Trauma & PTSD


What is Trauma?

Trauma is an emotional response of our nervous system to an event or series of events perceived to be threatening to us or others we care about. Trauma overwhelms an individual’s ability to feel a complete range of feelings, emotions, and experiences. Prolonged experiences of threat and unsafety, such as childhood abuse or exposure to unhealthy emotional environments, can also be traumatic and affect us mentally, physically, and behaviorally.

Types of Trauma

  • Naturally Caused Trauma: natural events such as earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, collapses, fires, or hurricanes.
  • Human-Caused Trauma: accidental or intentional acts such as sexual assault and abuse, physical abuse and neglect, childhood abuse, homicides or suicides, violence, stabbing or shooting, warfare, or domestic violence.
  • Secondary Trauma: a stress response to hearing about or witnessing someone else’s traumatic experience firsthand.

What are the Symptoms of Trauma?

Initial responses to trauma can include:

  • anxiety
  • intrusive thoughts
  • fatigue
  • confusion
  • sadness
  • irritability
  • numbness
  • dissociation
  • cognitive and mood changes

Delayed responses to trauma can include:

  • depression
  • fear
  • flashbacks
  • sleep disorders/nightmares
  • avoiding emotions
  • persistent exhaustion

Four Main Trauma Responses

Trauma impacts everyone differently, whether it is a one-time, multiple, or reoccurring event. The brain sends a message to the body’s cells as a response to a traumatic experience or situation, which then leads to the memory being stored in the body. As this trauma pattern is activated and triggered, it gets stronger. When a similar incident occurs, this pattern will be activated in our mind, brain, and body, which can result in a trauma response:

  1. The flight response: quickly getting away from the situation
  2. The fight response: self-defense
  3. The freeze response: stopping instead of running
  4. The fawn response: keeping someone happy to defuse the danger

If these trauma responses manifest in unhealthy ways, they can keep clients trapped. Collaboratively, we help clients become aware of which trauma responses they tend to use and explore how to work towards switching them to healthy trauma responses.

What is PTSD?

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may occur in individuals who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, series of events, or set of situations. A person may experience this as emotionally and/or physically unsafe or life-threatening to them.

People with PTSD have extremely stressful thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last for a while after the traumatic event has passed. People with PTSD may re-experience the event through flashbacks or nightmares as well. They may also avoid certain locations or people that remind them of the traumatic experience. Individuals with long-lasting PTSD may have intense reactions to certain noises, surroundings, or unintentional touches.

How Do We Work With PTSD and Trauma?

We utilize evidence-based EMDR therapy for trauma resolution. We guide you to reprocess the traumatic experiences and memories you have in order to feel safe and connect with yourself in a peaceful way. We work together with our clients to teach them resources, tools, and customized interventions to assist the nervous system in regulating in a healthy and safe way. EMDR therapy helps clients to reprocess the memory of the trauma in order to experience it in a healthier way.

We guide clients step by step through the process of EMDR to assist them with trauma resolution. Experiences during an EMDR session can include altered beliefs, images, and feelings. After recurrent sessions, the traumatic memories can change and no longer be as tense or stressful.

Reframe your problems and make them into opportunities to heal and live a happier life.