Do You Worry That Your Sadness Or Stress Could Be Connected to Trauma?
Have you experienced a traumatic event that you can’t seem to move past? Maybe your brain continually re-lives the experience, and it keeps you on high alert all the time. You may feel anxious, overwhelmed, and unable to control your emotions. Or perhaps the experience has affected you in a subtler way—you feel sad, numb, listless, and unmotivated. You may find yourself unable to enjoy the things you normally would, but you don’t know why.
Trauma happens when your brain stores an unpleasant memory in a non-adaptive way. Whenever the memory recurs, the brain associates certain sensations, emotions, and images with it. These may include panic attacks, night terrors, or flashbacks—all symptoms of PTSD. Sometimes, however, trauma gets lodged in the brain without you even knowing it. You could be suffering from depression or anxiety without realizing it’s connected to trauma.
On your own, it’s hard to make sense of your experience as well as all the overwhelming emotions that come with trauma. If you wish there was someone to help you sort through the confusion, we would be honored to help.
Trauma Is Complicated And Affects Different People In Different Ways
Many mental health issues are related to trauma. Because the influence trauma exerts on the brain is mostly subconscious, however, some people may not perceive their experience as trauma. Think of it this way: if you wore red sunglasses all your life, you wouldn’t be able to tell that your perception of the world was inaccurate. In a similar way, many people don’t view the maladjusted behaviors and beliefs that result from trauma as symptoms of those events. These behaviors and beliefs are all they’ve ever known, so they perceive them as “normal.”
What’s more, many people aren’t aware of the full range of traumatic experiences. There are two major types of trauma: “Big-T” trauma and “little-t” trauma. Most people are familiar with examples of Big-T trauma, such as car accidents, hurricanes, sexual abuse or military combat, but little-t trauma is harder to recognize. Child neglect, grief and loss, and at times being raised by highly demanding parents are all experiences that can be responsible for little-t trauma. But these emotional wounds often fly under the radar because they don’t seem to carry the same weight as being attacked or hurt in an accident. So it’s important to understand that trauma affects people in a myriad number of ways and that the window of tolerance for each person varies immensely.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture where trauma survivors are often told to “just move on” or “get over it.” The trouble with this mentality is that trauma isn’t always something something one can just “get over.” There is a physiological component to it that the conscious mind can’t always control. In addition to the negative beliefs that trauma creates, it also causes sensations and emotions that come about instinctively and involuntarily.
In order to understand the full range of trauma’s effects, it’s vital to seek professional help. By learning about how trauma works on a deeper level, you can make long-lasting change to your thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Trauma Therapy Is A Time To Discuss Your Struggles In A Healthy, Non-Traumatizing Way
Let’s face it: trauma is hard to talk about with others. Here at Helping Moon Counseling, you will face no pressure to open up about experiences you don’t want to. We prioritize going at whatever pace is comfortable for you. Our goal is to help you create a space where you can discuss your struggles in a healthy, non-traumatizing way.
In the intake process, we will review your needs and then pair you with the therapist whom we feel is the best fit. From there, you and your counselor will meet to formulate a treatment plan. If you come to us for trauma counseling, you will be matched with a therapist who specializes in dealing with trauma. Our trauma counselors have all had rigorous training and are able to incorporate a wide range of approaches and modalities into their approach. We want only the best for you.
Our practice takes a very holistic approach to trauma therapy. We want you to experience healing in both your mind and body since trauma affects both. There are many layers to trauma, after all, and only by addressing all the layers can you experience true healing. We want to help you make connections between how your brain internalized an event and how your body responds to it. By understanding how your memories have been processed and how they affect you, you will be able to desensitize their impact on your life.
One of the central approaches we work with in trauma counseling is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. The goal of EMDR is to diminish the impact of unprocessed memories in the brain. Rather than simply talking about distressing events, EMDR uses a series of audio and visual stimulation techniques—such as hand-tapping or side-to-side eye movements—to help the brain process memories in an adaptive way. The brain has a natural ability to recover from trauma, and EMDR allows the brain to heal in its own way. The approach seeks to desensitize the impact traumatic memories have so that you don’t feel distressed when you recall them.
Many of our trauma therapists also utilize Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). This approach is more commonly used among younger people since our practice works with children as well as adults. TF-CBT is a more brain-based model than EMDR. Its aim is to challenge the negative thought patterns and self-beliefs that trauma has created. By using TF-CBT to change how the mind thinks, people of almost any age can experience positive change in their emotions, behaviors, and every other aspect of their lives.
If you feel like you’ll always be stuck with trauma and you’ll never be able to live differently, we encourage you to take heart. Healing from trauma is challenging, but it is possible. By addressing both your mind and body and focusing on how your memories are connected to your emotions, we are confident that we can bring healing into your life.
You may have some concerns about trauma and PTSD counseling…
I am strong enough to get over trauma myself.
There’s no doubt that it’s possible to overcome trauma alone—at least for a time. The issue is that you never know when new situations will re-trigger you and old emotions will return. Trauma can live in you subconsciously for years and come back into your life unexpectedly. That’s why seeking help is so important.
I don’t want to think about what happened to me.
Dwelling on your experience of trauma can exacerbate your symptoms, so it’s very common to try and ignore painful memories altogether. Unfortunately, the longer you avoid confronting your symptoms, the less control you will have over them if they come back. Thankfully, EMDR allows you to form new associations with old memories in a way that does not require thinking or talking about them. That said, all of our approaches to trauma therapy are designed to make sure that you are safe and in no way re-traumatized in the process of healing.
My traumatic experience is not as bad as other people’s.
Trauma is not so much about what happened to you as it is about how you experienced what happened to you. Two people can be involved in the same car accident, for instance, and still be affected by it in different ways. Here at Helping Moon, we take all instances of trauma seriously. Besides, even if you feel your traumatic experience was “not that bad,” wouldn’t it be better to find healing rather than ignore it altogether?
Our Goal Is To Help You Experience Healing In Both Your Mind And Body
If you want to move on from trauma and sort through all the confusing emotions that have come with it, we encourage you to contact us. By working together, we can help you desensitize the impact that painful memories have had on your life. To get started, you can call us at 561-571-1557 for a free, 10- to 15-minute phone consultation or send us an email.
Right now, due to COVID-19, all our trauma treatment sessions are online or via phone.