Abuse, Violence, Trauma

Have you been through a significant life event or repeated events that left you feeling powerless, alone, violated, physically and/or emotionally wounded, maybe even feeling your life was at risk if you didn’t survive? Have you been present or exposed to that kind of experience for others, maybe watching your parents when you were small, serving active duty in the military, or working as a first responder? Have you told yourself, “I am past that, it doesn’t bother me now?” only to still feel reminders at times of what you went through? If so, you may be someone who has survived trauma.

My primary specialty is working with adults who have survived violence and abuse throughout childhood. We sometimes call this “Complex Relational Trauma” because of the persistent exposure day after day, year after year, to an unsafe, unstable, and often threatening environment with physical and/or emotional impact. Another kind of trauma is what we might call a “Big T trauma”, a significant event that happens once and abruptly changes your life – taking away your sense of safety, or shattering what you believed to be true about the world, other people, or yourself.

Trauma impacts you no matter how you experienced it. If your body was exposed to abuse and pain, it remembers. If your mind was a victim of ongoing criticism and shame, it remembers. If you grew up witnessing violence in others or exposed to neglect, it impacts you. Perhaps when life is good you feel fine, but as soon as something tips the balance you might have those memories interrupt your day and bring back the physical sensations, thoughts, or flashbacks of what you endured. You might notice Depression and feel slowed down, losing interest in things that usually matter to you, and blaming yourself. You might sense Panic or Anxiety keeping you overly alert, wishing you could relax, with difficulty sleeping or concentrating. Maybe your mind is going all the time, and you must turn on some music or distraction to block out the constant thinking that seems to never quiet or that attacks you with Self Criticism.

Using IFS there is a different way of coping and healing from your pain than just pushing down your discomfort, trying to hide or numb your distress, push past your depression, or attempt to manage and reduce your anxiety. As a Certified IFS therapist, I will help you to experience a spiritually-grounded process of getting to know what you feel and think in a way that extends compassion and understanding, guiding you in a process that brings unburdening and healing from your core. Gradually, steadily, I expect you will find greater peace and confidence so that when some stress tips the balance you will not be knocked off course by parts holding depression or anxiety. You can truly heal from what you have been through.