Image by Henry Be

Trauma

Therapy

Be patient with yourself.

Nothing in nature blooms all year.

- Anonymous 

Has A Traumatic Experience Compromised Your Sense Of Safety?

Do you spend most of your time on guard, fighting a stream of negative, intrusive thoughts that keep you waiting for the next shoe to drop in life? Are powerful memories from a traumatic experience making it difficult to form, maintain, or feel safe in relationships anymore? Are you trying so hard to keep the pain and fear contained—and simply function—that you experience chronic tension, phantom body aches and pains, or digestive issues?

Throughout life we develop internal alarms and defense mechanisms that keep us protected. However, as we grow and our circumstances change, those same protective factors can create barriers in our relationships as adults. This is so often the case for individuals who were exposed to abuse, neglect, or toxic parents as a child. If you had similar experiences in your childhood, you may still have trouble believing that you are even capable of being loved.   

Anytime you are abused or harmed by someone—especially by a person in a position of trust—it undermines your sense of safety in your body as well as in your relationships with others. These experiences can keep you from feeling safe and secure in your environment—making it feel impossible to fully relax. 

Trauma isn’t something that we simply remember with our minds. Our bodies hold onto our experiences in profound ways. The traumatic energy that gets stored up in our bodies can come out as chronic tension, compulsive tics, gastrointestinal distress, autoimmune disorders, and much more. The traumatic energy our bodies hold can make it so uncomfortable and so painful to even notice our bodies that we can end up disconnecting from our bodies all together. This can be particularly true for instances of sexual assault trauma. Thankfully, this traumatic energy can be worked with. It absolutely can change and move.

Though you may want to confront this part of your history, you’re likely afraid that you will be blamed or ostracized—especially if your experience involved a loved one, a family friend, or a respected member of the community.  

Over time, the pain and isolation can start to seem like a natural part of life—but you don’t have to endure this kind of suffering forever. With my caring and comprehensive approach to trauma therapy, you can create skills and opportunities to transform the traumatic energy your body holds. In turn, you can enjoy a deeper relationship with your spirituality, your body, and the people you love.

​Trauma Commonly Occurs In Relationships Of Trust

Everyone encounters some form of trauma during their lifetimes, whether as the result of loss, an injury, or some other wounding experience. However, trauma frequently happens in relationships at the hands of someone who was meant to be trusted. In fact, abuse in relationships is so prevalent that we have sadly come to accept it as normal.

We are told in subtle ways that violence is a natural component of a relationship—that being controlled is a part of love. And so many people have sold that narrative so intensely that we don’t even realize the harm we’ve come to accept as normal. Moreover, our culture normalizes suffering even the worst adversity in life, encouraging us to wear the experience as a badge of honor. Like bragging about being whipped as a child and turning out fine—we have conditioned ourselves to invalidate our life's pain. Our society even goes as far as to blame and shame victims because, on some level, we can’t live with the possibility of the same thing happening to us. 

In the end, all of this makes it difficult for survivors to reach out—or even validate their experience in the first place. And when you can’t feel safe in your body or your relationships, your pain grows larger as the world grows smaller. But with the help of a caring and experienced trauma therapist, you can expand your tolerance to distress, cultivate an internal sense of security, heal the wounds of the past, and grow more confident in your capacity to handle all of life's obstacles 

​Trauma Therapy Enables You To Reclaim Your Life

The therapeutic relationship is the most powerful element of the healing process. And although processing and releasing the traumatic charge of a painful experience is one of our goals, therapy acts as a launching point for creating practical changes in your day-to-day life outside of sessions. 

One of the most powerful aspects of trauma therapy is that it enables you to explore personal definitions of safety and danger while witnessing what safety in a relationship truly looks and feels like (the safety of our therapeutic relationship will always be my highest priority). As such, the therapeutic relationship can become a place to reflect upon—and ultimately redefine—how you show up in relationships, whether with yourself, other people, or the world in general. Those can be some of the most powerful moments of healing.

I understand that you may have told your story a hundred times and are looking for relief, so I want to stress that there are ways to achieve healing without dwelling on the past. However, sharing your experience can also be a very valuable part of trauma treatment. So I first want to help you slow down and deepen your connection to your present moment experience—to notice how not just trauma but also joy, pleasure, excitement, and calmness are expressed in your body—without being overwhelmed. 

This is known as dual awareness, a process for staying grounded in the present moment while noticing the impacts of the past. It enables us to keep part of our awareness attuned to the safety of the here and now so that our nervous system doesn't mistake the past for the present. 

During subsequent sessions, we’ll look at any distorted cognitions and behavior patterns that may be keeping you stuck in the past. We’ll explore how past experiences may have shaped automatic thoughts processes, behaviors, and responses within your day-to-day life. And I’ll work with you to change those patterns so you can be empowered at every turn in your life. With you at the center of our sessions, we’ll focus on creating, deepening, and maintaining your intrinsic sense of safety.

Every person’s experience with trauma is unique and I realize that I don’t have all the answers. That’s why I’ll always lean toward your internal wisdom, considering myself more of a guide with whom you can collaborate to find solutions and strategies that speak to your needs. I offer a process-oriented approach to healing, which means that I will always make sure we keep our focus on long-term goals. But I also understand that life happens, and sometimes we need to shift our attention to what’s taking place in front of us. 

One of the specific tools I use is Sensorimotor Therapy, which helps you learn to track your moment-to-moment experiences through mindfulness to cultivate dual awareness, find a sense of empowerment in your body, and ultimately notice and release stored traumatic energy through movement. Similarly, EMDR is a powerful, research-driven approach that, like Sensorimotor Therapy, helps diffuse the emotional impact of trauma, allowing you to process experiences that would otherwise be too overwhelming. And through an Internal Family Systems (IFS) lens we acknowledge how our personalities are made up of different parts, enabling us to address polarities (internal conflicts) which leave you feeling stuck in old patterns of thinking and behaving.  

Creating healing and safety isn’t something we do on our own. It’s about finding, re-establishing, and deepening relationships and communities that help us generate that holistic sense of health. And though therapy won’t help you forget or change the past—it can change your relationship with your experience! Through our therapeutic relationship, you can heal and discover a sense of confidence and empowerment that will keep you grounded and moving forward in life, no matter what you encounter.

Perhaps you are considering trauma therapy but still have some concerns…
I feel like I am broken beyond repair.

It’s so important for you to understand that you are not broken—you are wounded. And if you give yourself the chance to change your relationship with trauma, it is absolutely possible to heal and eventually thrive. 

Of course, no one can do that for you. Someone may have been responsible for your wounding, however, healing is up to you. But you don’t have to do it alone! Whatever you are going through, it will always be my intention to help you develop new ways of engaging your body, connecting with others, and feeling empowered in this world.

 

I’m worried that counseling will only worsen my trauma. 

I understand that it can be scary and overwhelming facing an adverse experience, so we will only go as far as you want and at a pace that feels safe for you. Although we’ll always work within your window of tolerance, I want to help you develop the insight, awareness, and concrete skill set to transform your pain into something that you can talk about without feeling like you are stuck in a nightmare. In time, our work can diffuse the intensity of the experience, loosening its hold on your life.

​​I feel like it’s my fault this happened, and I shouldn’t even talk about it.  

When we are faced with overwhelming adversity in life, our minds will often do anything to rationalize it. Sometimes, we even blame ourselves because, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, self-blame creates a sense of empowerment and control that makes us feel safe. It gives us the false impression that we know what to look out for, so we’re protected. But if you’ve experienced abuse, an attack, or other any traumatic experience, it is not your fault! And you should not have to carry around the weight of someone else's actions.

Let Me Help You Reconnect To Your Future

If you would like to transform your experience of pain and adversity into one of recovery and triumph, I would be honored to help you. Please call (615) 243 0874 for your 50-minute, risk-free consultation to see how my emotional, physical, and spiritual approach to healing can help you reconnect to life and thrive. 

Due to COVID-19, all trauma therapy sessions will be conducted online for the foreseeable future. 

Contact me

today to set up a Risk-Free

50 minute

in-person consult.

Hudson Wilkins, MA, LPC, EMDR, IFS, SPT

He/Him/His

Fort Collins, CO

(615) 243-0874

© 2020 by Gray Area Counseling, LLC