Trauma

“No matter what modality we use, the goal of trauma treatment is finally to be ‘here’ and not ‘there.'”                  ~ Bessel van der Kolk

buddah3 webTrauma is a normal response by our body and mind to an event that overwhelms us by threatening physical harm, our life, or the safety of someone else.

Examples of traumatic incidents include:

  • Witnessing/experiencing wartime atrocities or terrorism
  • Combat
  • Being a victim/witness of crime
  • Natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis
  • Physical and sexual assault/rape
  • Childhood abuse including: sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect
  • Motor vehicle accidents, airplane accidents
  • Other traumatic events such as childbirth complications, sudden infant loss, the death of a child, infertility
  • House fires
  • Health-related trauma, life changing physical conditions, surgery or other invasive medical procedures

It’s common to feel reluctant to want to come in and talk about trauma.  In fact, many people avoid it, only coming to counselling when life seems unbearable.  Trauma makes us feel vulnerable and dysregulates nervous systems; that’s why creating a safe, respectful and supportive environment is the foundation of my approach to helping with trauma.

Many people worry that trauma therapy must involve remembering the horror of the traumatic incident, going on a “fact finding” mission, confronting perpetrators, and succumbing to the directives of the therapist.  I disagree. Some people feel that remembering, when they are ready to work through such memories, is critical to their healing, while others feel it is damaging. This choice, as well as other aspects of your trauma healing, is personal. There is no “one size fits all” approach here.   Another common worry is that one has to become “unraveled” in order to heal. I also disagree and strongly recommend that trauma therapy should first work towards ensuring that you are currently safe and are coping well in your day to day life. 

Psychiatrist Judith Herman, in addressing survivors of childhood abuse writes, “It is bad enough that you were robbed of your childhood–it is unacceptable to also lose your opportunity to live in the present.”

While individuals are unique in the ways that trauma has left its mark and in the path of healing that works for each person, at my downtown Vancouver office you can expect:

  • A safe and respectful therapeutic space
  • Recognition that you survived the trauma that you experienced
  • A customized approach to working with your trauma
  • Careful attention to the here and now, ensuring that you are coping well in your day to day life and if not, supporting you to make this happen
  • Choice of what aspects of your trauma you want to work on
  • Learning what ways for healing your trauma work best for you, including offering the choice of different tools and therapeutic methods
  • The message that you can recover from trauma

If you are looking for a trauma therapist, I welcome your call or email message and am pleased to set up a 15-minute phone or in-person consultation to help you make this decision for yourself.

Whatever your route to healing, it is important to not lose hope.  People can and do overcome trauma.  Recovery is expected!