Trauma Therapy

Do You Struggle Relating To Others?

Are you frustrated because your life is not as fulfilling as you hoped it would be?

Have you been plagued by unhealthy relationships  you seem unable to avoid?

Do you suspect your childhood experiences caused trauma, influencing how you move through the world now?

Even though you may have found career and educational success, these accomplishments may feel hollow and unrewarding. You may have become disillusioned by these external achievements and milestones if you haven’t been able to forge close relationships with others along the way. Hidden beneath your seemingly successful exterior, you may struggle to set healthy boundaries and clearly express your needs to others. Your self-compassion, self-love, and self-worth may be lacking or non-existent.

You Might Feel Unlovable Or Broken

Maybe you feel ambivalent in relationships. Although you long to be close to others, you may pull away rather than risk being vulnerable. Or perhaps you are flooded with insecurities, like fear of being too much, not enough, or unlovable. Your M.O. might be to get involved with emotionally unavailable partners or ignore red flags because you want so much to be desired by someone. Conversely, cultivating intimacy and emotional closeness might be difficult for you because you don’t trust others after experiencing past hurts.

If you have lived through severe trauma—either throughout childhood or a single event such as a car accident—you might be dealing with distressing symptoms such as hypervigilance, nightmares, flashbacks, dissociation, internalized shame, fear, anxiety, and depression. Your experience may have left you with the sense that you are bad, broken, or defective.

When you carry emotional wounds that haven’t healed, finding your way back to a sense of safety and personal fulfillment takes time. Fortunately, therapy provides the support, education, and skill-building you need to move beyond your trauma.

unhappy couple sitting on bed

Trauma Is Often Experienced Through Relationships

Trauma encompasses far more than the circumstances we typically associate with this term—like war combat, domestic violence, sexual or physical abuse, or neglect. Renowned trauma expert Pia Mellody defines trauma as “any behavior exacted upon children that was less than nurturing.” [1]

More subtle forms of relational trauma can be just as, or more, impactful on our psyches. Relational trauma—such as being raised by an anxious parent who was only intermittently available to us emotionally—is often prolonged and makes a long-lasting impression on us. Growing up with inconsistent attachment could leave us feeling emotionally insecure and fearful of abandonment. Whether or not we label our upbringing as “traumatic,” what ultimately matters is how our experiences impact us in the long term.

We Often Downplay Trauma

Many of us compare our experiences to stereotypes perpetuated by our culture that ranks trauma by its severity. In this way, we minimize or diminish our circumstances, deciding that what happened wasn’t “bad enough” to be considered trauma. We may have even gotten this message directly from our caregivers, who told us we should be grateful for the privileges we had growing up. When we’re repeatedly told that “everything’s fine,” we fail to recognize the extent of our trauma.

Instead, as adults, we look for solutions to our relational problems by scouring the internet with late-night searches and ordering self-help books. However, these short-term fixes rarely work. For real healing to occur, we need to acknowledge that what we experienced was trauma and have a corrective emotional experience within the context of a therapeutic relationship.

In trauma therapy, you will be guided to develop trust and healthy vulnerability. By building trust and care with a therapist, childhood trauma counseling provides you with a safe container to heal wounds and lay the groundwork for a happier future.

photo of Kirstin Carl smiling

Trauma And PTSD Therapy Allows You To Move Beyond Your Past

When you suffer from the aftereffects of trauma, you may not realize how much of what you have lived through still affects you today. Trauma therapy offers a space to develop an understanding of how these experiences may be considered trauma and impact your current relationships. Meeting you with gentleness, patience, and compassion, together we will safely unpack the memories and hurts that have been tucked away for so long.

As a trauma counselor, the relationship we develop in therapy will be unique. Unlike with friends or family members, you never have to worry about burdening me with what you want to talk about. The goal will be for us to collaboratively put together the puzzle pieces of your life so that you can discover clarity, self-awareness, and, most importantly, self-compassion. I want you to feel empowered to rewrite a narrative for yourself that isn’t based on trauma but rather on your hopes and dreams.

What To Expect In Sessions

Approaches that focus only on the present or the past are never as effective as addressing both together. That’s why I offer a two-pronged approach that will initially provide helpful coping skills, tools, strategies, ideas, and recommendations to target your current symptoms. Once you are feeling more stable and grounded, we can then go deeper into your history, identifying the roots of your relational struggles.

Trauma and/or PTSD treatment will always be a collaborative partnership. My role isn’t to make decisions for you, give advice, or tell you what to do. Instead, within the therapeutic relationship, you will find empowerment to make your own decisions. While I offer empathy and compassion, I am not afraid to gently point out aspects that may be difficult for you to look at.

My Approach To Trauma Counseling

With trauma-informed care, I will create a sense of safety where you feel comfortable being vulnerable and recalling past experiences. Trauma therapy may include:

  • Attachment-focused trauma therapy to better understand the implications of your early childhood relationships;
  • Inner child work where you learn how to build a relationship and have dialogues with your younger self;
  • Art therapy to express your emotions constructively through creative activities;
  • Codependency therapy to address the five core areas where your relationships are impacted by trauma;
  • Psychoeducation about neurobiology and the nervous system that incorporates grounding and breathing exercises to help de-stress and regulate emotions; 
  • Elements of Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) to diminish distressing memories; 
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) to learn strategies that release unhealthy patterns and old narratives about yourself; 
  • Guided imagery and visualizations.

With a commitment to trauma therapy, you can embrace emotional intimacy and discover more peace and joy than you ever imagined possible. Therapy allows you to get unstuck, feel seen and heard, and move beyond what’s been holding you back. 

But Maybe You’re Not Sure If Trauma Therapy Is Right For You…

Won’t discussing my trauma in therapy make me feel worse?

When it comes to trauma, acknowledging what happened is an important step in overcoming its emotional impact on you. As they say, the only way out is through. To gain freedom from the symptoms you’re struggling with presently, we must identify their root cause. Trauma-informed therapy ensures we move at a pace you’re comfortable with and never push you beyond what you’re capable of handling. For example, learning helpful coping strategies like self-soothing before delving into the past will safeguard you from becoming overwhelmed by exploring your thoughts and feelings.

I’m not sure what happened to me was severe enough to be considered trauma or PTSD—should I still attend counseling?

If you have a hunch that events or situations in your childhood were hurtful and could be causing distressful symptoms today, it's more than likely they were traumatic. Trauma often teaches us to go against our gut instinct or diminish our own experience. As a therapist who specializes in trauma and PTSD, trusting your gut and reawakening self-awareness is a skill I can help you develop in therapy. What’s more, adverse experiences often cause you to feel unseen and unheard. Regaining your voice is deeply transformative, allowing you to form healthy relationships with yourself and others.

I don't have clear memories of my childhood. Does that mean I won't have anything to talk about in trauma treatment ?

Many clients start trauma therapy with either unclear or absent childhood memories. Be assured there is no pressure to recollect what happened right away. With gentleness and compassion, we'll start with what you're thinking and feeling in the present moment and go from there. Trauma therapy is like putting together a puzzle or creating a map. Together, we will develop a shared understanding of how fragments of your past and present experiences fit together.

Healing Your Past Can Expand Your Future

Once you acknowledge your trauma, you can begin moving forward. To find out more about trauma therapy with me, call 818-593-9047, or visit my contact page to schedule a free 30-minute call. 

Step 1: Schedule your free phone consultation.

Step 2: Complete your pre-consultation questionnaire.

Step 3: We meet for our scheduled consultation!