- Abuse (Sexual, Physical, Verbal)
- Auto and other accidents
- Medical Trauma
- Trauma from growing up in an unstable or dysfunctional home
Trauma gets stored in the body if it is not processed soon after a traumatic incident. If the trauma is chronic such as being raised in abusive home, the effect of the trauma is more pervasive and often deeply and unconsciously ingrained. When trauma is not worked through and healed, it can be reignited by anything that resembles the original trauma. Such triggers often cause people to react from unconscious old patterns that are damaging to the self, relationships, work, and parenting. Even severe trauma can be healed and people can make amazing recoveries. It takes working through painful feelings at a pace that feels safe with the help of an experienced clinician, as well as taking care of oneself outside of therapy.
For complex trauma such as from one's childhood, Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) is transformative and a gentle, non-overwhelming approach. As renowned trauma expert, Bessel van der Kolk M.D., author of The Body Keeps the Score, said, "For me , discovering IFS was a breakthrough."
Often, I approach working with anxiety or trauma by combining IFS with EMDR. EMDR is now recommended as the treatment of choice for PTSD by the American Psychological Association, the Department of Defense, and the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies. EMDR has been shown to enable people to access trauma in a way that is not overwhelming. It works by merging what we know rationally such as, “I am safe now” with what we feel emotionally, so that distressing thoughts and feelings can be healed. After this, the focus becomes strengthening positive, healthy beliefs about yourself, allowing confidence, joy and new insights to emerge.