Trauma Counselling in Vancouver
When people experience a trauma, whether they experienced first-hand or are witness to the event(s), people go through a NORMAL range of reactions to these ABNORMAL events. These reactions tend to be triggered by persons, places or things associated with the event(s).
For some, we don’t even realize that frightening or confusing things happened to us when we were children is now impacting our current relationships.
It is possible to heal and even experience growth.
Below are some symptoms that may actually be related to trauma you’ve experienced in your life.
Typical Responses to Trauma:
· Physical: aches and pains (backaches, headaches) feeling like butterflies in stomach, difficulty sleeping, easily started, interest in sex and intimacy changes, sudden sweatiness or heart palpitations, feeling numb
· Emotional: fear, anxiety, grief, feeling disorientated, shock, irritability/restlessness, sudden angry outburst, feeling on edge, emotional swings (crying then laughing), ruminating about the incident, nightmares, flashbacks, feelings of helplessness, like its happening right now, avoidance of reminders of the trauma(s), diminished interest in every day activities, isolating, depression. Increase in coping with drugs or alcohol, feeling outside of your body/not feeling real or like you are in a fog.
Following a trauma(s) the brain needs time to heal. You’ve maybe reached out to friends, connected to spiritual, cultural or family supports. Connected to those who’ve been through a similar experience. People don’t realize how long these reactions can take. Sometimes we even hear those close to us encourage us to “Just move on”. It’s often not that easy. Many find individual, family, or group counselling for Trauma is helpful. We need to do this in context of relationship and attachment to fully heal so we are living in the present. We need to support the body, heart and the mind to fully integrate and adapt to the experience(s).
TRauma wounds people I see have experienced
· Assault, sexual assault, a natural disaster, a break-in, accident, witnessing a crime/accident, death of a loved one, refugee experience
· Domestic violence
· Complex Trauma: developmental trauma such as childhood sexual, physical or emotional abuse, early neglect
· Intergenerational trauma
· Attachment trauma and attachment wounds
· Vicarious trauma - bearing witness to trauma and the ongoing impacts of working with trauma (counsellors, first responders, health care providers, support workers)
I also have a strong interest in working with folks who are impacted by abuse in sport as child. You’re not alone and it can get better when you reach out for support and not face recovery alone.
My approach to Trauma is based on the following 3 stages of healing
(from Judith Herman’s book: “Trauma and Recovery”):
Stage 1: safety – supporting you to ensure your basic needs are met, and you have the skills and the environment to help you stay physically and emotionally safe.
I often use the preparation stage of EMDR therapy to support you in building the internal resources to allow you to do the full treatment of EMDR therapy in Stage 2. We also learn skills to contain difficult memories, emotions, thoughts and sensations to keep yourself safe using a variety of approaches. And we will practice ways to increase your ability to be in the present There are many other approaches and techniques i have been trained in that help you in this stage.
Stage 2: mourning – I often use EMDR therapy to treat the problematic symptoms of trauma and to enhance your emotional resources such as confidence and self-worth. EMDR works by me guiding you to concentrate on a troubling memory while moving the eyes rapidly back and forth (following my fingers). This rapid eye movement, which occurs naturally when we are dreaming, seems to speed your movement through the healing process. See more about EMDR protocols here.
Stage 3: Reconnection – This is the stage of treatment when you notice you’re no longer living in the past, and you’re taking action to live a rich and meaningful life despite the past.