"What is trauma and how does trauma therapy address it?"
"Who do you provide trauma therapy to?" I provide trauma therapy to adults and to children. Where traumatic events are impacting a couple then trauma therapy can be included as part of the couples counselling.
"What causes trauma?" We often think of specific events in your life that still distress you or your child. These could be experiences such as car accidents, natural disasters, surgeries, sexual or physical assault, or near death experiences. These are often what we think of when we speak of 'traumatic experiences'.
But traumatic responses in us can also have develop from situations less easy to define and that may have lasted for a long time. These include childhood challenges, ongoing work stress and burnout, bullying, secondary trauma (being around those who are traumatised), carer fatigue.
"How can I know if I or my child 'has trauma'?" We all have overwhelming or 'traumatic' situations in life. These are only a problem if they are still affecting our lives. Sometimes we know that there is a situation that still haunts us or distresses us, or that we are easily 'triggered' by situations that remind us of that old experience.
Other indicators that you are carrying unresolved traumatic responses may include:
Anxiety and/or depression
Insomnia or digestive issues
Chronic illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME, Fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders
Chronic or unexplained pain that is hard to treat
"What is the prognosis for trauma?" Traumatic responses are no longer a life sentence. For most people there can always be improvement, sometimes deeply transformational at the level of self, health, life situation and relationships.
There are many ways of addressing trauma from EMDR to psychodynamic approaches. Somatic Experiencing is my primary framework.
"What does SE trauma therapy look like?" SE works primarily with tracking sensations in the body. We might start with a situation or memory and see how that shows up in the body and then start facilitating shifting awareness, bringing in sound or movement to support the system to begin to renegotiate and come out of fight, flight, or freeze states.
SE is not a trauma therapy that asks you to relive the trauma, the idea is to renegotiate the trauma so it no longer dominates your life. This means we often work slowly and gently. Where you are exploring bigger feeling states we are always wanting to ensure that you feel in command and safe with what is happening.
SE Bodywork SE can also be provided through bodywork. This is always discussed together, how and when it might help, what it involves and you decide if you want to try it.
SE bodywork involves the client remaining fully clothed and may be standing, seated or on lying down on a massage table. The practitioner places their hands on agreed to areas of the body (usually, joints, head, torso) and the client and practitioner notice what is happening in the body. This can deepen the experience or bring in helpful support to you and your body as you move through. AND no one ever has to have bodywork to have SE. Bodywork is not for everyone.
"What other frameworks do you use?" Integral Somatic Psychology: Key features include noticing how emotions arise in the body and expanding these 'feelings' through more of the body to improve emotional regulation. Psychodynamic (from a self-psychology perspective): Key features include an emphasis on empathic attunement to help repair relational trauma. Please note: While both of these frameworks include the word 'psychology', I am not a psychologist.
For more information on frameworks please check out the Frameworks page.