Some events in life change you forever.
There is simply no going back, there can only be moving forward. The path towards lasting recovery and meaningful healing is complicated; and while there can be similar milestones along the way, each person's journey is unique. Our work together is built on recreating an environment where you can experience safety and trust. Although the healing process does not provide a bypass around the pain, I will encourage you to be steadfast in your commitment to your recovery, your growth, and your pursuit of a life that moves you from surviving to thriving. This is the essence of bravely blooming and is the underlying focus at the core of each interaction that we share. Yes, there is a long road ahead of you, but you are going to shed the parts that no longer serve you and you will witness a transformation of your spirit. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you heal. You are learning a new way of being honest with yourself and the world. You will learn to identify and effectively manage symptoms and triggers, and regulate your uncomfortable or unhelpful physiological responses or destructive urges. Eventually, you will speak your truth, and find that you are stronger and more resilient than you ever could have imagined. The human mind is incredibly complex, and what we will do to survive is nothing short of phenomenal. At some point in your recovery, you may decide that you are ready to open your heart to fully feel and reconnect with your greater purpose. This is the beauty of the blooming spirit. Your life is waiting for you.
Below I have outlined some general points that we will address in therapy, as well as supports and resources that you can refer to for comfort or additional information if you are struggling in between sessions. Some times It can be helpful to know what to expect. For a handout explaining common reactions to traumatic events, Click Here.
Scroll down for additional information on what sessions with me might be like. There are also videos explaining symptoms, discussing grounding techniques, and videos of survivors' telling their own trauma stories.
What you can expect from early Sessions.
Preparation for the recovery marathon requires that your build your endurance and ability tolerate distress. No one goes into a marathon without training and preparing physically and mentally, and trauma recovery is similar in that way. You literally need to train your mind and body to respond differently in order to sustain the emotional intensity of this line of therapeutic work. Early Interventions will typically include psychoeducation and teaching of coping skills to regulate your physiological "fight or flight" responses (Scroll down to the bottom or Click the following links for information on grounding techniques and self-soothing skills: deep breathing, mindfulness, and relaxation training).
If our conversations have already come into contact with elements of your trauma story, you are quite literally stirring up your memories and possibly re-awakening unexpressed grief or pain that may have been dormant or suppressed out of the mind's conscious reach. This is because your mind did what it needed to do in order to survive at the time. For some people, their trauma experience may be fresh and symptoms may be acute or ongoing without a period of suppression. Either way, you may find yourself feeling emotionally overwhelmed or "flooded;" you may find yourself feeling on edge and experiencing a temporary increase in the frequency of flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, or heightened anxiety, panic, and hyper-vigilance. These responses are predictable for survivors starting therapy, and this is why I will spend a lot of time in the beginning sessions teaching you how to tell when your body is going into ALARM mode and practicing breathing skills and grounding techniques to calm you down and help you keep yourself safe in the beginning sessions. Nothing helpful can be accomplished if you are not feeling safe, so together we must make your Physical and Emotional Safety a primary treatment goal at all times. More information on symptoms can be found by clicking here. Michele Rosenthal has several educational resources on her website: Click here for detailed info on PTSD symptoms or just Scroll down to see one of her videos.
At home, you may have a hard time resting or sleeping, or you may experience some bad dreams. This is your mind's way of trying to reprocess your memories. It is especially important at this time to take good care of yourself. Make sure you are eating well, maintaining your fitness routine, and regular SLEEP is Crucial. Sleep-deprivation can put a person on the fast track to psychosis, but what a dilemma!, Who can be expected to sleep with acute PTSD symptoms thrashing about in the crevices of one's mind?? Part of you may feel forever "on guard" unable to calm down or rest, unable to feel safe. We may discuss options to help assist you with sleep and management of physical anxiety symptoms. You may be interested in a referral to a psychiatrist for a medication for anxiety attacks or sleep, or you may be interested in other method of sleep. In our sessions, I will talk to you about herbal supplements for relaxation or sleep, like Melatonin, GABA, or passion flower; and we will also discuss different medications that you can ask your doctor about. For more information on sleep problems related to PTSD, click here. or Click here.
The important thing to remember about symptom management is that you have control of your treatment. Depending on your level of readiness, we will proceed slowly and cautiously or more intensely. Sessions can be scheduled for once/week or more than that depending on mutual availability. This page provides some resources to help you better understand and identify your PTSD symptoms and the functions they serve. You can also refer to my Self-Help Library for recommended readings about trauma and books lists recommended by other trauma professionals. In this way, you will be able to pace yourself as you continue to process and make meaning of your experiences and your responses.
Already you are beginning the process of choosing adaptive responses that fit who you are today and the current lifestyle that you aim to lead. Welcome to your Trauma Recovery journey!!
Assessment Tools that You Can Bring to Sessions!