We believe that there are many ways in which individuals’ can enjoy a more positive, healthy, and fulfilling life by working on those parts of themselves that need support.
Individuals who have experienced trauma develop certain strategies for coping. Very often these survival strategies, though necessary at the time they developed, are harmful or self-destructive and eventually the solutions become their own problems. The solutions lead us to limitations and restriction rather than expansion and growth.
Some of these self-destructive coping strategies are drug and alcohol abuse, anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeating, self-injury (cutting), sex addiction, shopping, and gambling. For others, maladaptive coping styles include somatic symptoms, anxiety disorders and depressive disorders.
Allan Schore – “If we grow up in an environment that does not nurture our emotional self, then the development of the emotional brain can be compromised. As a consequence, we might not be able to learn how to regulate our emotions in a healthy fashion, and could too frequently be easily overwhelmed by them.”
To heal and recover from these self-destructive patterns, we learn to integrate our thoughts, feelings, and sensations and achieve wholeness. Through the therapeutic process, we learn to expand what is described as our “window of tolerance.” We learn how to transform the pain into thoughts, words, images, and during this integration process we become mindful of the effects of the pain on our bodies and spirit, we become conscious of what is the present moment and what is haunting from the past. This awareness supports the growth of agency and empowerment supporting us as we shift to healthier patterns.
As we begin to feel safe expressing and feeling emotions, and to learn sensations and feelings of anxiety or depression, we no longer need to displace or replace these feelings. By learning to be in the moment, and not time traveling to the past or future, we can distinguish what is pain from a present hurt or pain from past trauma and develop tools (resources) for calmness and expansion of confidence. We can come to experience a sense of ourselves as whole and regulated beings with connections to self and others through attunement and trust.
We utilize the Three-Stage Trauma Therapy model in our treatment. Stage 1 of treatment begins with work on basic stabilization for a patient who is experiencing dysregulation. Stage 2 work involves processing and grieving traumatic memories, and Stage 3 is involved with reconnecting with oneself and the world.
We believe that psychological difficulties affect an individual’s body, mind, and spirit. Thus, recovery also requires a holistic framework that targets all aspects of an individual. It is our belief that trauma-informed therapy offers individuals the chance to learn how to cope with feelings, emotions, and relational experiences in new and healthful ways that can lead to embracing life and increase hope towards a more fulfilling and promising future.