Areas of Expertise
Not every traumatic experience causes trauma. Trauma is a result of the stories and messages that we tell ourselves about the experience. Did you feel powerless, unsafe, silent or stuck? These feelings and messages can compound over time leaving us feeling powerless and scared in life and not just specific situations. To survive traumatic experiences, particularly in relationships, we cultivate coping strategies that help us manage the chaos. Although these strategies, like hypervigilance and codependency (among others) help for a short time eventually, they stop working and add to our pain. The symptoms of trauma: psychological distress, depression, anxiety, avoidance, difficult relationships and physical symptoms are the result of experience and can be greatly alleviated through therapy.
Each of us seeks to be bonded to significant others in our lives. This begins with our earliest attachment to parents and guardians. We rely on this connection for safety and security. And over time, our attachments and experiences within those relationships set the stage for future connection. When we attach securely to caregivers we become flexible and open to learning and change. We generally have a positive view of both self and others and trust that the world is good.
On the other hand, when we develop an insecure attachment, we struggle to develop a sense of self, struggle with rigid thinking about dependence, mistrust, and personal worthiness. Though these feelings often stem from childhood other important relationships can help or harm our feelings of attachment. Abusive relationships, betrayal, and addiction often cause us to question the strength of our attachments. Just as negative experiences can shape our attachment so too can positive experiences. Through therapy, attachment, trust and our sense of self can be repaired.
Loss is an inevitable part of life but suffering doesn't have to be. It is true, that the price we pay for connection and love is an eventual broken heart. This doesn't always happen through the death of our loved one or the end of a cherished relationship. We can also experience grief when we lose our health or have expectations for our life that won't be met. However, as we move through the tasks of grief we can learn to honor our experience, bind the broken pieces of our heart, and create a life where grief, hope, and joy can reside simultaneously. Healing from loss is not a linear process and can feel lonely and isolating. Our feelings are complicated and difficult to share. Therapy can become a lifeline of connection and compassion as you process your loss and heal your heart.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
This evidenced-based short term treatment has been shown to produce successful outcomes for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Likewise, it has been shown to successfully treat depression, anxiety, grief, other mental health problems and somatic symptoms. The EMDR approach targets past experience, current triggers, and potential challenges. Successful treatment often results in the reduction of present symptoms, a decrease or elimination of distress from disturbing memories, improved sense of self and relief the from effects of trauma on the body.