- Do you have trouble sleeping and are constantly see images from a recent trauma?
- Do you struggle feeling safe with others?
- Does your body feel constantly on edge like you are ready to fight or run?
- Are you persistently ready for “something” to happen to you or a loved one?
- Are you experiencing body tension, sore muscles, headaches and digestive issues?
- Do you avoid people or places that remind you of the horrible event you experienced?
- Are you having trouble trusting in relationships with friends, family and coworkers?
What is Trauma?
Trauma is a traumatic incident or learned core belief that changes the way you perceive and function in your life. After a traumatic event, it can feel like you have been profoundly transformed from the inside out. You may that ‘life’ has betrayed you and nothing will feel normal again. Trauma symptoms vary with each individual but are usually the result of going through something beyond our control or experience that impacted us deeply. Some of these symptoms may include:
- Intrusive memories stimulated by sounds, sights, smells relating to incident
- Restlessness, nightmares, sleeplessness, hypervigilance, restlessness
- Elevated irritation and anger
- Avoiding people or situations that may remind you of the incident
- Isolation and hiding from loved ones
- Difficulty concentrating or going to work and usual activities
- Feeling constantly anxious and/or experiencing panic attacks
- Difficulty with trust and intimacy with close relationships
What do traumatic events do to us?
When we go thorough something that changes our life, our body and mind can create ‘stories’ of what is happening long after the event is over. You may feel like danger is still imminent or you are ‘on guard’ all the time (just in case.) Sometimes you may aware of when these stories appear by new behaviors, body sensations and thoughts. Other times you may already be reacting and not know why you are feeling and doing what you are doing at all! Many times, people do not want to admit to themselves that something could ever change them so deeply. If this is you, you are not alone. Many believe they are irrevocably emotionally and mentally damaged by a traumatic incident. Although it is true that most of us are can be greatly changed by such experiences, there are many ways find the support and skills to help you cope with your ‘new’ life.
Counseling for PTSD and PTS can Help You Become Whole Again
When a traumatic event disrupts your life, it can feel like you have lost a part of yourself. Our approach is supported by researched practices and theories, personal experience and mind body practices to cultivate an individualized, collaborative plan for your treatment. Our counselors intentionally create a warm and safe environment for our clients so they feel safe and heard. We understand that people are afraid to come to therapy for traumatic events because they do not want to relive them. Current research (Van der Kolk, Levine, Ogden) supports that re-traumatization (completely reliving events over and over) does not help people come into healthy relationship with themselves. Our counseling process supports clients in engage in what is called “wholing”–practices which helps restore and renew parts of themselves that were lost or changed by a traumatic event. We will touch on your traumatic event(s) in various ways, but we will not intentionally have you ‘relive’ them. This work is started by us co creating supportive practices that will create a base stability for you to grow from. Some of these practices may include skills homework, mindfulness practices, support system creation or Lifespan Integration work. We also use models and educational tools to help bring perspective on what is happening with your mind and body. People often develop difficulties with relationships because of PTS/PTSD. We will also look at how to support your relationships with your family, friends and coworkers.
Can a family, organizations, school and community also get support for traumatic events?
Sometimes a family, organization, school or community also goes through a traumatic event and needs support. Our trauma specialist, Lindsay Huettman, MA LMHCA has over 17 years ‘combined experience as a mentor, community leader, wilderness guide and public-school teacher. She has also had personal experience with diverse types of traumatic incidents as a first-responder, family and community member. Working with families, organizations, communities and schools when a traumatic event or natural disaster occurs is on of her passions.
Much of her approach for helping these groups comes from a combination of:
- Trauma Training: Psychological First Aid, Trauma Focused Based CBT, Grief and Traumatic Death; Depth Psychology; Mindfulness and Somatic work for trauma; Lifespan Integration
- Family and Community: Family Systems Therapy; Group Psychotherapy; Community Skills Training from 8 Shields Model/Wilderness Awareness School and SoulArtSystem; Grief Rituals and more.
- Public School Training: She has supported students with traumatic events within public schools, private schools and homeschoolers. She is currently a part time teacher for the Monroe School District have received training via the school district as well.
- Medical Training/ICS: Wilderness First Responder for over 12 years and ICS (Incident Command System) training as a swiftwater rescue technician (retired) and school district employee.
Lindsay offers presentations on PTSD/PTS, Grief and Compassion Fatigue for any group. If your school, community, family or organization is currently experience the aftermath of a traumatic event, please do not hesitate to call for support.
Are you an adult survivor of child abuse?
Another type of trauma is growing up in a long term abusive situation. This is a slightly different kind of ‘trauma event’ that requires a nuanced approach. There are many studies that indicate that childhood abuse can significantly affect us as adults in areas from relationships, mental and physical health problems, to behavioral issues and addictions. There are many adult’s survivors of child abuse (ASCA) that also struggle with relationships with their partners, kids and co-workers. You may ask yourself, “Why are my relationships so hard? Why do I react the way I do towards people in my life?”. There is no one right answer to these questions, but if you were abused mentally, emotionally, physically or sexually as a child, this can have impacts on your self-esteem and relationships as an adult. Adults can feel shame and anger about their past and attempt to lock away feelings and events from childhood.
Although it can be true that not every incident from your past needs to be processed, some belief systems created in early childhood can shape how you live your life. Some of these core beliefs can also be very positive and have shaped the wonderful person you are. Others tend to be not so helpful or even harmful for us as adults. We sometimes are aware of these stories and other times not. Many of these stories are not only stored in our minds but in in our hearts and bodies as well. That is what a mind, emotion and body approach is important when approaching past traumas. It also important to work on relationship skills to understand what is happening in the ‘now’ and what may be an echo from your past. Working on these past traumas can open your mind, body and heart to new perspective and ways of living. Your relationship with yourself and others can improve. The unspoken anger, shame, grief and confusion can be processed and released. You may also experience a reduction or sensation of long-term anxiety, depression, panic attacks, grief, PTS/PTSD symptoms, anger and more. We will create a collaborative treatment plan that can simultaneously address issues from past abuse and any current symptoms you may be experiencing like anxiety, depression, panic, grief, anger and more.
Are You Ready to Take the Next Step?
You can also call our office at 425-406-8627. If you have a preferred counselor, please let us know. Otherwise you will speak to our intake worker who will help determine who would be the best fit for your needs.