Therapy for Trauma and PTSD
Trauma and other overwhelming experiences can have a number of different effects on your physical and mental health, such as:
- Do you often feel “on edge” as if you need to be ready for anything that could happen?
- Do you have nightmares, racing thoughts?
- Do you react in relationships with out-of-control anger?
- Do you often notice yourself absent-minded as if “dream-walking”?
- Do you sometimes automatically comply with others’ demands although you know better?
- Do you feel emotionally or physically numb, as if you are “not in your body”?
- Do you feel very tense in your body? Do you have aches and pains not otherwise explained by a medical diagnosis?
These are some of the ways past traumatic events can continue to affect your body and mind. Regardless of whether you have clear memories of traumatic events or not, often the body holds on to “imprints” of these experiences long after you have moved on and put aside what happened.
After a traumatic experience your nervous system can stay in “high gear” without being able to settle down.
It is characteristic of trauma that the powerful push for survival is called to action but is simultaneously overwhelmed, trapping the survival energy in the body.
Accidents, war, assaults, physical and sexual abuse are not the only traumatizing experiences.
Trauma may also result from less obvious circumstances, for example:
- The sudden loss of a loved one
- Living with a mentally ill person
- Verbal attacks, shaming, sarcasm
- Bullying at school or at work
- Social isolation
- Job loss and financial insecurity
- Immigration and minority status
- Growing up with a scary or very scared parent
Healing trauma never means “reliving” it. I can help you to safely and mindfully release your body’s trauma-related responses.
You may shy away from addressing the negative effects of past trauma because you don’t ever want to feel the trauma again. My approach as a therapist to working with trauma does not involve “reliving” the experience. Instead I work with you to guide your nervous system to “digest” small amounts of the trauma responses over a period of time so that processing the trauma feels safe and manageable.
With my integrative approach to therapy, you will gain insight and first-hand experiences of the many ways in which your mind influences your body and how your body influences your mind. I will also give you essential information on how the body responds during trauma. Understanding this can be such a relief. One of my clients once exclaimed after I explained how the body responds to trauma: “Oh that means I’m not crazy. This is just what happens after trauma.”
In my therapy practice I work with you to heal from the effects of traumatic experiences so you can:
- Restore a sense of safety and confidence in your body: After trauma you may feel as if your mind and your body are at odds. Your mind is telling you everything is okay but your body is acting like there is looming danger. I guide you to gently free your body from unnecessary survival energy. This allows you to confidently relax your vigilance when you are indeed in a safe situation.
- Identify what triggers your trauma response: Triggers can shift your state of mind from relative ease to flight or fight reactions in a split second. Being triggered by a present moment event can feel pretty scary but is a completely normal reaction after trauma. Knowing your triggers and learning how to work with them will help you feel confident to manage situations that before seemed to overwhelming to approach.
- Keep your reactions within a comfortable range: This allows you to gradually release the effects of trauma from your body and mind without getting overwhelmed. I carefully listen to your feedback and let things unfold at a comfortable pace. This process also strengthens your ability to regulate overwhelming emotions and distressful situations in daily life.
- Release trauma from your body and mind, and feel empowered to move forward in your life: In our therapy sessions together we will develop your capacity to recover from traumatic experiences so you can go on with life intact. In fact, you might even feel stronger and more confident in your capacity to deal with life’s contingencies.
My main approaches to healing trauma are Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and EMDR, two of the most comprehensive and well-respected approaches currently available.
I can be reached at (415) 425-0164 or to email please go to “Contact” page.