Is Your Past Continuing To Creep Into Your Present?
- Do you find yourself constantly reliving distressing moments from your past?
- Is it common for you to feel on edge or as if you’re in danger?
- Have elements of your daily functioning—such as your relationships or work—suffered as a result of unresolved emotional pain?
Maybe you often feel sad, depressed, or anxious. It’s possible that you have even developed panic attacks as a result of never feeling at ease. Or perhaps you’re living with constant shame, guilt, or denial that something harmful and life-altering took place. It may be that you blame yourself for what happened.
If you’re living with unresolved trauma, it can impact every facet of life. Whether you struggle with intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or dissociation, or you have cognitive challenges with your memory or concentration—unresolved distress can make aspects of everyday living unbearable.
When dealing with these disruptions, you’re likely not the only one impacted by the aftereffects of trauma. You may find that your relationships are becoming exceedingly difficult to manage, causing you to want to withdraw entirely. Maybe interpersonal conflict between you and your loved ones has worsened because your reactions are often disproportionate to the situation. And it’s possible that feelings of anger, rage, sadness, and fear have festered to the point that you no longer feel in control of your emotions.
You probably feel like life would be much more manageable if you weren’t plagued by the pain and distress of your past. And though it may be impossible to change what happened, therapy can help you to understand and heal from the effects of your trauma.
Acute Trauma Is Not The Only Form Of Distress
We all have heard of the “T” word, but we often don’t stop to consider that various forms of trauma exist—making this issue more pervasive than we might think.
Typically, trauma falls into three distinct categories: acute, chronic, and complex. And of course, some instances of trauma can fall under more than one category. Acute trauma is caused by a one-time, stressful event (such as an accident or injury), whereas chronic trauma is caused by regular exposure to distress (often taking the form of domestic violence, physical/psychological/emotional/verbal abuse, bullying, or child neglect and abuse). And complex trauma describes the accumulation of traumatic events.
As our knowledge of trauma grows, it has also become increasingly apparent that intergenerational trauma has long-term implications for certain individuals. For example, if our parents experienced hierarchical or systemic oppression, unresolved loss, or abuse and neglect as a child, we may suffer from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other forms of emotional distress as well.
But because the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has historically only identified acute trauma, we may disregard our own distressing experiences as traumatic. Statistics indicate, however, that traumatic experiences are much more common than we think. According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, most American adults—about 70 percent of the population—will experience some type of traumatic event¹. Though not everyone who endures distress will develop trauma, symptoms can vary from person to person, lasting anywhere from a few weeks following the event to many years after.
Unfortunately, regardless of the event that took place, some survivors of trauma can develop PTSD, anxiety, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), substance abuse, and other mental health challenges. And in some cases of physical trauma, Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) can make emotional trauma especially difficult to overcome.
Even if you don’t characterize a stressful event as traumatic, it’s possible that you have endured some form of trauma in your life. And though you may be tempted to numb or avoid the memory of your experience, it’s important to acknowledge and understand what happened. Therapeutic treatment for trauma can help you do just that.
Therapy Provides You With A Safe Place To Explore The Impact That Trauma Has Had On Your Life
If you’ve experienced trauma, the idea of talking to someone about it may sound frightening, stressful, and overwhelming. At The Davis Group, however, we aim to make therapy a safe place where you have access to a professional who can guide you through the healing process. Whereas with other people in your life, you may feel uncomfortable to share or worried about their reaction to your experience, therapy gives you an opportunity to not have to factor in another person’s emotions. Moreover, with the help of a therapist, you can make sense of what is actually happening when your brain and body respond to trauma.
While the intake process for trauma therapy is similar to our other intake processes (gathering clinical information, history taking, and presenting symptoms), we take extra care during trauma treatment to create a safe space for you to reprocess the experience. That’s why we won’t immediately jump into triggering details or painful memories.
Using psychoeducation, your therapist will help you to understand the nervous system so that you can better regulate your emotions and create boundaries around your needs. As you become more comfortable during the course of therapy, we will begin establishing tailormade techniques and skills that can help you cope with distress and make progress in your healing. As we address the specific symptoms or problems that have caused you to seek out therapy, we will always be tracing each issue back to its root—rather than working to simply maintain a baseline.
At The Davis Group, we draw from a variety of mindfulness techniques as well as behavioral and somatic approaches that can help you reprocess and heal from your trauma. Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), for example, is a demonstrated treatment model used for PTSD in clients of all ages. And Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is especially useful for emotional regulation and self-acceptance.
In addition, somatic methods like Brainspotting and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) are particularly effective for targeting traumatic memories. And though both are considered gentle, Brainspotting is less physically demanding than EMDR and often focuses more on sensations in the body rather than the memory itself.
Trauma is complex, and if it goes unresolved, it’s likely to accumulate and create problems over time. Yet, it’s possible to change the way that your body reacts in times of distress and how your memories impact your everyday functioning. You no longer have to suffer from the discomfort, flashbacks, and turmoil that your trauma has inflicted.
By committing to trauma therapy at The Davis Group, you can take ownership of your experience and ensure that your past is no longer getting in the way of your future.
Perhaps you’ve considered counseling for trauma, but you have questions…
I should be able to handle my trauma on my own, without the help of a therapist.
Trauma is so much more common and impactful than we think. So, while some of your symptoms like anxiety, hypervigilance, and intrusive thinking are your brain’s way of keeping you safe, these symptoms usually make life a lot harder than it needs to be. The truth is that we are wired for connection and support. By seeking a trained, skilled therapist who can guide you in teaching your brain and body healthier and more effective coping strategies, you can reach a well-deserved place of healing.
Can treatment actually make me feel better about my trauma?
Yes, there is a good chance that your mindset can improve, and therapy can expedite the process of healing. Though you can’t erase the trauma, therapy can help you come to terms with and accept what happened to you. With this acceptance, you’ll be able to regain authority over your life, taking the control away from your trauma and returning it to its rightful place: back to you.
I’m worried that going to therapy for my trauma will only make my symptoms worse.
It is normal for symptoms to intensify as you open up about your trauma. However, we will take great caution to not re-traumatize you. Our clinicians have found that usually, after a few sessions, symptoms are likely to improve as you feel a weight lifted off your chest. And when symptoms flare up, we aim to make therapy a safe space where you can open up and learn skills to effectively manage distress or discomfort.