Trauma robs you of the feeling that you are in charge of yourself.
The challenge of recovery is to reestablish ownership of your body and your mind – of your self. This means feeling free to know what you know and to feel what you feel without becoming overwhelmed, enraged, ashamed, or collapsed.
-Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score
What is trauma?
Trauma is an event which is exceptionally threatening or catastrophic in which a person is left powerless or helpless. It can be one single event, experienced by an individual (such as an attack or rape) or by a community (such as a natural disaster or war), or chronic, experienced periodically over time (such as abuse). The brain of a traumatized person can change over time in an effort to protect against future harm.
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Flashbacks – reliving the event
- Intrusive memories or thoughts
- Detachment from others
- Avoidant behaviors
- Aggression when triggered by a memory or a flashback
Since the symptoms reside in the body, treatments involving body work can be especially helpful. This includes: yoga, Hakomi, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, expressive therapies (art, therapy, music therapy, dance therapy, drama therapy, journaling), neurofeedback, among others.
My approach to trauma therapy is Internal Family Systems therapy, a non-pathologizing, respectful approach which allows for clients’ own healing capabilities.
We all have parts of us which have formed long ago. Traumatic events may cause some parts to become extreme and rigid, take over and fight with other parts. The Self has stepped out of a leadership role and the internal system is like a family with the kids in charge. These parts are often protecting a hurt, exiled, young part who is stuck in the past. Turning inward and getting to know one’s inner landscape can help create more harmony in the inner system, can help all parts feel heard, welcome, appreciated and free from burdensome roles and can put the Self back in charge. This is an evidence based model developed by Richard C. Schwartz in use for over thirty years. If you would like to learn more about this approach, please visit their website at
I will also welcome a telephone call to talk further about how I might be helpful to you and how we might work together.
Here are additional resources if you want to learn more about trauma: