As I’ve dived deeper into my psyche in therapy as well as in one intensive psychotherapy training after the next, I’ve also learned something about this adaptive coping something- or -other, and that is that this quest for information and knowledge is also my strategy… To avoid pain. To stay safe. To not feel uncomfortable feelings. To be able to deal with difficult people & experiences. To know something in my head. Where it’s safe. That will fix everything. Knowing. Underst
The goal of TF- Yoga is to safely learn to embody oneself as many of us affected by trauma and/or oppression survive those experiences by dissociating from the body. According to research by trauma expert, Bessel van der Kolk, Yoga “is a gentle, safe way for people to befriend their bodies, where the trauma of the past is stored.” Meditation and breathing exercises can also be triggering for folks who have a trauma history. It is vital to work with a practitioner that is supp
A lot of folks seek trauma recovery after engaging in traditional talk therapy modalities such as CBT or hearing from a friend or doctor that they should give EMDR a try. This is wonderful as there are many body-based modalities that can be incorporated into psychotherapy that help with the integration of trauma symptoms, experiences, and memories. A common misconception is that these modalities replace traditional therapies, but that is inaccurate. Modalities such as Brainsp
“I believe so much of the healing process has to be the patient’s activity. If you’re a trauma survivor and feel as though your recovery and healing is the work of the therapist, you’re still not free. What I want is for people to feel their own capacity for healing. When we’ve lost our sense of agency from traumatic experiences, it’s important that, part of the recovery, be the recovering of the sense of agency.” – Janina Fisher Understanding the role of client a
Focusing only on the positive aspects can be a trap. “I want to move but, I have a really great job here.” “I’m sad a lot in this relationship but I just care about them so much and I don’t want to be alone.” “I feel a sense of dread walking into my corporate office everyday, but I just make too much to leave.” These are statements I hear from my clients everyday in therapy. In fact, the frequency by which I hear sentiments like these is so often, I’ve begun to notice them ev
There are a lot of reasons we avoid conflict, the obvious being that it just doesn’t feel good. It can also be an outdated strategy from childhood, if the people In control didn’t handle conflict well or were abusive. But, if you are in a safe and secure environment as an adult, conflict doesn’t have to be feared or avoided. Although those avoidance strategies make sense, the truth is, that if you avoid conflict by ignoring it, you are hurting the relationship and the other p
The more complicated, difficult, oppressive, and taxing life is for you: the more time & energy you need in self-care practices that energize, heal, and fill you back up. Life is more difficult if: You’re a survivor of trauma.
You’re a minority.
You experience micro-aggressions.
You are a person of color.
You identify as LGBTQAI.
You have a mental illness.
You live in poverty.
You are disabled.
Your work is in service of human healing & social justice. Therefore, your
Healing is collaborative, dynamic and multi- faceted. Psychotherapy is the part of the pie that I collaborate with my clients on. In addition to the clients own supports and self-care practices, I seek out other clinicians and healing practitioners to help support the work we are doing in sessions. I personally research and meet with anyone I hope to offer as additional resources to my client. They must first and foremost have a good framework and understanding of trauma. I a
The brain utilizes our past experiences to provide information on how to interpret our emotions in the present. The brain is really good at relying on the past to make guesses about the future. As we develop throughout our lives, the brain can learn new things and develop a new lens, that’s why adults tend to be more emotionally- regulated than toddlers. But, trauma very easily disrupts this progression, and we can easily develop triggers associated with particular emotions t
A client once said she had been frustrated at times in therapy because she expected to come in and just ‘rip open all my trauma’. Of course that is understandable when someone has been coping with symptoms of trauma such as hyper-vigilance, intrusive thoughts, and deep buried shame for a long time. The problem with that way of thinking is that in order to truly heal, we need to change the paradigm completely. We need to slow down a bit. I don’t mean to say that therapy should
I often notice my own tendency to withdraw from others when I am feeling pain, which only serves to make me feel even more isolated, alone, and without the love I am needing at the time. In my psychotherapy practice I see this often, many clients report the natural desire to pull back when they are hurting. With mindfulness and introspection we can begin to see that this desire to avoid pain is the thing that often keeps us from healing and having the connection we really nee
Self-care is so much more than a bubble bath or a walk in the park. Self-care is a way of relating to yourself lovingly, kindly with acceptance. Life is hard enough as it is, factor in trauma, abuse, sexual assault, discrimination, micro-aggressions, disorder eating, body issues, poverty, and/or mental illness etc. and self-care is not just something nice to do for yourself, self-care is essential for your life. So, how can you care for yourself in a way that is truly transfo
A lot of people get stuck believing their past experiences will dictate their lives, but studies show even trauma can help us grow sometimes. The term “post traumatic growth” was coined when countless people demonstrated that sometimes we come out stronger than before. Not to downplay the very real symptoms of trauma, but to consider that there is hope on the other side. Sometimes even a better way of being or experiencing in the world. http://time.com/3967885/how-trauma-can-
We know that being a minority causes stress whether through outright discrimination or subtle micro-aggressions. We’ve also been told: “it gets better!”. This is true whether your experience is being a POC, a woman, a member of the LGBTQA community, or a person in a larger body. There are many ways to be and experience life as a minority and even more ways that can be difficult or even traumatic. But, what are the strengths and growth we have from being a minority? That is a