilling and meaningful life.
If we work together, we will help you explore and have compassion for the methods you have created to protect yourself from trauma. (Including blaming yourself - a lot of people who survive trauma find comfort in blaming themselves because it suggests that they can just do things differently and avoid being traumatized in future.) We will also help you process the trauma, and in so doing find different ways to live in a world that contains traumatizing events and yet still create a meaningful life. We will also validate your fear and your experience of being in a world where a lot of traumatizing events occur.
People who are interested in therapy for trauma are likely interested in individual therapy.
You can also learn more about what to expect from therapy for trauma from exploring the types of therapy we offer:
Who Can Benefit From Therapy for Trauma?
Anyone who has suffered a trauma and feels somehow ‘stuck’ can benefit from therapy for trauma. Therapy for trauma is of most benefit to people who notice that they spend a great deal of their time trying to prevent future traumatic events from happening or are cut off from parts of themselves, have the time and space available to explore this experience, and are willing to tolerate temporarily increased distress in the service of feeling better in the long term as we process your trauma.
What are the Benefits of Therapy for Trauma?
Therapy for trauma will help you change how you relate to yourself, others and the environment so you can let go of the need to ‘live in the past’ (i.e., organize your life around the trauma) and work towards being in the present and building towards a future. After therapy for trauma, clients typically report increased awareness of their emotional experience (more positive and negative emotions), better self esteem, hope for the future, and being better able to handle the uncertainty and stressors inherent in everyday living.
Therapeutic Approach for Trauma Therapy
If we work together, I will develop a customized treatment plan for you based on your needs and preferences. I draw mostly from Emotion Focused Therapy, which involves working together to access your painful feelings so that we can explore and resolve them. (A common EFT saying is “you have to go to a place in order to leave it.”) In EFT, trauma is seen as something that disrupts your relationship with yourself (typically creating an inner critic who is harsh or fearful) and your relationships with others. I also draw heavily on Narrative Therapy, which privileges the client’s knowledge and expertise, and supports clients to rewrite the stories that larger entities and systems may have authored.
You can also learn more about what to expect from trauma therapy from exploring the types of therapy we offer:
Book A Free Trauma Therapy Consultation
Please use the contact form below to get in touch if you would like to book a free initial 20 minute conversation about trauma therapy or to ask any questions. I welcome questions and comments from folks at all stages of their journey, whether you’re researching options, curious about therapy, or ready to book an appointment.