There are so many ways to "treat trauma." But what does that even mean? Many older therapy styles would desensitize the person to their experience, but going through life numb, constantly having to talk yourself out of your actual state of being is a tough way to live. I don't "treat" trauma, but rather I will work with you to safely reconnect to your body so you can cope with the sensations of trauma. Once those skills are set, we then can process the trauma gently, releasing the imprint that has taken hold of your nervous system.
I often work with people who have gone to multiple therapists before me in hopes to reduce the intensity of their PTSD. They often feel hopeless by the time they reach me. Being failed over and over again is a trauma within itself. For many of these clients, they are shocked when they start to dive into their trauma narrative and I stop them. Somehow, the harmful idea that someone has to share their trauma story to find healing has taken root. I have worked with clients who have never shared their trauma with me and have had extreme reduction in their PTSD symptoms. When we are able to recognize when we are triggered, we can actively start to soothe our nervous system. So that's where we start--learning how to take care of your body.
I cannot guarantee what your path will look like nor can I promise you any results. What I can do is join with you on your journey and offer you tools that may resonate with you.
Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM)
TRM is honestly the closest thing I have seen to magic. I have been using TRM both professionally and personally for half a decade. The core of TRM are six wellness skills. These skills help you to learn how to listen to your body so it can guide you in taking care of it.
Trauma is a chameleon that seems to twist its way into all aspects of our lives. It can make the body feel so unsafe that we choose to "leave"or ignore the sensations in our body, which in turn means that the trauma gets "louder" in hopes of protecting us. For that is what trauma is--it is trying to keep us safe by making us feel unsafe at all times. By creating stronger, healthier coping skills to assure our body that its safe, the trauma can slowly lessen its hold on us.
TRM was created be Elaine Miller-Karas and is now practiced all over the world. The Community Resiliency Model, which is the first six skills of TRM, have been adopted by the Dalai Lama's peace initiative and the VA. TRM is non-hierarchical and stresses that trauma is physiology, not weakness.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is one of only three interventions recognized by the World Health Organization as a treatment for PTSD. First developed in the 1980s by Francine Shapiro, it utilizes bilateral stimulation (quickly moving from one side of the body to the other) to unlock unprocessed trauma.
Our bodies do this for us naturally when we enter the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage in our sleep cycle and we are able to process most of our experiences through that. Sometimes though, an experience threatens our sense of safety to such a degree that our bodies cannot process it naturally and it gets "stuck" in our nervous system. It's like when you get a piece of mail and aren't quite sure where to put it so it just becomes clutter on the kitchen table--always getting in the way. EMDR is able to target that experience so that you can naturally find a place for it. It's no longer out on the kitchen table, but properly stored as a memory squarely in the past.