Do you have doubts as to whether or not trauma therapy can work for you? Have you tried therapy before but it didn’t work? Trauma therapy does, indeed, work and can be effective if you are struggling to find closure with unresolved issues.
What is Trauma?
When I ask my clients if they have ever experienced anything traumatic in their lives, the answer is usually, no, unless they have suffered an event such as child abuse, domestic violence, a natural disaster, war, or rape. This is because these are the types of events that most people associate with the term trauma.
Trauma can be defined as any event that causes an unusually high level of emotional stress and has a long lasting negative effect on a person. However, it is your subjective emotional experience of an event that determines whether it was traumatic, not the objective facts of the event itself. In short, any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope can be traumatizing, regardless of whether physical harm was involved.
An important fact about trauma that I often explain to my clients in therapy is that there are two categories of trauma: "small t" and "Big T" traumas.
“Big T” traumas are events, such as rape and war, that involve physical harm and/or a threat to life or physical safety.
“Small t” traumas are events that are more common life experiences and are upsetting. On the surface, they are not thought of as traumatizing, such as being teased in school, divorce, the death of a loved one, job loss, or losing friends in childhood due to moving schools. These types of experiences can affect your self-esteem and ultimately lead to negative core beliefs. Beliefs such as “I am not good enough or I am not worthy of….” These experiences affect how you view the world, and yourself.
How Does Trauma Therapy Work?
Trauma therapy is a process to find a resolution to traumatic events that happened in your past. These can still have an effect on your life years or even decades later. Trauma therapy does not seek to erase these memories. Rather, it is meant to train your brain to find closure so that you don’t have to be trapped in the past, constantly reliving the trauma.
Training Your Brain
After a traumatic event, it is not unheard of for people to still feel like they are experiencing the trauma. They may startle easily, be reclusive, or have experiences that remind them of the trauma. These cause the brain to think that it is still experiencing the trauma and that it needs to have its defenses up in order to protect itself and the body. Trauma therapy can teach your brain that it’s safe to relax and that it’s not necessary to have your guard up to protect your brain and your body.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR therapy has been extensively researched and is widely recognized as a highly effective trauma treatment according to numerous well-respected organizations including the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the American Psychological Association.
EMDR uses stimulation through eye movements or tapping to help “unblock” the trauma. Having completed and been certified in advanced training as an EMDR therapist, I have had the privilege of seeing remarkable improvements in my clients using EMDR focused therapy. Typical EMDR sessions include four basic components:
- Visualizing images connected to the traumatic memory.
- Identifying negative beliefs about oneself: “I could have done more,” or, “It’s my fault.”
- Discussing any emotions or sensations.
- Identifying positive beliefs: “There’s nothing more I could have done,” or, “It’s not my fault.”
This process combines using your body and mind to redefine your beliefs about what you experienced and to remove mental blocks and negative core beliefs.
EMDR trauma therapy does involve revisiting thoughts, feelings, and experiences that are unpleasant and hard to face. However, with my help as a therapist trained and certified in EMDR trauma therapy, you can move past these fears and begin living a more fulfilling and authentic life. You can’t erase what happened, but you can take the steps necessary to close the door on that experience and move forward with your life.
If you feel you are experiencing the effects of trauma, I invite you to contact me at 480-427-3553 for a free 15 to 30-minute phone consultation or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can discuss your specific needs and I can answer any questions you may have about trauma therapy or EMDR