Couples & Individual Therapy Online in California In Person Therapy in Tiburon
Treating acute and chronic trauma - whether experienced developmentally, in response to a single devastating incident, or to ongoing abuse - begins by establishing internal resources for safety originating from your mind, body and spirit and building trust with a skillful, empathic trauma therapist.
Avoidance, hypervigilance, startle response, emotional disregulation, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, recurring nightmares, intrusive thoughts, isolation, depression and anxiety are all common symptoms of trauma that can lead a survivor to feel trapped and powerless, caged by an inability to fully engage in the present. Trauma responses occur after an individual has experienced or witnessed a life threatening event that is beyond their control. The definition of trauma is therefore highly unique, depending not on only the events but on the individual's unique perception and experience of an event. The ability to safely express your emotional response to a traumatic event and make sense of it intellectually is critical to fully processing the incident in a way that allows for you to come to acceptance about what happened and find resolution. When feelings become stifled, they harden into fears and show up in unpredictable and unhealthy ways such as eating disorders, phobias, and compulsions.
Unresolved traumatic material is frequently triggered by seemingly innocuous cues, latent reminders of an event encoded by our memory in sensory information (colors, sounds, smells) or echoes of the event in words or body language. The body has an innate ability to remember experiences both positive and negative. This ability is preverbal and can contain information that has not been encoded by memory due to automatic psychological survival strategies such as dissociation and disembodiment where the conscious mind essentially departs from the body. This occurs on a spectrum of experience from spacing out to blacking out and passing out.
Violence originating from those we love and trust is the most difficult to heal from and the most confusing to make sense of. Intimate partner violence, sexual abuse and child abuse can shatter a person's sense of reality and their ability to trust in others. It is not uncommon for individuals who have been harmed by those closest to them to overcompensate by taking the blame for another’s actions and direct their mistrust and rage towards themselves. Learning to find forgiveness and self-compassion for the shame you feel is the first and most painful part of the healing process.
Often what creates change in psychotherapy is a reparative relationship founded on loving kindness where you can feel safe to explore those areas that you have repressed for fear of being judged or misunderstood. The dynamics that play out in the context of the therapeutic relationship are important guide posts to directing the treatment. Situations, responses, and emotions that come up in treatment often echo the dynamics in your outer world. We will examine them closely, unflinchingly confronting whatever anger, pain, longings or preconceptions come up in order to facilitate a greater understanding into your stance in life, the sometimes unarticulated worldview that each person brings to their interactions and create the opportunity for healing.
The process of diving deep into the psyche can be by nature disruptive and uncomfortable. My intention is to hold a space that is empathic, honest and aligned with your intentions. Schedule an appointment with me today to see if we are the right fit for your healing journey.
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