Is Trauma Disrupting Your Day-To-Day Life?
Has a painful event or experience from your past left you unable to focus on the present? Maybe you tell yourself you should be over it by now, but the memories keep coming back. You may be having flashbacks or intrusive thoughts that put you in a state of hyper-vigilance—like you’re always bracing yourself, waiting for the worst to happen. Or perhaps you feel numb to everything, as if your traumatic experience has left you in a daze. It may seem like you’re just going through life on autopilot, unable to be present in the moment and enjoy life as it comes to you.
Traumatic experiences—no matter how long ago they occurred—can affect your daily functioning in ways that are often hard to notice. You may experience unexplained chronic fatigue, muscular tension, or even insomnia. Your whole body may seem like it’s in a constant state of agitation, as if you’re trying to crawl out of your own skin. Trauma can also impact your relationships, diluting your sense of trust and weakening your ability to connect with others. What’s more, if you try to open up to loved ones or friends about trauma, they may not always understand. They might offer you false comfort, saying, “Worse things have happened to people,” or, “You should just stay positive.”
Do you wish you knew someone who did understand what you’re going through? Moreover, do you wish there was someone who could help you let go of the past and teach you real-life skills to stay grounded in the present? If so, trauma therapy can offer compassionate guidance and practical support.
Everyone Reacts To Trauma In Their Own Unique Way
Everyone, whether they know it or not, has experienced some form of trauma. From the loss of a loved one to a hurricane to military combat, the spectrum of trauma is far, far wider than most people realize. In fact, some trauma can even get hard-wired into our DNA by our ancestors, if they experienced trauma we didn’t. While most people tend to think of trauma as a one-off event, resulting from a single incident, trauma can also develop over long stretches of time. Childhood neglect, psychological abuse, romantic rejection, illness, and losing a loved one are all legitimate forms of trauma.
The important thing to remember, however, is that how you react to traumatic memories is not your fault. The stress responses you experience are entrenched, learned behaviors your body has developed in reaction to trauma. When you’re flooded with flashbacks or intrusive thoughts, for instance, your brain senses danger. In order to protect you, it becomes hyper-vigilant and stays on high alert. This protective measure may be harmful, but your brain is only doing what’s natural—it has a built-in response to danger.
When your brain stays in trauma mode for an extended period of time, however, that’s a sign you may be struggling with PTSD. The good news is PTSD is not just treatable—it’s curable. Over time, you can train your brain to stop living in trauma mode and overcome the painful emotions and sensations associated with the past. Here at Monarch Family Counseling, we use research-driven, tried-and-true methods for helping you do just that.
EMDR Trauma Therapy Offers Relief From Your Past And Hope For Your Future
Our approach to therapy provides a judgment-free space for you to safely process trauma and feel heard, seen, and appreciated. With one of our trained therapists, you will explore the negative beliefs, emotions, and perceptions that have stemmed from your history of trauma. To that end, you won’t be asked to dwell endlessly on your traumatic experience; we want to help you in the here and now. We’re not merely interested in symptom reduction, but symptom resolution. Together, we’ll work to identify your stress responses and help you develop skills to overcome them. We will teach you grounding techniques, focused-breathing exercises, and many other treatment strategies for alleviating the symptoms of PTSD.
Our therapists are all trained in a wide range of different approaches, including Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). EMDR is a form of trauma treatment that seeks to reduce the emotional charge of a memory, enabling it to be processed consciously without creating a sense of overwhelm. CBT and DBT are focused on reversing negative thought patterns and improving your coping skills. For the artistically-inclined, we often encourage journaling and employ art therapy and sand tray therapy.
Ultimately, our entire approach is uniquely tailored to your needs and goals. From beginning to end, our aim is to hold for you what you can’t hold yourself. We want our office to be like a container to hold your pain, so you don’t have to take it home with you. To quote Brene Brown: “We don’t have to do it all alone. We were never meant to.” You may not be able to magically reverse the effects of trauma on your own but with the help of a trained professional, you can experience the healing power of EMDR therapy and learn practical ways to conquer your trauma symptoms. You can experience peace where there was once only pain.
You may have some concerns about EMDR therapy…
My traumatic experience wasn’t that bad. I can handle it by myself.
Most likely, you go to a doctor when you’re feeling sick, and go to a dentist when your teeth hurt…so why should therapy be any different? Mental health is still health. You might tell yourself your traumatic experience wasn’t “that bad,” but even so, your PTSD/trauma symptoms could worsen as time goes on. If you work with a trauma counselor who’s caring, empathetic, and deeply sensitive to your needs, you’ll receive help you won’t get on your own.
It was so long ago. I can’t see how it’s worth talking about anymore.
Oftentimes, the things that go unaddressed in your past show up again in the present. Sometimes, they may show up without you even realizing it. You might experience racing thoughts, heightened anxiety, or bodily agitation and mistake your problems for something they’re not. This is because trauma is often experienced in a subtle, latent, and unconscious manner. As a result, you may need a trained professional to understand exactly how your trauma affects you today.
I just want to focus on my present, not my past.
Your past and your present are intimately correlated. Every moment of every day, your past experiences are—consciously or unconsciously—shaping how you respond to what’s happening to you. When you’ve experienced a traumatic event in your life, that event often controls how you respond to the stimuli around you. With our help, you can learn to control how you respond to these stimuli so trauma no longer controls you. In this way, you can keep the past from interfering with your current life and stay grounded in the present. Sometimes we all need to heal from the past in order to move forward.
You Don’t Have To Live In Trauma Mode Forever
If you feel like you’re always living on high alert because of trauma in your life, Monarch Family Counseling offers scientifically-supported techniques for helping you heal. Due to COVID-19, we offer counseling both in-person and online (we plan on going back to in-person full-time when things clear up out there). We’re open to whichever option feels best for you. To contact us, you can email us, call the office at 801-349-9606, or message us on our website.