Do You Feel Hopelessly Stuck In The Past?
Have you gone through an experience that shook your sense of stability and security in the world? Are you struggling with distressing, visceral nightmares and memories of what happened? Perhaps you have intrusive flashbacks, which seem to pull you into the past and make you feel as though you are reliving the experience again on an emotional or physical level. It may be that specific images, sensations, interactions or experiences trigger intense distress. Or, perhaps you’re not sure what will trigger the reliving of past distress and this leaves you feeling out of control or shut down. Do you wish you could resolve trauma’s grip on you, make meaning out of what happened and feel empowered to fully engage with your life?
Regardless of your particular experience, living with trauma symptoms can be deeply exhausting and demoralizing. You may try to pretend that your experience never happened, only to find yourself confronted by reminders when you least expect them. After you encounter a trigger, you may feel out of control, vulnerable, inept and hopeless, as though it’s impossible for you to ever let go of the past. Or, perhaps you are generally able to avoid triggers, but only because you have also avoided forming relationships, seizing opportunities or pursuing your goals. You may feel numb, disconnected and unable to feel any joy in your life. Perhaps you sometimes fear that a rich, fulfilling life is out of your reach.
Trauma Is Not Your Fault
Although struggling with trauma symptoms can feel deeply isolating, in truth, you are not alone in your experience. According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, 60 percent of American men and 50 percent of American women experience something traumatic at least once. 7-8 percent of the entire population will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is characterized by intrusive nightmares and flashbacks, hypervigilance and a sense of overall disconnection from life, even those things you wish to enjoy.
You can experience trauma after a life-threatening or deeply distressing experience. Sometimes, this looks like a single incident, such as an assault, a natural disaster or a car accident. Other times, the experience may be prolonged, such as ongoing abuse or neglect. And, even if the traumatic experience happened years or even decades ago, it can still impact your sense of identity, safety and agency in the present.
No matter what you went through or when, what you are experiencing now is not “all in your head” or due to a lack of willpower or resilience. It’s due to real changes to the brain and body, including a recalibration of the stress response systems, hormonal systems and information processing. Now, at the slightest hint of danger, your brain and body react as though the threat of the past is right there in the present. For example, perhaps your heart races, your muscles tense and your mind searches for an escape. Your mind and body are trying to ensure that you will survive.
These changes are meant to be protective in the short-term, but in the long-term, they can be damaging to mind, body and spirit. It can be difficult to distinguish between safety and threat, or ever to feel safe at all. Thankfully, overcoming trauma is possible. With compassionate support and effective therapeutic tools, you can resolve the traumatic memories and find deep, lasting healing.
With Trauma Treatment, You Can Enjoy The Present And Discover Hope For The Future
Today, scientists and clinicians know more about trauma than ever before. As a therapist who specializes in treating trauma and PTSD, I use innovative therapeutic techniques that are empirically shown to release trauma from the mind and the body. And, as someone who has personally experienced trauma, I know that the right therapy approach can offer enduring relief and recovery.
In addition to my extensive trauma training, I am a certified Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapist. EMDR therapy is an evidence-based and highly effective treatment for processing traumatic memories and reducing their power over your life. EMDR taps into the brain’s natural neuroplasticity, or its capacity for change and growth.
In sessions, your brain is doing the work, which means that you remain in control, without having to relive the intensity of what happened. EMDR allows you to form adaptive connections between an isolated trauma memory and your memories of being in control, successful and resilient—connections which allow you to develop a strong sense of agency and safety. During EMDR sessions, we will start by addressing the trauma, but then talk about it as much or as little as you’d like. I strive to create a safe, trusting therapy environment so you can avoid feeling overwhelmed or re-traumatized.
Overall, EMDR therapy can help you leave the past in the past. And, while EMDR is my primary therapeutic approach, I am an integrative therapist who will adapt to your changing needs and goals. Once you have addressed trauma at the root, you may discover that there are other issues you wish to resolve. I am here to help you work through whatever comes up, whether that means practicing skills for coping with difficult emotions or reconnecting with the important relationships in your life.
I know that trauma recovery can seem impossible. How can anyone recover from something so awful, so life-shattering, so unbearable? I urge you to believe that you can find peace. With therapy, you can help your brain restore balance and let your system know that the trauma is in the past. You can begin to move forward with a new sense of mastery over your life.
You may have doubts or concerns about trauma therapy…
Therapy can’t help me. I’ve tried before.
Although it may be difficult to hold hope, I know—both personally and professionally—that it is possible to heal from awful, unbearable experiences. Even if you have gone to therapy before, please know that EMDR treatment is a unique, specialized form of therapy. To truly heal from trauma, you may need a treatment approach that is aimed at working more directly with the brain. You need a therapist who has been trained to treat the particular outcomes of trauma. With the right help, you can find freedom from the pain of the past.
Trauma treatment will only force me to think about what happened, and I don’t want to revisit it.
Avoidance is a key symptom of post-traumatic stress, and it makes sense that you are trying everything you know to keep yourself safe. However, avoiding pain too often means cutting yourself off from joy and opportunity. For true trauma healing, revisiting what happened and opening up to your emotions is painful but necessary. Therapy is aimed at keeping the process within your window of tolerance, and I will be with you, gently helping you work at a pace that feels comfortable and safe. You’re likely to find that revisiting the trauma from a place of greater control and self-mastery is very empowering
I should just be able to get over this on my own.
It’s common to feel like everyone else is getting along just fine and wonder why you can’t seem to do the same. The reality is that many people are struggling with trauma, even those who don’t seem to be suffering at all. You are not weak or broken because of what happened, and painful emotions do not have to define you or your life. You have already survived. With help, you can begin to thrive.
Healing Is Within Reach
I invite you to call 858-480-1499 to schedule an assessment session. I look forward to learning more about you and answering any questions you may have about trauma treatment in Del Mar, CA.