Trauma & PTSD Therapy
Have you experienced a scary, distressing, or traumatic event that has had an impact on you? Perhaps you feel stuck or you keep re-living the experience all over again. Maybe you experience anxiety, fears, or stress and may not think it is related to anything in particular.
Trauma can be in-your-face obvious, and trauma can also be hidden.
What is trauma?
Rather than viewing trauma as something that happens to us, like an external event, we can think about trauma as something that happens within us.
Trauma is what happens when an event is too overwhelming for our brains to process.
The event itself does not dictate whether something is traumatic; it is what happens in our minds and bodies that matters.
Sometimes when the word ‘trauma’ is mentioned, people think of life-threatening catastrophes like war or sexual assault. These are not the only types of situations that can cause trauma in a person.
If we consider our brains as computers, trauma can be thought of as a break or interruption in the processing system (you know that circle that pops up when your computer is being overloaded and you can’t click on anything?).
If those ‘breaks’ or ‘interruptions’ are not processed in a healthy way, they can act as live wires in your day to day life.
What is a trigger?
A trigger is anything that results in an intense or overwhelming emotional response, behaviour, or unhelpful thought about yourself or the world around you. That live wire that was not neutralized causes us to feel or think something extreme.
We may not understand our reaction, but what is happening is that we are activating an unhealed wound.
Trauma manifests in different ways. People may feel symptoms in their bodies, experience a range of intense emotions and thoughts, which can affect not only the person suffering, but also their relationships with others.
How trauma can present itself
You might notice:
- Feeling heightened anxiety and being on edge
- Nightmares or restless sleep
- Difficulty trusting yourself or others
- Fearing being alone
- Finding it hard to focus and concentrate
- Experiencing physical symptoms such as pain or tension in certain areas of your body
- Fatigue and low energy
- Feeling emotions such as anger, confusion, numbness, fear, and helplessness
- Expecting danger, betrayal, or harm from others
Trauma can be hidden, invisible, and not so obvious to detect.
Triggers are not always direct, apparent, and do not necessarily happen in the exact same context that they originally happened. This is the reason why we can feel confused and helpless.
Some examples where trauma may be not so apparent are:
- Experiences when you have been embarrassed, shamed, or criticized
- Situations that have resulted in a loss or break in a relationship
- Stressful situations involving financial worries
- Experiences when you have felt rejected, alone, neglected, or betrayed
- Situations in which you have felt unimportant, less than, or unvalued
Seen from this perspective, it is easier to understand how we can all, to some extent, have hidden traumas.
Hope for healing
It is not enough to be aware of your symptoms and learn to manage them.
Healing takes place when you can change the way you feel, think, and behave from within. Triggers that had once activated emotional wounds that used to make you feel panic, dread, fear, or anger no longer hold the same power over you. It is not positive self-talk that feels inauthentic, forced, and fake. Instead, it is essential to ‘neutralize the live wire’ so that they are no longer triggers in our lives.
Therapeutic approaches that transform how we feel and allow us to heal from both apparent traumas and hidden traumas integrate the body and the mind in treatment.
Therapy for trauma
At Open Door Therapist, we understand trauma and take a holistic approach to healing so that treatment results in awareness and authentic transformation from the inside out.
Evidence-based approaches that we use at Open Door Therapist to help people heal from trauma are:
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Parts Work Therapy
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
- Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Mindfulness-based approaches
- Somatic based interventions
Healing from trauma
When apparent or hidden trauma no longer holds power over you, you can feel a reconnection to yourself, live with ease in the present, and look forward to the future.
Healing from trauma can look like:
- Feeling safe, comfortable, and relaxed in your body and mind
- Being able to trust yourself and others
- Building and strengthening relationships
- Improving your self-confidence
- Understanding and embracing your self-worth
- Feeling self-compassion
Although you cannot change the past, you can make choices in the present that allow you to accept support and move towards healing and restoration.