Psychotherapy: Trauma & Abuse

What is Trauma?

Trauma is an emotional and physiological response to extreme events like an accident, rape or natural disaster. It can also be the result of difficult life circumstances such as sexual abuse, neglect or insecure attachments in early childhood.

Trauma symptoms are often embedded in the body, creating habitual patterns of constriction, dissociation, anxiety and pain. Trauma dysregulates the individual -emotionally, psychologically and physical y. It can overwhelm the central nervous system and change the way we process or recall memories. Sometimes trauma results in symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

EMDR and Somatic Experiencing (SE)

EMDR and Somatic Experiencing (SE) are body-mind oriented approaches to healing PTSD that create opportunities to promote self-regulation and healing of extreme situations from the past.

Trauma Recovery with EMDR

Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk, speaks about how EMDR helps in healing from trauma.

The Nature of Trauma

Trauma expert, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, speaks about how to recover from trauma.

Healing Trauma with SE

Dr. Peter Levine, author of Waking The Tiger: Healing Trauma demonstrates the effects of trauma on the nervous system, and his philosophy of treating it.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EDMR) is amongst the world’s leading treatment for emotional, sexual and physical trauma, is a powerful tool for releasing disruptive symptoms that often result from trauma or abuse. Through a simple process, negative symptoms lessen, and at times disappear completely, allowing for restoration of health and function.

EMDR reduces symptoms of anxiety, hyper-vigilance, shame, pain, distrust, and other common responses to trauma. It is based on the theory of associative memory, suggesting that traumatic events (small level traumas, as well as large level traumas) activate sensory experiences (body sensations, thoughts & emotions) which get fragmented and stored in the emotional control center of the brain. It is as though there were a chip in the brain’s limbic system, secretly holding emotional and physiological memory from traumatic experience that can activate a person to re-experience feelings and sensations associated with the past. Once symptoms are triggered, an individual can become emotionally hijacked, feel helpless and experience heightened levels of fright. The process of working with EMDR helps to reduce the intrusive and harmful symptoms resulting from traumatic experiences and restore calm, trust and balance back to the body and mind.

For more information: What is EMDR

Somatic Experience (SE)

Our nervous system is designed to handle extreme stress and danger by mobilizing huge amounts of energy to fight or escape from a source or threat of danger. If we successfully fight or flee from the danger, we release that energy. If we are trapped in the traumatic experience with no successful way out, the energy gets stuck in our nervous system and we may experience physical and/or mental symptom that we call traumatic responses (panic attacks, phobias, flashbacks night sweats, a racing heart, inability to concentrate, confusion, dissociation or persistent anxiety and depression).

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a gentle yet powerful psychotherapy process that helps the nervous system discharge the stuck energy. It is a talking therapy that guides the mind and body to release trapped tension and anxiety that resulted from the traumatic experience and it uses the body’s natural resilience to return to a state of calm.

For more information: About Somatic Experiencing