Trauma can take many forms, from a frightening car accident, to exposure to violence or disaster, to chronic trauma beginning in childhood. It can be physical, social, sexual, or emotional in nature. I treat trauma directly using EMDR, somatic, and visualization interventions – in combination, these create the safety that keeps the session from becoming overwhelming – and leads to a knowing that you can step away from that trauma and feel like yourself again.
Not all trauma appears as classic PTSD, but it can all be defined as an “event that overwhelms our capacity to cope.”
Here are four types of symptoms listed in the DSM-5:
- Intrusive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks
- Anger, irritability, and hypervigilance
- Aggressive, reckless behavior, including self-harm
- Sleep disturbances
- Avoiding specific locations, sights, situations, and sounds that serve as reminders of the event
- Anxiety, depression, numbness, or guilt
Negative Mood and Cognition Symptoms
- Loss of interest in activities that were once considered enjoyable
- Difficulty remembering details of the distressing event
- Change in habits or behavior since the trauma
I use eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in treating trauma. EMDR has revolutionized the practice of therapy by giving a road map, along with safety mechanisms, for navigating and directly addressing traumatic events. What took years or remained elusive in the old days is now possible to treat systematically, and sometimes quickly. We don’t have to live with these symptoms anymore!