Trauma Counseling and EMDR for Women
Following a traumatic event, women are twice as likely to develop PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) when compared to men. Women who have suffered trauma tend to disconnect and turn inward with their symptoms: depression, jumpiness and anxiety, trouble connecting to and feeling emotion, and avoidance of reminders of the trauma. Additionally, trauma and PTSD symptoms can cause us to feel different and alone, and to feel as if no one understands.
Trauma has this way of affecting all aspects of ourselves and our lives. Surviving trauma changes us, sometimes leaving us feeling overwhelmed and stuck. Trauma therapy can help you feel better, become more productive, and let go of the negative patterns that keep you stuck. Healing past trauma can change everything.
Trauma affects women differently
Let your hopes, not your hurts,
shape your future.
– Robert Schuller
Why is trauma such a big deal?
As humans, we are geared to move forward and thrive when life goes well. When we’re faced with traumatic events or extended periods of stress, our natural balance is disrupted, we become stuck, and symptoms can develop. These symptoms can include anxiety, depression, PTSD, behavioral changes, shame/guilt, among others. When left unchecked, these symptoms can have a negative impact on our quality of life and can lead to unsatisfying relationships, ineffective decision-making, destructive behaviors, employment problems, or poor self-esteem. Trauma therapy and EMDR are very effective at reducing the trauma symptoms and restoring our natural balance.
What about repeated trauma and Complex PTSD?
So-called "Little t" traumas
Complex PTSD is not the same as PTSD. There is a belief out there that all traumas are the same. While all traumas are valid, there is a difference between being the victim of assault once (a single-incident trauma, possibly leading to PTSD) and being the victim of assault twice a day for a year (chronic trauma, possibly leading to Complex PTSD.) Certainly it is hard to grasp the experience of daily assaults for a year, but this repetitiveness is often what survivors of sexual abuse and spousal or child abuse face.
When trauma is repeated, we adapt to survive it. These adaptations are vital to our day-to-day survival of repeated trauma, and the adaptations become woven into our personalities and affect our lives for years to come. Often these adaptations are seen in Complex PTSD symptoms. Healing complex, repeated trauma involves not just healing from the traumatic incidents themselves. It also involves uncovering and reworking what we've done to adapt to the trauma, along with grieving what was lost as you focused on survival.
When we hear the word "trauma," we often think of the big things: an assault, an accident, or the death of a loved one. We often don't think of the "smaller" traumas that we all have in our pasts. These "little" traumas can include relationship loss, job loss, betrayal, bullying, among other things. These are called "Little t" traumas, and they can actually have a big impact.
Trauma, whether big or "little," changes how we see ourselves, and these traumatic experiences change how we see the world. Because of these changes, we are forced to adapt. These adaptations work well to protect us in the short term, but they can often become obstacles that can keep us stuck in the long term. The "little t" traumas also matter.
What is trauma therapy with EMDR?
Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a revolutionary therapeutic approach to healing trauma and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) EMDR is a non-invasive collaboration between the therapist and client. It is highly effective in healing trauma and alleviating PTSD symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, irritability, and excessive guilt. EMDR targets the traumatic memory and the accompanying emotions that are stored in the nervous system. In counseling sessions, EMDR allows the brain to successfully process the traumatic memory, which allows healing and can alleviate PTSD symptoms. We have over a decade of experience helping women heal trauma through using EMDR.
What are the symptoms of PTSD in women?
If you are struggling with anything in the following list, trauma counseling can help:
> Feeling emotionally numb and detached from others
> Hopelessness about the future
> Guilt, shame, self-blame, and/or low self-esteem
> Sleep difficulties
> Feeling jumpy and irritable
> Depression and anxiety
> Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that correspond to the trauma
> Intrusive memories of the trauma, flashbacks, or nightmares
> Inability to remember key aspects of the traumatic event
While traumatic events can threaten our ability to function in the current framework of our daily lives, trauma therapy presents an opportunity for growth and radical emotional healing.