Therapy for Trauma

The vast majority of human beings experience significant trauma in their lives to the point that it impacts their functioning. In addition to physical or sexual abuse, trauma can also take the form of emotional abuse like being told we are stupid, unlovable, or inferior in some other way. We tend to underestimate the impact of emotional abuse but research shows it to be equally harmful, particularly when it’s long-term, childhood abuse.

Trauma response symptoms can manifest as posttraumatic stress disorder, acute stress disorder, and many other anxiety and depressive disorders. The label we give to the cluster of symptoms is not important. The treatment we employ to heal it is.

You may be able to relate to the many common posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, whether or not you meet the full criteria for PTSD:

Re-experiencing symptoms:

  • Upsetting memories of the event
  • Upsetting dreams of the event
  • Feeling as though the event were happening again
  • Upset when reminded of the event (externally with situations/people or internally with thoughts)
  • Feeling physiologically upset – increased heart rate, sweating for example – when reminded of the event

Avoidance symptoms:

  • Avoiding thoughts, feelings, or conversations related to the event
  • Avoiding situations, places, and people that remind you of the event
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Detachment from others/emotionally numb
  • Lack of a vision for the future, possibly believing it may be cut short

Hyperarousal symptoms:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability/angry outbursts
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hypervigilance
  • Exaggerated startle response

While you may have carried the scars of trauma throughout your life, you don’t need to carry trauma’s burdens for the rest of your life. Dramatic, rapid transformation is possible. I see it in my practice every day.


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600 Stewart Street, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 339-4546

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