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    What is Trauma?

    The answer to this question is unique to each person. What is traumatic to one person may not be experienced as traumatic by the next. Each experience is valid.

    When most people think of trauma, they think of natural disasters, car accidents, or assault, but there are many more kinds of traumas than these.

    Other, less obvious experiences can still have a negative impact on a person and can be considered traumatic. These events include divorce, witnessing injury to another person, verbal abuse, a parent with mental illness, or experiencing painful medical procedures.

    Also, the absence of needed developmental experiences can be traumatic. These absences include neglect, social isolation, lack of validation and attunement, frequent moves, or changes in caregivers. Although these events may be overlooked or minimized by those around you, this makes them no less meaningful or impactful.

    In the trauma field we use the term complex or attachment trauma to refer to repetitive, on-going abuse or neglect typically beginning in childhood within the family. This type of trauma has a lasting effect on how your identity and relationships develop.

    What is PTSD?

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a diagnosis which captures some of the problematic symptoms that can develop when trauma occurs. These symptoms are common reactions to a traumatic experience and typically resolve within a month. These symptoms include intrusive symptoms: or re-experiencing, avoidance, changes to your thinking and mood, and changes in arousal and reactivity.

    Complex PTSD

    C-PTSD is associated with more difficulty managing emotions, pervasive negative views of self and a sense that they are fundamentally different from others, more use of dissociative coping strategies, loss of meaning or core beliefs about self/others/world, and more difficulty in sustaining healthy relationships due lack of trust, negative view of self and/or avoidance of relationships.

    What is dissociation?

    Dissociation is when the brain does not integrate (link together) all aspects of a situation, experience, or personality into a unified, cohesive whole. Dissociation is a misunderstood and often stigmatized experience. There are a range of dissociative experiences from mild to severe and include:

    Feeling as though your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, aren’t yours’

    Significant gaps in your memory

    A sense of unreality, like you are detached from your body, or being an outside observer

    A sense of unreality or detachment from your surroundings, the world seems dream-like

    Feeling as though you have more than one independent sides or parts of self

    Dissociation is an incredibly creative and powerful coping skill your mind has developed to help you disconnect from what is happening so you are then able to continue to function. The problem is that it can become an automatic response that you are no longer in conscious control over.

    How I work with trauma, PTSD and Dissociation?

    I am a Certified EMDR therapist and this will be my framework for understanding how your brain has coped with what’s happened and it will be a part of my approach to helping you resolve trauma and dissociation. Often, I think it’s important to acknowledge that part of you may be eager to dive into things to get them resolved, and another part of you may be quite unready or scared by what might be uncovered. Both are valid, and it is my job to help balance both of these needs and concerns

    First, we will work to get your most distressing and disruptive symptoms under better control. Then we will address the actual traumatic things that have happened to you. It is very important to me that we work at a safe enough pace, so I will need your feedback on how you are doing and any fears you have during the work or struggles between sessions. Finally, we will look to the future to help you integrate back into the world and back into ‘normal’ functioning and relationships.

    Keep in mind, this is a general overview and no two healing paths are the same. Your healing journey never goes the way we expect and is most definitely not linear.

    You have taken the first step by checking out this website. I encourage you to take the next step and call me. I look forward to speaking with you and coming up with a plan to help you to let go the pain of the past, live more fully in the present and start developing hope for the future.