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I have an interest and experience in treating symptoms that can develop after acute or chronic trauma.  I have worked with people who have had recent trauma as well as those with trauma that occurred some time in the past.  Examples of types of trauma include rape and molestation, combat experiences, car accidents, death of loved ones, child abuse, and for a child it can include experiences like bullying, divorce, abandonment, and many other experiences.

In what way does the trauma experience find its way into therapy? Trauma is something that causes a sudden or significant negative change in our concept of self, the world and/or our future.  When this sudden or intense shift occurs, we experience it as loss, confusion, disorientation or even threat and danger.  In order to move through the trauma experience in a healthy way, it can require an adaptive neurological and psychological response that integrates the trauma experience into a new sense of identity, perspective, and sense of future possibilities.  The problem is that for some people this integration does not occur. There are many possible reasons for this, but the end result is that the person continues to experience parts of the trauma as if it were alive and present.  It is often like they can’t get away, close the door, or just get back to the life they desire.  They are haunted by the event every day if not every hour.  And the haunting can lead to changes that complicate life.  Below are listed some of the more common symptoms;

  • Self-loathing, shame
  • Intrusive re-experiencing: nightmares, flashbacks, or thoughts
  • Avoiding anything that triggers the memory: people, places, things
  • Elevated arousal, always feeling primed to react to threat, never relaxed, anxious
  • Mood extremes: depression, irritability, aggression
  • Feeling numb, detached, or spacing out and dazed
  • Memory lapses, concentration problems, learning difficulties
  • Reactivity and intensity– acting immediately and with intensity before thinking about consequences
  • Physical problems – GI problems, pain, migraines as examples
  • Distorted body perception
  • Relationship/trust issues