Abuse or neglect in childhood affects your life as an adult.
As a child, when someone you thought you could trust, who was supposed to protect and care for you instead hurts you, the effects can last a lifetime. Maybe you’ve tried not thinking about it, tried letting go of the past and moving on, but that doesn’t usually work long term. It would be great to be able to enjoy your life, your relationships, yourself, but it’s hard to know how.
Here are a few common indicators of unresolved childhood abuse or neglect:
- Unhealthy or harmful patterns
- Avoiding thoughts or feelings which are distressing or uncomfortable
- Intrusive and unwanted thoughts or flashbacks
- Spacing out or feeling disconnected from your body
- Sleep difficulties
- Feelings of shame and guilt
- Difficulty with self-confidence
- Feeling helpless
- Recurring physical pain or discomfort
Healing is possible.
You don’t have to continue to suffer alone, struggle with sadness or worry, or feel disconnected from your family, friends, or life. I can help you learn how your past is affecting you now. Together, we will figure out what works best for you so you can find relief and true healing.
How do I know if I’ve had trauma?
There are various definitions, but, in general, trauma is:
..a real or perceived emotionally painful, distressing, or shocking event, experience, or threat which overwhelms your ability to cope at the time..
This includes events most people would define as traumatic: car accidents, natural disasters, and assaults. But trauma is also subjective. What is traumatic for one person may not be for another. If you’ve noticed any of these during or immediately after a particular event or experience, it could be trauma: shock, amnesia, fright, helplessness, confusion, or feeling disconnected from your body or the experience.
Why am I still struggling after all these years?
After a traumatic experience, most people try to avoid thinking about it, hoping the memories will simply fade. Unfortunately, this usually doesn’t happen. While ordinary – non-traumatic – memory becomes integrated into our lives much like a story, traumatic memories cannot do this. They are like a skipping record, playing the same thing over and over again. This is why remembering what happened can sometimes feel like you are reliving everything all over again.
But here’s where it gets a little more complicated: your brain can be reminded of past trauma without you even realizing it. So even when you aren’t consciously aware your brain is remembering past trauma, you can still feel or react as if you are reliving the trauma, which is often very confusing.
This is where good therapy can help. It can help you find better ways to deal with the effects of trauma so they don’t continue to have a hold on your life.
Beginning counseling is not always easy, and you may have some questions or concerns.
I don’t think talking about what happened to me will help.
You are right. Simply talking about it may not help and can even hurt. Because of the way in which our brains process trauma means that talking about it can actually re-traumatize you if there is not an effective, safe therapeutic framework in place. Eventually, and at your own pace, talking will be important. But we will also use evidence-based non-verbal approaches to help you heal. We’ll tap into your inherent interests and strengths to figure out the best treatment plan for you. With this approach, the facts of what happened remain, but the overwhelming emotions lose their grip, offering lasting relief and healing.
I’m worried if I start talking about it, I’ll just lose it.
Nearly everyone I’ve worked with worries about this. Memories of past traumatic experiences are notorious for being overwhelming and upsetting, and it is common for people to feel like it’s happening all over again, right then and there.
How do I help with this fear?
It is important for you to know that you set the pace and timing, and you can decide what you want to talk about and when. There are all kinds of different skills and techniques we can use so it won’t be so overwhelming. Some people like having my therapy dog, Cooper, there to help them feel calmer. Other people find it helpful to sit or walk outside during some or all of their sessions. Trauma therapy can be difficult, but it does not have to be re-traumatizing. Together we will find ways to help you heal safely.
I’ve never gone to therapy before and I’m nervous.
Very understandable. I think most people feel this way, actually. After all, there are plenty of other things you could be doing with your time than sitting in a counseling office, opening up to a complete stranger. I can tell you that it won’t always feel that way. My style is gentle, calm, and unhurried, and clients tell me they value my warmth and genuineness. We’ll go at a pace that’s comfortable for you. Together, we’ll figure out an approach that best helps you find relief and a better sense of peacefulness in your life.
I’ve been helping people heal from trauma for many years.
Helping people to find healing from childhood abuse and neglect has been my passion for the past 10 years. I continue to improve my skills and knowledge by regularly attending professional workshops and conferences and regularly reading relevant clinical books and research articles. I’m passionate about helping people with the difficult work of healing from childhood abuse and neglect, and I plan on continuing this work for many years to come.
How are you different from other therapists?
My approach is a bit different from many trauma therapists. While traditional talk therapies are necessary and important, I also incorporate newer, innovative approaches and techniques that are grounded in current trauma research. Namely, I offer two unique treatment options, outdoor therapy, both at my office and at local parks, and animal-assisted therapy.
What’s the next step? What are my options?
If you are ready to begin counseling, you can give me a call to discuss some of the difficulties you’ve been struggling with, and we will both have the opportunity to determine if we are a good fit.
If you aren’t quite ready to begin counseling yet or if you would simply like to get more information and updates, I welcome you to download my free e-books or sign up on my blog to receive regular, occasional information from me via email.
Questions? Please feel free to contact me at (830) 613-1650 or by email.