Throughout our lives, people can experience traumatic events that bring about feelings of fear, hurt, shame and sadness. Whether it is a teacher shaming you in front of your class, a car accident, or someone abusing or neglecting you, trauma can impact your perceptions of yourself, trust in others, and ability to determine when you feel safe and secure in the world. If the person abusing you is someone you trust, this traumatic event can be even more damaging. One of the powerful ways your brain attempts to protect you from further trauma is to project these past hurtful events onto any other possible triggers in your world that might also be of danger to you. This can result in generalized anxiety, avoidance of certain situations or people, fear of intimacy, flashbacks, and repetitive emotional turmoil whenever a possible traumatic trigger is encountered. Trauma recovery includes examining those initial events, the resulting feelings, and the negative beliefs about yourself and the world that have become attached to those events. Treatment includes enhancing your ability to self-soothe and minimizes the emotional intensity that results from encountering a trigger in your environment. Counseling can also include use of experiential therapy, an approach that attempts to create experience specifically designed to heal the wounds and develop healthier beliefs surrounding the trauma. This might include role play, psychodrama or other emotional release methods. Another approach is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (E.M.D.R.), used to reduce the intensity of negative beliefs and work through feelings that became attached to the traumatic memory. This approach replaces old beliefs with positive/affirming beliefs. Additional approaches might include Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (D.B.T.) to develop and strengthen your tools to manage triggers you may encounter and Eco-therapy to enhance your sense of connection and inclusion in the world.
Grief & Loss
A natural part of life includes experiences that produce a sense of grief and loss. It could be the death of a loved one, the end of a significant relationship, the loss of work that was meaningful to you, disability or illness, or dealing with regrets from missed opportunities in your life. Grief can also be abstract, like feeling the loss of never having a playful childhood. Because of this, more current losses can be very overwhelming. Counseling can help sort out unresolved past grief along with current losses. Grief counseling can be done individually, as a couple, or family. Grief counseling includes identifying what stage of grief you are experiencing and working through the thoughts and feelings related to that stage of grief. Counseling offers a safe environment in which to feel your feelings and work through the difficulties you are experiencing.