What kind of issues does this resolve?
When there are things from our past that are unresolved, it affects all aspects of life, including our physical health, our emotions, our self esteem and our relationships. Here are some of the ways that trauma shows up.
Being stuck in flight mode – anxiety, panic attacks, avoiding relationships or commitment.
Being stuck in fight mode – anger, frustration, high conflict relationships, not being able to switch off, not being able to sleep.
Being stuck in freeze mode – depression, dissociation, disconnection from self or things around you, and procrastination.
Negative self beliefs
‘I am not worthy’
‘I am not safe’
‘Other people are not safe’
‘Other people will hurt me’
Evidence shows that childhood trauma and PTSD are connected to many health issues. This includes
difficulties loosing weight
chronic fatigue and other auto immune disorders.
For more information on the link between trauma and physical health you can read these studies:
Peter Levine famously says “Trauma is a problem of attachment.” Another way of saying this is that trauma h always has a relational element to it. Our early relationships with our care givers are seen as creating the templates for how we relate to other people as grown ups (no pressure there parents!).
Later in life, if we experience trauma, a part of the experience is how we were (or were not) supported by others. Our history can influence our ability to trust others and our ability to communicate our needs, and respect the needs of others. These are crucial skills for forming secure, healthy relationships.
Should I see you even if I don't need trauma therapy?
Although I specialize in trauma, I also work with many clients who do not have trauma and are looking for support with relationships, problem-solving, or a host of other issues. If you have more questions about this, feel free to contact me here.
Why do you do this work?
In working with clients I have seen the transformational results this work achieves with all kinds of physical, emotional and relational issues.
At a more personal level, I believe the world changes one nervous system at a time. As we resolve our own trauma, we project less anger and fear into the world, and this absolutely changes the world.
“Anytime anyone makes a shift, the shift affects everyone else – on a cellular level." Peter Levine.
What is a ‘trauma therapist’?
Trauma therapists specialise in working on how the past impacts the present. It may be an event that happened in adulthood, like an automobile accident or an illness. Or it may be a recurring painful pattern that stems from adverse childhood experiences. Often within ‘good’ childhoods there are things we learnt from our parents/care-givers that are unhelpful in later life. And in other situations, there was not much good in our childhood, and we have had to rely on ourselves alone to get us through.
The work includes identifying core beliefs created by negative past experiences (such as ‘I am not safe’ or ‘I am not good enough’), and working with the body and the nervous system to process these beliefs.
One of the core tenants of this work is to always start with what is working and feels OK, and only gradually work with what is painful. A great analogy for this is that you should always be standing on the shore (the safe place) and putting your foot in the water (the trauma) and never feel you are being swept out to sea by the trauma. If that doesn’t feel very possible to you, we will work to develop resources for safety before doing any other work.
What makes a good therapist?
In my humble opinion, all therapists should be continuing to go to trainings to learn more, and should do their own work to identify blind spots. Because of the complexities of this work, it is also an industry standard that all therapists have consultation/supervision about their work. This is something it is always worth asking when you are choosing a new therapist.
Beyond this, it is often a question of good fit. Each of us has our own imprints and experiences that lead us to feel that one person is safe and competent and another is less so. The more we can attune to our own inner wisdom on this, the more we can find practitioners that can meet our needs. The work can also go more rapidly when your own nervous system feels it is in the right place.
To help decide if I am the right fit for you, you can get more info here on how I work and learn more about me.
How long does therapy take?
There is a wide range of factors that affect how long therapy will take including what your goals are and what type of therapy is used.
EMDR tends to be a fast-paced therapy, and Somatic Experiencing is much slower, other therapies also take different amounts of time.
Each person is different and can heal at a different rate, depending on their history, their current situation and what resources they have. Resources are things that can help us feel safe and secure, including support from others, financial support, health, access to nature, pets, a love of music or art and many others.
All of which is to say, therapy length will be guided by your goals, and your capacity. I will always do my best to listen to your needs and desires in this area.
I don’t want to talk about my childhood – is this for me?
Yes and no. Often clients want to work on a particular issue in the present without opening up old wounds. If the issue has no connection to the past, then certainly this is possible – and often leads to effective and fast results.
If the current issue does have roots in the past (for example a pattern of romantic relationships failing that has its roots in patterns from childhood), then there may be a need to look at where or how the pattern started. However, my aim is that we would always do this consciously and with a tight focus on what we need to know in order to relieve the problem in the present.
Why do you charge for cancelled sessions?
Because therapy is hard work, it is common for clients to sometimes want to avoid coming to sessions, especially when therapy is hard. Therefore, it is standard across the field to charge for missed appointments. It is partly a way to motivate people showing up to do the work that will help them heal.
My policy is that you can always cancel an appointment with 24 hours notice. Additionally, within the 24 hour period, you can call me and, if I have availability, I will reschedule you within the same week at no additional charge.
For more information on prices and policies, click here.
What about severe symptoms of trauma?
I do work with clients who suffer “severe” symptoms of trauma such as hearing voices or feeling like they are out of their body. Often these experiences can seem frightening but when shared and understood within the context of how trauma affects our sense of self, they can become much more manageable.