The word ‘trauma’ is not very appealing to most people. Many fear the word itself, as if speaking the word aloud has power to hurt. Yet, I have found that naming an experience as traumatic often brings empowerment.
Our view of trauma is complex yet simple. What is traumatic for one person may not be for another person. In some situations, a traumatic impact can simply be linked to an experience that was completely unexpected, that came out of nowhere. And then there are other experiences of trauma that are more complex and repetitive, and thus hold a deeper impact.
Whether trauma is a one time experience, or chronic from a young age, it is stored in our body and brain in many different ways, both unconsciously and consciously. When we experience a traumatic incident, our being has an automatic response to help us survive on some level. This is totally unique to each person in how their being has registered these experiences. When someone has lingering traumatic symptoms, they can present in many unexpected ways: One might have a recurring ‘inaccurate’ emotional response to a situation that seems out of place; they may have actual visceral flashbacks of an event; or they may have a persistent sense of anxiety or depression. This list is not exhaustive of traumatic symptomology, but all of these can indicate an unintegrated traumatic experience that continues to have power in the present, even though it is a past event.
It is my belief that we as humans have within us what we need to heal and move toward wholeness. As a result, I believe that traumatic experiences do not need to hold the power in our lives that they sometimes do. Over the last ten years it has become a passion of mine to co-create goals and experiences with my clients that can aid in the healing of trauma. I use many experiential and expressive forms of therapy to allow the brain to integrate these experiences in new ways. Some of these include: Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), art therapy, sand tray therapy, and Somatic Respiratory Integration (SRI), visualization and meditation.
The research of Dr. Candace Pert has informed my strong belief that trauma is stored in the cells of our body. With this understanding, I have recently been trained in trauma sensitive yoga. Re.Pose offers restorative therapeutic classes to help the body release and reconnect in a new and safe way. (Bessel van der Kolk research).
Each person’s journey towards healing is completely different. It is in the full validation of their experience, with understanding that they have what they need to heal, that one can move into an new experience of oneself and one’s life.