Does it seem like you’re just dragging your feet through each day? Are you struggling with feeling heavy, unproductive, exhausted or anxious all the time? Do you find yourself falling into the same unhealthy relationship patterns again and again? Do you feel like you just can’t catch a break?
Have you ever wondered if trauma is at the root of all your struggles?
When trauma occurs, the body, mind, and spirit keep the score. Life afterwards is really, really hard—it can feel like an endless cycle of trying to put out fires. Trauma can impact your ability to trust yourself, other people, and the world around you. As a result, you may be thinking of seeing a trauma therapist.
Unhealed trauma often manifests in the body as chronic pain, headaches, digestive concerns, and joint pain. On an emotional level, you may bounce between feeling keyed up and irritable and feeling numb and detached, as if your life isn’t real. Perhaps you feel like a shell of the person you were and you’ve lost touch with the things that once brought you joy.
As hard as you may try to bury your trauma or consciously push it aside, your body still remembers. To truly process and resolve the pain of trauma, you have to address it rather than ignore it. Doing so can seem scary and overwhelming, and that’s why it’s so important to see a therapist. With our compassionate, evidence-based approach to therapy, we’re confident that we can help you put down the heavy weight of trauma and feel lighter, happier, and more alive.
We all go through life and sustain bodily injuries—bruises, scratches, scars, etc. But the truth is that many of us suffer from emotional injuries, too. Whether we were teased or bullied at school, grew up in a home with lots of fighting, or had parents who were too busy to meet all of our needs, these subtle injuries or traumas impact who we are and how we show up in our life.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that their mental health struggles are connected to trauma. They often think, “I had a pretty normal childhood,” or, “I didn’t go through anything that bad.” They associate trauma with violent or cataclysmic events and don’t consider the subtle but profound ways that their own experiences have affected them.
There are many traumatic experiences that fly under the radar, such as neglect, chronic illness, grief and loss, growing up with verbally abusive parents, having a sick sibling, witnessing a lot of conflict, or dealing with financial stress. A therapist can help you understand whether an experience was traumatic or not and more importantly, how it has impacted you. That is the key—we cannot change the past, but we can change the impact of the past!
The hallmark of trauma is that it keeps you in survival mode. It rewires your brain so that you are constantly on high alert, scanning your environment for threats in order to maintain safety. Your brain’s alarm system is then easily triggered, which sends danger signals to your entire nervous system. When this occurs, senses become heightened, muscle tensions increase, and fear arises. All of this is a part of the natural preparation to fight or flee. You may oscillate between the fight, flight or freeze response.
Going through life like this is exhausting and is no way to live life. To break free from the impacts of trauma, you often need the help of a mental health professional.
You may not feel safe sharing your story or trauma with people in your life. Perhaps you don’t want to be judged or worry no one would really understand. The good news is that therapy provides a space where you can share your story without worrying about how you’ll be perceived. At Couples Counselling Centre, our therapists will accept you unconditionally, validate your struggles, and give you the courage to change your life and take back your power.
You may not be able to change what happened, but you can change the impact of what happened—that is the gift of trauma therapy. We will help you create corrective emotional experiences that allow you to rewire your brain and reduce the impact that trauma has on your mind, body, and nervous system. You will learn skills and techniques to help you ground yourself, increase your window of tolerance, and build a life where you are in the driver’s seat.
As trauma therapists, we have learned that most of us—especially in childhood—experience repetitive emotional injuries and dysfunctional family relationships that can create psychic wounds over time. While most of our parents were well-meaning and loving, there may have been shortcomings that impacted you. Perhaps they were so busy working that they were not as attentive to you as they should’ve been. Maybe there was a lot of conflict between your parents or they divorced when you were young.
All of these wounds can disrupt your capacity to develop healthy connections with yourself, your body, other people, and the world around you. The goal of trauma therapy is to heal these wounds so that the experiences that happened in your childhood—or at any time in the past—don’t dictate your present actions.
We offer counselling services that target the mental, emotional, physical, and behavioural aspects of trauma. Generally, the first step is helping you learn grounding skills so that you stay mindful and regulated as you process trauma. Next, we’ll work on rewriting the narrative around your trauma so that you see yourself and your story in a more empowering light.
To do so, we draw from a wide range of different therapeutic approaches. We can use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to disarm negative beliefs that stem from trauma, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) to reduce post-traumatic stress, Internal Family Systems (IFS) to heal the parts of you that trauma wounded, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help you accept what you can’t control and focus on what you can. We also use Emotionally Focussed Individual Therapy (EFIT), a powerful experiential model, to provide emotional corrective experiences.
As hopeless as you may feel right now, this is a great time to be in therapy. We have come so far in our understanding of the brain and body—you don’t have to live forever with the impact of trauma. Therapy can help you regain your sense of agency and vitality and live life with more ease.
No, you won’t have to. You set the pace in counselling—our goal is simply to help you feel better. Some people like talking about the past; others do not. We will work with you in the way that feels best for you. It will not help you to dive into the past in an unstructured way. We want to “clean out the wound” gently and create the healing necessary for you to move forward.
We’re happy that you’re considering therapy again despite your previous experience. It’s important to note that not all therapeutic approaches are equally effective. Our therapists specialize in treating trauma and we have been able to help many people overcome the pain of the past. We will discuss previous treatments with you so that we understand what’s worked and what hasn’t. Even if one therapist isn’t the right fit, we have many other therapists on staff who can assist you.
As short as possible but as long as it takes! Generally, most people experience some improvement after a few sessions and more meaningful change after several months of weekly sessions. Regardless of how long therapy lasts, it’s important to be gracious with yourself and understand that deeper healing often takes time to reach fruition.
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Life is busy, and it can be really hard to put life on pause to practice mindfulness! We get it, so we wanted to present
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