Online Trauma, EMDR and IFS Therapy in San Francisco  |  Beyond Words Psychotherapy  |  44 Tehama St, San Francisco, CA 94105  |  Tel: 510-735-8868

Overcoming Trauma

Overcoming Trauma

Heal from Past Traumas and Open the Door to Your Future!

Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, stress, depression, or relationship difficulties, there’s a good chance the issues you’re experiencing are caused (at least in part) by the defense mechanisms you’ve developed to protect you in the past.

You may be wrestling with painful memories, disturbing emotions, or a sense of danger that you just can’t seem to overcome.

You may be overly aggressive or defensive in your relationships with others, or easily startled, panicky, agitated, irritable, moody, or have difficulties sleeping or concentrating.

Or alternatively, you may feel emotionally detached, numb, or incapable of trusting others.

All of these things can be traced back to prior traumas…

And I know just how debilitating these things can be, both for your relationships and for your life.

After a while, if the people and things that once brought joy to your life seem to lose their meaning… if you have difficulties managing your emotions, thinking straight, or keeping up with your day-to-day responsibilities… you may find yourself wondering how you’re going to keep on… well, going on.

Fortunately, you do NOT need to keep feeling this way… help is available!

Unfortunately, many people minimize, prior traumatic experiences. Many of us even forget – at least on a conscious level – that such events ever occurred.

In fact, in my work as a trauma psychotherapist, it is not at all uncommon for someone to seek my professional help with anxiety, or relationship or anger management issues, or feelings of depression and hopelessness, only to uncover the traumatic roots of these issues during the course of our work together…

Why Trauma Lies at the Root of So Many Issues

As human beings, we all process information and experiences on several different levels: mental, emotional, and physical.

Just as our digestive systems extract and process the vitamins and minerals we need from the food we eat, our brains and nervous systems process our experiences and extract and store the thoughts, images, emotions, and sensations as memories and the lessons we take away from them.

When we eat unhealthy or dangerous foods that are bodies can’t process correctly, physical discomfort and disease can occur.

Similarly, if unhealthy or traumatic experiences aren’t processed correctly, they can lead to a wide variety of mental, emotional, and relational issues.

And just to be clear, an experience doesn’t need to involve physical harm or a threat to your personal safety in order to be traumatic…

Any experience that makes you feel overwhelmed, alone, vulnerable, helpless, or shatters your sense of security can lead to emotional trauma.

When such a traumatic event occurs – no matter how big or small it may seem (from being disparaged or neglected by parents or teased by peers to physical violence or sexual abuse) – strong negative feelings or dissociation can interfere with our ability to process these experiences.

In other words, instead of our brains processing and integrating these experiences, our brains continue to prepare our nervous systems and bodies for defensive action… and those defensive mechanisms can remain indefinitely.

The pictures, sounds, thoughts, and feelings associated with the traumatic event can become locked inside of us… separate parts of ourselves that, if left unaddressed, can take on unconscious lives of their own.

It is this “trapped,” unprocessed distress that interferes with our ability to function normally.

While we may intellectually comprehend that the past is the past, our brains can’t help but continue playing back those trapped memories in response to whatever it is we’re experiencing in the present. And we’re often not even consciously aware that’s what we’re doing.

So, how can you process and reintegrate these trapped memories in order to begin moving forward again?!?

Getting the Help You Need and Deserve

If you’ve experienced any type of trauma, you most likely try to repress your feelings, consciously or unconsciously, for fear of being flooded with emotions should you express them…

You may try to numb the pain through the use, and abuse, of food and drugs, or you may try to protect yourself from pain by retreating and distancing yourself from others.

But whatever you try, keeping an emotional lid in place becomes more and more difficult over time. And it doesn’t do anything to help resolve the traumatic memories that are the source of the feelings you’re trying to cope with.

Unfortunately, seeking professional help can take tremendous courage for those suffering from prior traumas.

When you no longer feel safe… When you feel hurt and betrayed by those you previously trusted… The thought of trusting someone else can be a daunting proposition.

However, in order to heal from trauma, you’ll have to confront and resolve the feelings and memories you’d rather avoid. Otherwise, these feelings and memories will return again and again, unbidden and uncontrollable.

Fortunately, somatic, body-oriented counseling and psychotherapy can provide the help and support you need and deserve, not only to better cope with and control the flow of emotions, but also to access the inner resources and resilience you already have available inside yourself, so you can relieve yourself from the pain and move forward in your life.

Why Body-Centered Trauma Treatment?

While counseling and psychotherapy can take many forms, both personally and professionally I’ve found somatic counseling to be the fastest and most effective trauma treatments.

Somatic counseling and therapy doesn’t describe a single therapeutic technique. Rather, somatic therapy is an integrative approach to healing and growth that incorporates a wide variety of methodologies, including traditional “talk” therapy and body-oriented healing techniques, including:

It’s important to remember that most traumatic responses occur below the level of our conscious awareness.

Because our responses to traumatic experiences lie in the more primitive parts of our brains and in our autonomic nervous systems, using higher cognitive functions to simply “talk through” these experiences is often ineffective.

Unfortunately, the physical aspects of trauma are often overlooked and unaddressed in its treatment, even though effective trauma treatment needs to address every aspect of traumatic stress: mental, emotional, and physical.

The use of somatic, body-oriented therapy in the treatment of trauma resolves this issue, allowing you to create true healing and growth by helping you integrate the physical, emotional, and mental experiences you’ve had and the various wounded parts of yourself in the context of the safe, trusting, and respectful working relationship we develop together.

In fact, I’ve created Beyond Words Psychotherapy to help people like you do just this… because healing isn’t achieved through talking alone. We all need to learn to integrate the various aspects of ourselves (body, mind, and spirit).

By using the innate memory and potential for healing that exists in our physical beings alongside our higher cognitive functions, somatic therapy can help you not only understand that you can take care of yourself and restore wellness to your life, but actually feel and experience that your ability to relax or take action is under your control.

Perhaps better still… while there are no “quick fixes” for overcoming trauma, many of my clients begin to see significant improvements within just 8-10 sessions!

This isn’t to say trauma therapy is easy.

Successfully confronting, coping with, and moving beyond traumatic experiences will take your time, effort, and commitment.

However, by using the integrative, somatic, body-centered psychotherapy and mindfulness techniques I offer, you CAN learn to develop the resources and skills necessary to heal, bring the various aspects of your physical, mental, and emotional being in alignment, restore your sense of self, and move forward in your relationships and in your life with confidence and optimism.

If you’re ready to put prior traumatic experiences in their proper place… the past, I encourage you to contact me today at 510-735-8868 or email me at scott@beyondwordspsychotherapy.com with any questions you have or to schedule a free, 20-minute, initial consultation. I look forward to speaking with you and helping you create a life that’s truly worth living!

Beyond Words Psychotherapy – Trauma Counseling and Therapy, PTSD and Traumatic Stress Treatment, and Trauma Treatment in San Francisco, CA

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