Trauma Therapy

Trauma wears many faces.

It can be abandonment by a parental figure from a young age that left you feeling like you’re a burden or unlovable, sexual abuse/assault, physical or verbal abuse from a loved one, a breakup you didn’t see coming that has left you totally distraught, feeling like you can’t trust your own emotions because you’ve been told that your feelings are wrong.

Trying to cope with the pain of these experiences isn’t easy.
Perhaps you go on dates but feel nervous or scared that you might find yourself in a dangerous situation.
Or maybe you’re irritable or angry at work, and the guilt you’re experiencing is projecting anger onto people you love and care about in your life.
Feeling trapped because you don’t do what you need to do to feel better (even if you know what those things are!).
Maybe you worry that you’ll pass down unwanted patterns to your children.
Feeling called to clear things out before starting a new chapter in your life, like committing to a partner or changing your career.

Maybe you’ve had an extreme breaking point…

… like a panic attack or a breakup. Or, maybe your intuition has been quietly whispering to seek support for a while. You tell other people you know you should probably go to therapy (or maybe they tell you!). Still, you keep putting it off because of the inconvenience of trying to find someone you click with or being comfortable with your status quo (even if you are suffering). You don’t believe therapy will work for you or fear addressing all the things you’ve been stuffing down for so long.

I want to let you know that not prioritizing yourself, feeling undeserving of support, feeling like others have it worse, and that you should be able to get it together on your own can be symptoms of trauma.

Many people start therapy by saying, “I know this is long overdue, and I’ve known for a long time that I’ve needed this and just haven’t done it.” That’s okay. I’ll meet you there. Many people say that even after just the first session, they feel better for starting the process and letting some stuff out.

Even just the act of coming to therapy is healing. You’re letting your system know that you’re choosing a different pattern, which will lead to a different outcome, which instills hope, which can be a beautiful, positive snowball effect from there.

Many clients describe the feeling of living with unresolved trauma as going from feeling numbed out to overwhelmed or feeling like a prisoner in their own body. You might be coping by avoiding your own thoughts or feelings, dissociation, over-functioning/staying busy all the time, or by completely breaking down. Clients come to see me when they’re having thoughts like “I can’t handle this,” feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, overwhelm, and their ability to function at work, at home, or in relationships are breaking down.

Here’s what we know about PTSD…

Talk therapy only focuses on the brain’s prefrontal cortex. That’s the part responsible for higher-level functions like organization, language, and reasoning, for example. So far, so good?

Well, when we experience trauma, the prefrontal cortex “goes offline,” and our “fight, flight, or freeze” system takes over. When this happens, we lose access to clear, “rational” thoughts and feelings about the traumatic event.

If we can’t re-establish homeostasis in our brains and bodies, we’re left with an under- and/or over-activated “danger alert system” that leaves us with many symptoms: anxiety, depression, re-experiencing negative thoughts or images, tingling, numbness, feeling outside our bodies or like we’re in a dream, and the inability to regulate our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

And, therefore, we have to take a different approach…

As you can probably see now, traditional talk therapy won’t work for many with PTSD because they don’t have access to the prefrontal cortex where that kind of therapy is effective.

Trauma is usually stuck in the lower parts of our brain, and we must first calm down that part of the brain if we’re ever to reach that top part where we can think clearly and rationally about the events and make the changes we so desperately want.

So, when treating trauma, we take a bottom-up (rather than a top-down) approach. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Somatic Experiencing, and mindfulness are examples of these bottom-up approaches.

These approaches work. Here’s what we’ll do…


EMDR is an evidence-based modality that was first developed to treat trauma and disturbing events that continue to be triggered in current, everyday life. There are 8 phases of EMDR, during which we will identify what to reprocess based on the level of disturbance of a memory, feeling, or body sensation. During these phases, you will also learn exercises to help you stay present and improve your mind/body connection. You’ll also learn how to reprocess a disturbing event in a contained environment where you can access more resources than when the trauma occurred. Ultimately, you will choose a positive thought or mantra to make meaning of the event and move forward with less disturbance.

Somatic Psychotherapy

Somatic therapies work by following the lead of the body, rather than the traditional method of talk therapy, which follows the brain’s lead. Trauma gets stored in the body, so by sustaining awareness on the body, you can learn to “ride the wave” of a body sensation associated with a past traumatic experience that results in your body communicating to your brain and your heart the trauma is over.


Mindfulness is one of those buzzwords that evoke panic and fear for some people because they picture having to be still and quiet with an empty mind for an hour. Allow me to help you redefine: I think mindfulness has bad branding because it’s actually about being less in your mind. I like to say mind/body connection because most of us walk around not noticing what’s happening below the neck. Mindfulness can look like noticing the lines in your hands, picking out three distinct scents on your shirt sleeve, or even just noting that you’re having a lot of thoughts. Mindfulness is important in trauma work to regulate the body’s automatic functions that we rarely think about, like breath and heart rate, because when our body is in a trauma response, those automatic functions are usually out of whack. Through mindfulness, you’ll enhance your ability to notice what’s out of whack and learn tools to get yourself regulated so that the higher-up parts of the brain can make sense of an event.

Trauma doesn’t mean your life is doomed!

Many people associate trauma with hopelessness and defectiveness, but the truth – it is treatable.

Let’s lead you to a place where you’re able to make meaning of what has happened in your life. We’ll do a deep dive into how you prioritize your values, what partners you choose, what kind of work you do, how you show up as a friend, parent, child, or partner… and so much more.

Let’s teach you how to self-regulate and reduce the disturbances you have because of past trauma.

You can live a better life!

Call me today to schedule your free 20-minute consultation: (619) 663-6433