Help for Trauma Victims

“Trauma is an inability to live in the present,” (van der Kolk, 2014). It can arise after a single event like a car accident or events that occurred over a prolonged period of time like physical abuse. In one definition or conceptualization of trauma, you must have felt as if your life or someone’s life close to you was/is in danger either by being physically present, hearing about the event, or by being indirectly exposed to traumatic events through your profession (first responders, medics, etc.). However, there are experiences that make us feel threatened in other ways. These events can overwhelm your ability to tolerate stress or feel integrated as a person. At Terra Counseling Center, we offer trauma therapy to help you move beyond what’s troubling you.

Signs that a person might have been subjected to trauma:

  • Self-mutilation
  • Eating disorders, addiction
  • Lack of ability to regulate emotions (anger, depression, anxiety, etc.)
    • Taken hostage by emotions when under stress or being triggered
    • Difficulties being able to self-soothe
  • Difficulties establishing relationships
  • Inability to enjoy sex
  • Engaging in sex at an early age
  • Inflexible and unhealthy responses to stress
  • Difficulties trusting others

Diagnoses often given to persons that have undergone trauma include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Intermittent explosive disorder
  • Substance use disorder
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Attention deficit disorder

What Does Treatment for Trauma or Developmental Abuse Look Like?

People at times feel hesitant about seeking treatment for trauma because they are concerned about opening a door that can lead them to feeling overwhelmed or retraumatized. However, this is not the case with the trauma therapy we specialize in and offer.

One of the world’s leading therapists in trauma explains that successful treatment in trauma involves gaining control of yourself and being able to enjoy the present (Levine, 2010). Bessel van der Kolk, a world-renowned researcher in trauma explains that “…telling the events of the story does not guarantee that the traumatic memories will be laid to rest” (2-14, p. 221). This is the reason why conventional therapy has its limitation when addressing trauma since trauma is not a problem of cognition.

During treatment, we would be addressing symptoms that are associated to the traumatic events. This means that you would not need to talk about what you went through. Revisiting traumatic events is not necessary for successful treatment. However, if it is revisitied, it is only when you feel safe and have built internal resources that would allow you to do so without becoming overwhelmed or retraumatized.

Dealing With Trauma by Yourself

The cost of managing trauma by yourself consists of dealing with feeling disconnected, separated, in despair, addicted, having a persistent sense of panic, and having relationships that are characterized by disconnection, hostility, and explosions (van der Kolk, 2014).

At times memories are suppressed, however, your body and your behavior continues to conduct itself as if the trauma were still happening.

What Does a Session Look Like?

In the first few sessions of your trauma therapy with us, we would focus on laying the foundation that contributes to ongoing change and that provides the tools that will help you cope with situations/symptoms you are currently struggling with. This means that you will not have to revisit traumatic memories or events.

What Can You Expect by the End of Treatment?

Recovering from trauma involves feeling free from it, not becoming overwhelmed, ashamed, or feeling broken-down. This typically consists of:

  • Discovering a way to be calm and focused
  • Learning how not to become overwhelmed when being exposed to triggers
  • Being able to be in the present and enjoy interactions with people
  • Not having to deny or keep secrets from yourself

Thank you for reading and I hope you find trauma therapy at Terra Counseling Center helpful.

​*Trauma definition: It is a type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a distressing event. Trauma is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope with or integrate the emotions involved with that experience.

van der Kolk, B. (2014). The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. London, United Kingdom: Penguin Publishing Group

Levine,P.A (2010). Walking the Tiger Healing Trauma. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books

Levine,P.A (2010). In Unspoken Voice, How The Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books

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