Once one begins to understand, one begins to forgive, and once one begins to forgive, there is no end; one begins to rewrite the story...
— Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
Trauma is more than the mind can bear. When we have experiences that overwhelm our perceived capacities to cope, we become traumatized. We all carry varying degrees of trauma in our lives. There is “Capital T” Trauma, such as witnessing or experiencing violence. Then there is “small t” trauma, that can include many other forms of pain and loss. The common denominator is that when trauma memories are triggered, our reactions may seem out of proportion to the present situation. One of the legacies of traumatic memories is that the "past invades the present."
The traditional “talking cure” has held that insight and catharsis bring resolution. However, trauma affects the non-verbal parts of the brain and body, allowing seemingly innocuous stimuli to trigger a variety of emotional and sensory responses. Cognitive approaches do not seem to help when these symptoms are present. In fact, talking about the trauma can actually be “re-traumatizing”. (See “The Limits of Talk” by Bessel van der Kolk.)
When people experience trauma, there are various ways they try to manage the symptoms and adapt to the challenges that result. Some cope by shutting down in an effort to protect themselves from disappointment or feeling overwhelmed. Others might maintain a kind of “hyper-vigilance” in an effort to ward off perceived or anticipated danger. Still others might resort to shame as an avenue to “keep the peace” and dilute feelings of anger. The treatment of trauma needs to make space for each individual’s survival strategies in the flood of trauma’s symptoms while simultaneously working toward a transformation to more effective functioning.
Trauma affects our capacity to be in satisfying relationships. I work to help individuals and couples develop mindful awareness and curiosity about their internal experiences and to develop resources to manage the somatic effects of traumatic experiences in the present moment.
I utilize different treatment interventions such as EMDR, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, EFT (Emotion Freedom Technique), and use the models of Structural Dissociation, Internal Family Systems as well as Psychodynamic Psychotherapy in order to meet the unique needs of each individual.