“Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathic witness.” -Peter A. Levine
If you’ve ever experienced a traumatic event or a series of overwhelming circumstances, you probably realize how much impact they can have on your life.
Many people describe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as being consumed by illogical or excessive fears, hypersensitivity, periods of numbness, overwhelm, panic, depression, anxiety, and irritability.
Although trauma affects many people, we all respond to it in different ways. PTSD can alter many areas of your life and no one is immune to it. You may notice feeling weak and like a child, you might have uncontrollable emotional outbursts, embarrassment and shame.
Sometimes people don’t even realize they had a traumatic past until years later when it slowly creeps up on them.
If you feel like any of this resonates with you, there’s a possibility you’ve been exposed to a traumatic event or a series of incidents. Trauma is a response to life threatening or perceived life threatening situations. When you are exposed to a situation where you cannot stay present, your body automatically takes over and your nervous system sends you into a state of fight, flight or freeze.
In order to survive and protect ourselves from the next traumatic event, the brain develops a system of scanning for threats. This scanning can indicate real threats and also create imagined ones; like a sensitive instrument detecting subtle shifts and reacting before we have a chance to realize why. PTSD occurs as a result of this process.
I know these fears, because I have been through my own traumas and done the work of moving from a place of surviving to thriving. There is hope!
Image by: Bryce Widom
A Three Step Approach to Trauma Work
Resourcing - Developing skills to regulate your nervous system and empower you in advancing the healing process between sessions.
Processing - Support in metabolizing your story, grieving and making connections between life events and current symptoms. This may include EMDR and body-centered work.
Integration - Developing a new sense of self and world view based on the healing journey. This may include, harvesting the gifts of your story, connecting with universal archetypes, ceremony to mark a transition, and art making.
The field of psychotherapy and neuroscience has grown rapidly in the past decade with major advancements in the treatment of trauma. I utilize Somatic Therapy, which uses the body as a source of information to locate and work through traumatic material.
Research in neuroscience tells us the charge from traumatic events becomes stored in our bodies as pain and patterning in how we relate to discomfort. This information along with the meaning we have stored about such events creates a belief system to work with so that you can be freed from the cycles of overwhelm, self-criticism and physical pain.
EMDR | Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
I also use EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, which is a well-researched treatment for trauma developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. EMDR has been empirically supported as one of the leading treatments for PTSD, utilizing bilateral stimulation.
The theory behind bilateral stimulation involves an activation of both left and right hemispheres of the brain, creating a new neural network to support the integration between traumatic material stored in the right brain and the capacity for meaning making in the left brain.
As a trained EMDR level II clinician, I would be happy to share with you ways in which I have witnessed the benefits of EMDR within my practice.
In working together to resolve trauma you will learn to develop resourcing techniques to help calm your nervous system and regulate distorted thinking in-between sessions.
As you read this you might have a mix of excitement and doubt. Maybe you fear you have too much trauma or you can’t imaging this kind of healing happening in you. These thoughts make sense as a trauma survivor.
So you can have a sense of some of the changes people experience after working with me, here’s what others have reported:
“Today I use the tools that Katie gave me through our work together, I practice the skills that she helped me cultivate, and I constantly return to the insights she shared with me, so that I can continue to grow and heal.” ~client
“When I started seeing Katie I was in a really dark place and the work we did together helped me get back on my feet. I can't say I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for her support. She is without a doubt one of the best therapists I have ever worked with and for that I am grateful!” ~client
It is my passion and privilege to assist others on their healing journey. I understand how much courage it takes to commit to this work. I’m so glad you are here.
“Neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience and learning to befriend what is going inside ourselves.”