HOW TRAUMA IS TREATED
Often trauma symptoms like flashbacks, anxiety and panic attacks, or overreactions to a situation in the present result from a crisis response in the brain to a cue in the environment that is a reminder of past trauma. This crisis reaction activates the fight or flight response or the freeze response in the body.
Trauma treatment entails first the creation of the experience of safety for the client, then the facilitation of learning how to calm one’s own nervous system when it has been activated. Once calm, the person is able to recognize what is happening now and whether it is an emergency or a reminder of past trauma and problem solve how to handle similar situations in the future and to reduce reactivity.
I teach techniques for calming oneself such as energy techniques, body based techniques, breathing and mindfulness meditation techniques. These techniques are also helpful in coping with urges to use self-harming behaviors and addictions. I also work to increase awareness of triggering situations and methods for coping with them and handling them in proactive ways. After learning to calm oneself, I utilize EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to metabolize past traumas more quickly than with talk therapy alone so they won’t get activated and triggered through flashbacks, nightmares, etc. It is now believed that it is not necessary to access all memories to heal.
Once freedom from trauma symptoms and activation are achieved, the client has more freedom to make choices and pursue building the life and relationships they want.
Specialized treatments used in addition to relational and narrative psychotherapy:
EMDR : Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, a treatment that metabolizes trauma and other concerns more rapidly than talk therapy (for more information click here)
Body based techniques for calming
Energy treatment i.e. Emotional Freedom Techniques: a treatment where the client taps on points in his or her own body based on acupuncture meridian points
Sand tray therapy: a form of expressive arts therapy in which one's internal world is expressed through designing a picture in a sand tray with miniature objects: