A traumatic experience does not have to be life-threatening for it to be traumatizing. Any situation that leaves you feeling helpless, afraid, out of control, and overwhelmed may lead to symptoms of trauma.
Trauma may involve a threat to your life or safety, but any incident that impacts your psychological or emotional well-being can be traumatic. This may include sexual assault, a near-death experience, an accident, a surgery, an injury, physical/emotional/verbal abuse, or witnessing abuse or domestic violence. Experiencing trauma may have long-term consequences. Early experiences of trauma, for example, can lead to reenacting past traumas and self-defeating patterns in current relationships. This may include entering into abusive relationships or having difficulty trusting others and feeling safe in relationships.
When you have experienced a traumatic event, you feel the urge to avoid the thoughts, feelings, sensations, and memories connected to the trauma. This strategy only works for a short period of time and then your fear grows. The more you avoid the experiences related to the trauma, the scarier and more powerful those experiences become. This may lead post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The most effective and empirically validated treatment for trauma is exposure—that is, the only way to minimize the power of the traumatic event and become desensitized to the experience is by slowly and gradually exposing yourself to the thoughts, feelings, memories, and sensations connected to it. When we conduct exposure in therapy, these steps are always taken in small increments and on your terms. We will work together with you to identify tiny steps that feel manageable for you. We will go at your pace, and we will ensure that you are ready and that you have the skills to manage the experience.
What are the signs?
- Difficulty concentrating
- Recurrent intrusive thoughts
- Emotional numbing
- Difficulty regulating emotions and impulses
We can help you:
- Speed up your recovery
- Process all the thoughts, feelings, memories, and images connected to your trauma
- Regulate your emotions and manage symptoms
- Rebuild your ability to trust others and have fulfilling relationships
- Participate in meaningful activities and increase socialization
- Establish safety and stability in your body and in your relationships
- Develop the skills to cope with distressing experiences and feelings
- Identify strategies for self-care
- Cultivate acceptance, forgiveness, and self-compassion
- Work through and move past guilt, blame, anger, and shame
Click here to take a PTSD questionnaire