Healing Hearts, Transforming Lives: Empowering Recovery through Trauma Therapy
Trauma is the result of an overwhelming experience that is too unbearable for an individual to process. It is more than a story about your past that lives in the mind, it is unresolved pain that changes your brain, body, and overall perceptions of the world.
You may feel your trauma in your gut, nervous system or intolerable emotions like overwhelming anxiety, depression or loneliness.
Trauma is not the actual event that you experienced, but as Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk describes, it is the imprint of this devastating experience on your mind and body. Trauma represents how this event influenced and changed you.
Trauma may show up as anxiety, causing your body to live in a state of defence and hyper-vigilance. Due to overwhelming experiences, the perceptual system of your brain is re-wired to overreact to stressors. If your body gets stuck in this fight-or-flight state, it eventually puts a strain on your body, potentially resulting in illness or autoimmune diseases.
Trauma may show up as insomnia or nightmares as your brain attempts to process or recover from stress. It can show up as flashbacks of events that you no longer wish to relive. Flashbacks can be worse than the traumatic incidents themselves. According to Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, “flashbacks can occur anytime, awake or asleep, and there's no way of knowing how long they will last.” Trauma also shows up as an inability to concentrate, recall events, process and regulate emotions, and chronic pain.
Trauma may show up as dissociation. Dissociation is disconnection to one’s sense of identity, memories, thoughts, and emotions. Unfortunately, there are many people who are unknowingly stuck in this state. It can become part of their identify or personality. To the outside world, they may appear quiet and reserved. Their mind and body defaults to this state as a habitual pattern of protection from stress. The body attempts to manage stress and perceived threats by slowing down and limiting our capacity to feel. This numbness allows traumatized people to survive by suppressing their pain.
Overcoming trauma and healing IS possible. Continue reading to learn about your potential to heal from your past.
Evidently, the past remains alive in your mind and body.
Trauma is incredibly difficult to manage alone.
But the shameful, isolating nature of trauma prevents many people from reaching out to loved ones or a professional for help. Many people feel hopeless about their future and stuck with their trauma.
They (literally) lose the ability to imagine a better future, which causes further shame, depression, and loneliness.
Healing the Past, Transforming the Future: Empowering You on Your Journey of Trauma Recovery.
How Can I Heal?
The path to healing looks different for each of us. At Life Wise Counselling, we draw from several trauma informed approaches that are grounded in research to support your recovery. We personalize treatment to your individual needs and goals
Trauma may cause you to feel confused, ashamed, misunderstood, alone, or hopeless about your future. You may feel stuck in these negative emotions that weigh heavy on your shoulders. To break free from the weight of trauma, and regain control of your life, we may need to relearn agency and safety. Agency is the understanding that we have a say in our life and that we can shape our future through our actions.
Mindfulness and introspection are the first steps to promoting agency and safety. We will work together to gradually (and safely) increase your capacity to feel through mindfulness. By identifying and gently sensing your emotions in real time, we can tap into your ability to cope with them.
We may also work together to discover how your trauma was internalized - how you made meaning of what happened to you and within you. We will reframe this internalization in a way that is adaptive and empowering.
We want you to safely connect with your trauma at a comfortable, gentle pace so that you can officially rise above it, and your past entirely.
EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and Somatic Experiencing are integrated into therapy to address the impact of trauma on your body. Mindfulness Based Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and/or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy might also be integrated to address your mental and emotional states. We will walk alongside you and work with you, collaboratively so you can move through the discomfort of your past and re-process hurtful memories. Click here to learn more about EMDR Therapy.
In your psychotherapy sessions with your Registered Clinical Counsellor, you may potentially discuss:
Psychoeducation on trauma
Your current internal resources and coping strategies
Mindfulness + acceptance
Self compassion + shame
Problem solving + resiliency
Cognitive distortions + reframing
Re-processing traumatic memories
Bilateral stimulation + self-soothing techniques
Breath work + alternative tools for stress management
We are confident that therapy will allow you to address your wounding in a safe space of acceptance and self-compassion. With your newfound wisdom and post traumatic growth, you can discover how to live in the present moment and access the resilient part of you that is calm and whole.
Struggling with Impulsive Behavior?
Impulsive behavior is a symptom of deep-rooted pain that causes incredible guilt and isolation. It may cause feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and depression.
Unbearable feelings, especially shame, keep people stuck in destructive cycles. The shameful voice in your head, constantly narrating negative stories, leads to more isolation, more pain, and further shame.
Acting on impulses, despite foreseeable consequences, is a way of coping with emotional, unbearable pain. The rational side of your brain may understand the concerns in making impulsive decisions, but the need for temporary relief might feel uncontrollable. The emotional side of your brain is overpowering. This desperate need for temporary relief is likely the result of unresolved trauma.
Struggling with impulsivity can feel like you’re trapped and alone, without any capacity for support or understanding from the outside world. What may look like self-centred behavior from the outside, is a mechanism for self-soothing and survival.
It is a coping strategy, which may have been necessary for survival during traumatic times, but is no longer functional.
The cycle of impulsive behavior can be broken. It IS possible to change and gain more control of your life.
Feeling stuck in this cycle causes people to breach their own ethics and make decisions that don’t align with their morals.
It is incredibly difficult to experience peace and joy without living a life that aligns with your values. Reflecting on your values can be helpful in recovery. it provides us with clarity and understanding of the life that we want to live. However, people may feel confused about knowing where to begin in this journey. This confusion can feel overwhelming, but having a therapist walk alongside your journey can alleviate pressure and provide emotional clarity.
We want to hear your survival story. We will offer you support, connection, understanding, and guidance in a safe and comfortable space.
Instead of focusing on the symptoms of unresolved trauma (binge eating, etc.), we hope to begin healing the deeper, underlying pain.
Through meaningful connection, self-compassion, and conversation about resiliency, you can become empowered to cope and live a more satisfying life. A life that not only aligns with your values, but one that you are proud of.
If you can envision a better future and you are ready for change, we will meet you with respect and patience. Call us at 604-449-8549, email us at email@example.com or use the form below to set up a consultation.
You can book a complimentary consultation with a therapist directly via the link below. We will hold space for you to share your story and ask questions about the therapeutic process. If you're feeling confused about starting therapy and/or concerned about sharing your story, talking to a therapist about your concerns can help you make an informed decision.
We hope to move at a pace that is comfortable for you so that you feel supported unconditionally.