Do You Ever Wonder If Your Struggles Today Are Because Of Past Trauma?
Have you struggled all your life with feelings of guilt and shame, but you don’t know why? Does it ever feel like you’re just not good enough? Maybe you’ve asked yourself again and again if it’s because of traumatic past events, but you’re not entirely sure.
However deep down, a part of you can sense that something isn’t right. You may struggle with self-confidence and, feeling on edge all the time, don’t feel at home in your body and mind. Over time, you may become so used to telling yourself that you’re unlovable or a bad person that you no longer question it—you accept it as reality.
Living With Trauma Can Feel Like A Rollercoaster Of Emotional Extremes
The effects of trauma you may be living with can make it difficult to regulate your emotions, preventing you from being able to fully be yourself and open up in relationships. Perhaps you vacillate between avoiding emotional connection altogether or needing constant reassurance from your partner. If you’ve suffered from an abusive relationship previously, you may have trust issues because you’re afraid of getting hurt again.
If you were emotionally neglected growing up, it might be even harder for you to consider you suffered from trauma since there are no physical scars. And yet, in response to unresolved trauma, you may lack trust in yourself, and, instead constantly second guess yourself or stuff down your emotions until you overreact to situations without understanding why.
This rollercoaster of emotions is incredibly stressful to live with. That’s why we’re here. At Select Counseling, our goal is to ease your burden and help you resolve the emotional toll of trauma. You deserve to have peace in your life and we are here to provide it.
Many People Live With Invisible Scars From Their Trauma
Trauma happens when an experience overwhelms your brain so much that you can’t process it. As a result, the memory of what happened doesn’t feel like a memory—it feels like it’s still happening. For many people, this causes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They relive their trauma in flashbacks, nightmares, and panic attacks.
However, some forms of trauma are more subtle in their effects. Most people know that living in a combat zone or suffering from domestic violence can be traumatic. But many of us don’t realize that emotional neglect, poverty, chronic illness, and breakups can also cause trauma. These experiences often leave us with invisible scars, disrupting our sense of safety and well-being.
Trauma is unpredictable and characterized by huge swings in emotions. Sometimes we might feel anxious and hypervigilant, like something bad is about to happen; other times we may feel numb, like nothing affects us. Since traumatic events can be big or small, singular or repetitive, short or long, visible or invisible, it can be difficult for us to recognize whether we have suffered trauma. Oftentimes, we only recognize the awful symptoms that may or may not make sense to us.
When You’re Traumatized, Getting Help Can Seem Scary
Sadly, many traumatized people do not get the support they need. Oftentimes, they talk themselves out of getting help by minimizing what they went through or comparing it to someone else’s experience. Many of them are also afraid of going to therapy because they don’t want to confront the trauma they experienced in childhood. They might use drugs, alcohol, or sex to “escape” their problems instead of going to therapy.
We know how hard it is to confront the pain of the past. That’s why our approach to trauma and PTSD counseling is very gentle and does not require you to “relive” what happened to you. We want to go at whatever pace is comfortable for you and help you achieve lasting peace in your life.
Therapy Can Help You Restore The Sense Of Safety That Trauma Took Away
Let’s face it: opening up about trauma isn’t easy. In the past, people may have invalidated your struggles or told you that you were overreacting. Here at Select Counseling, you are encouraged to share your story and express your emotions freely. You are not to blame for your trauma and you are not a bad person. We want to help you sort through any shaming messages you’ve told yourself and teach you to practice self-compassion.
Above all, therapy with us is a chance to re-establish the sense of safety that trauma took away. Your counselor can help you manage your PTSD symptoms, reduce self-destructive behaviors, and move out of the “survival mode” that trauma put you in. Our hope is that you will come away feeling more comfortable in your own skin and more at peace with your life.
Tailoring Your Trauma Treatment Plan
Our therapists draw from a wide variety of approaches to treat trauma and PTSD. Some modalities are very skills-oriented and focused on helping you control your trauma responses. Others concentrate more on understanding those trauma responses and figuring out why they arose.
One of the main healing methods we use is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Unlike a lot of therapeutic approaches, EMDR does not require you to talk about your trauma. Instead, it helps you process and resolve traumatic memories through nonverbal techniques like side-to-side eye movements and repetitive tapping. Doing these exercises can help your brain and body “digest” painful memories so that they no longer overwhelm you.
Additionally, we often draw from Internal Family Systems (IFS). At its core, IFS views each person as made up of many different parts or a variety of effective and ineffective coping mechanisms that you developed to survive difficult situations. You can think of these parts as members of an internal orchestra: some parts may be louder and more powerful than others. For instance, if you experienced an abusive relationship, you may not feel safe expressing yourself and may have a very strong people-pleasing part. IFS can help you regulate this people-pleasing part so it doesn’t control your behavior. Just as an orchestra is at its best when all the instruments perform in harmony, your emotional well-being is at its best when all your parts balance each other out.
In the end, our hope is that trauma therapy can make you the conductor of your own internal emotional orchestra, able to decide who gets to be a part of your symphony and who doesn’t. You don’t have to live in survival mode anymore and have an internal emotional cacophony. It’s possible to break out of unhealthy trauma responses and free yourself from the chains of the past.
You May Have Some Questions And Concerns About Trauma and PTSD Therapy…
Am I going to have to relive my trauma in therapy?
Letting go of the past isn’t easy, but we will always make sure you feel safe and comfortable in the process. With approaches like EMDR, you don’t even have to say much about your trauma—the stimulation exercises allow you to process it nonverbally. Avoiding your feelings is an understandable trauma response, but unfortunately over time, it only increases your pain. Therapy is a chance to break out of avoidant behaviors and work through trauma in a safe and controlled way.
I feel like I could’ve stopped my trauma from happening. Am I at fault?
No, you are not at fault. Blaming yourself for what someone did to you is a way to downplay your trauma—it’s like saying, “They didn’t do anything that bad, because I didn’t stop them or try hard enough to.” This is a survival mechanism. It’s your brain’s way of trying to protect you from the severity of what happened. Therapy can help you overcome feelings of guilt and shame and understand that you are not to blame for your trauma.
I’ve already tried everything. What’s different about your approach?
Many of our clients tell us the same thing. The problem is that a lot of the strategies that seem to help with trauma are avoidant in nature—they reinforce the temptation to escape your feelings. A lot of therapy, too, focuses solely on ways to reduce stress without addressing trauma at its root. At Select Counseling, we want to help you break out of avoidant behaviors and heal from trauma instead of just slapping a Band-Aid on it. What’s more, we strive to make trauma therapy as individualized as possible—if something didn’t work for you in the past, we encourage you to tell us so that we can do things differently!
You Don’t Have To Live In Survival Mode Anymore
Just as you learned to survive the ripple effects of your trauma, you can learn to let go of unhealthy coping mechanisms and develop a healthier sense of self. To begin the healing process, you can use our contact page or call 410-949-1238 for a free phone consultation.
Have you ever heard of the mind referred to as a small family? Or maybe you’ve heard of the mind as a concept that can easily be divided into different parts? Are you curious as to what these parts might be? What about the origins of this theory?
Have you ever heard of Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS)? It was developed by family therapist Richard Schwartz in the 1980s. At first, it was a type of therapy for people who suffered from eating disorders, but it is now considered helpful for a variety of people with different disorders, or even people with no diagnoses at all.