Are Unsettling Incidents From Your Past Affecting You In The Present?
Are you experiencing recurring memories, nightmares or disturbing thoughts that seem connected to something in your past? Perhaps this event occurred years ago, and you can’t quite remember what happened, but know that something is not right. You may dread encountering something that could trigger your distress, so you withdraw socially and avoid particular places, people and events. Maybe PTSD symptoms, such as shaking, sweating, trouble eating or sleeping or exhaustion are worsening, causing your relationships and/or productivity to suffer, increasing isolating feelings of guilt and shame. As confusing emotions become more intense, you may not feel equipped to understand or handle what’s happening to you. Do you wish you could work through and release trauma and move forward into a more balanced, satisfying life?
Living with unresolved trauma, high levels of stress or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be an all-consuming, confusing, lonely and even frightening experience. You might wake up from a poor night’s sleep already feeling irritable and exhausted, dreading all the tasks you must complete throughout the day. The nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, dissociation, insomnia, shaking, sweating and high stress levels that often accompany trauma can impact all aspects of your life, making maintaining good work performance and relationships difficult. You may find yourself seeking out distractions, such as television, internet use, excessive exercise and/or drugs or alcohol, to find some semblance of relief. Regardless of the specifics, you may feel stuck and unable to cope with overwhelming distress.
You Are Not Alone
If you are dealing with ongoing stress symptoms from trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), you are not alone. According to PTSD United, 70 percent of the U.S. population has experienced some type of traumatic event.
I like to think of trauma in terms of “big” and “little Ts.” A “big T” trauma may be something like experiencing or witnessing a frightening event, including sexual assault, physical assault, combat, disaster, accidents, childhood abuse, near death or injury. Whereas “little t” traumas, such as everyday stress related to your job or relationships, can also build up over time and cause your system to shut down. In other words, any situation that causes extreme fear or ongoing stress can elicit symptoms of PTSD.
Over the last few decades, Neuroscientists have discovered how trauma and fear affect the brain, especially the impact of frightening experiences on child neurodevelopment. As the brain recognizes patterns in repetitive experiences, it forms matching neuropathways. Nurturing environments tend to result in healthy growth, while traumatic experiences result in unhealthy neurodevelopment. Trauma can create a self-perpetuating cycle that leaves you in a heightened state of “fight,” “flight” or “freeze” response. Research also indicates that PTSD has a negative effect on emotional processing and memory. So, even if you can’t quite remember what happened, you may still be affected by the stress associated with trauma.
The good news is that the brain is malleable. With the right support and guidance, it’s possible to process trauma and practice new behaviors that build healthy neuropathways, allowing you to find lasting relief and healing.
Trauma Counseling Can Help You Move Forward And Feel Whole
Counseling for PTSD can be incredibly effective in lessening physical stress symptoms, processing emotional pain and helping you move forward into the life you want. There are so many effective approaches and resources available for treating trauma and PTSD. Drawing from mind/body approaches, such as Thought Field Therapy (TFT), Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Eden Energy Medicine, Touch for Health, Pranic Healing, Hypnotherapy, CBT, Mindfulness, EMDR and more, it’s possible to increase resiliency, practice self-care and begin to feel more grounded, present and secure.
Trauma treatment works in three stages. First, we work to lessen or even alleviate stress symptoms. Although everyone’s reaction to trauma is different, it is very common to have unwanted sensations of anxiety and depression. During safe and supported therapy sessions, I provide you with relaxation techniques that help deescalate uncomfortable symptoms as they come on. With guided support, you can better understand your experience and reframe and manage unwanted thoughts, sensations and behaviors.
The second stage is processing the trauma, so when you recall what happened, you remain calm and in control, just like when you recall other memories. At a pace that feels manageable for you, we’ll explore your beliefs about yourself, others and world around you, and how these beliefs fuel your distress. From there, we can draw on a variety of effective healing techniques, and step by step, begin identifying and pursuing your goals.
This brings us to stage three: taking the insights and skills gained in therapy and applying them out in the world. In order for your brain to form new neuropathways, you must replace old habits with healthier options and practice these over and over. For example, I am a big supporter of the FtiBit, which can help you track your exercise and sleep, both of which are key parts of your overall wellbeing. Throughout our work together, tools like these can help you track progress, meet benchmarks and continue forward.
I’ve been working with trauma survivors for 25 years and have training in a variety of therapeutic disciplines, including hypnotherapy and EMDR. I’m also a pioneer in the field of energy psychology and medicine, having co-developed my own modality called Rapid Relief Process. With my guidance and support and your willingness to engage in the trauma therapy process, it’s possible to heal from trauma and live an empowered life.
You may still have questions or concerns about living with PTSD…
If I have complex PTSD, does that mean I’ll be in therapy forever?
No. In fact, you should begin to experience symptom reduction within the first few sessions. Although the time you spend in therapy wholly depends on your goals and willingness to engage in the process, most people find they have most of their lives back within two to three months.
I’m afraid trauma psychology will change my entire life—that you’ll advise me to quit my job, leave my marriage or something like that…
It’s common for people to believe that the decision to try therapy comes with major life changes. The truth is that getting to the root of any issue, and reducing and eliminating your reactions to that issue, allows you to make small changes. Together, we can consider your options and map out decisions that will allow you to make positive life transitions in a manner that is controlled, calm and empowering.
I’ve heard that treatment for PTSD can be expensive.
Although there is a cost involved with this work, PTSD counseling is an investment that benefits you immediately and in the long run. When you’re able to restore your mind and body back to a natural calm and balanced state, you may find that you visit the doctor less often, are able to maintain a stable work-life balance and have more time for yourself. If you’ve considered getting help for a while, now is the right time, as symptoms of PTSD don’t disappear on their own. Reaching out for help shows tremendous strength and wisdom, as it is the first step to prioritizing your own happiness.
You Can Feel Relaxed and Fulfilled
If you have additional questions about PTSD or depression treatment, I invite you to contact me or call (425) 681-1170 for a free 15-minute consultation. My offices are located in Bellevue and Issaquah, WA.I also offer trauma counseling via a secure internet connection, in addition to in-person sessions.I’m happy to speak with you about how trauma counseling can help you heal.