You push the trauma aside. You keep busy, put on a front, or anything else to keep the painful memory at bay. If you let the memory and pain out, you believe you’ll lose control. However, the memory keeps popping up. You’re on edge, scanning for threats, double checking locks, and identifying the exits. Maybe you feel scared, angry, guilty, or overwhelmed. Or maybe you just feel numb. You’re having nightmares and difficulty sleeping, which is contributing to your fatigue, lousy mood, and inability to focus. You’re beginning to think something is seriously wrong with you and that you’ll never get over it. But you know it’s time to try something different. It’s time to face the trauma and gain back your life.
A trauma is a situation where an individual experiences or witnesses a threat of serious injury or death (e.g., sexual assault, physical abuse, motor vehicle accident, natural disaster). It is estimated that 70% of individuals in the U.S. experience a traumatic event in their lifetime. Many are able to naturally recover from trauma. Those who go on to develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have something keeping them blocked from this natural recovery process. Symptoms of PTSD include:
Intrusions: nightmares, unwanted memories, flashbacks
Avoidance of potential triggers and of unwanted memories, thoughts, and emotions, including use of substances as a form of avoidance
Negative mood: fear, shame, guilt, sadness, anxiety, anger
Negative beliefs about self, others, and the world
Hyperarousal: hypervigilance, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating
Through the integration of mindfulness and trauma-focused CBT treatments, I teach you to be with the difficult memory in a compassionate and direct way. I gently guide you through the process of breaking the memory down, challenging your perceptions and avoidant behaviors, and re-integrating your mind, body, and spirit. You'll gain confidence in your ability to be with difficult emotions. You'll be able to confront problems by pausing, assessing, and responding, rather than avoiding or blowing up. You'll no longer have to put up a front. The trauma will no longer control you.