HEALING THE WOUNDS OF TRAUMA
Do you have trouble trusting others?
Do you often feel triggered, especially in your intimate relationships?
Do you often feel ashamed or worthless or blame yourself for things that are not your fault?
Is your creativity stalled by anxiety or a lack of confidence?
Do you have trouble saying “no”?
These could all be signs of early attachment trauma.
Complex trauma can also cause symptoms such as:
Problems with relationships
Lack of quality sleep
Anger, irritability and mood swings
Anxiety and fear - a feeling of always being on edge or “hypervigilant”
Guilt, shame and self-blame
Withdrawing from others
Feeling sad or hopeless
Feeling disconnected or numb
Self-soothing with alcohol or food
Trauma and emotional abuse in childhood often result in feelings of low self-esteem, shame and hopelessness.
People with Complex trauma often blame themselves, because they feel like they are “not good enough” and are somehow wrong or unloveable.
Survivors of childhood trauma and emotional abuse usually feel like something’s “not quite right.”
They will often have ongoing and unconscious feelings of shame and worthlessness.
Sometimes when we have a history of childhood trauma we won’t be aware of these feelings, but they are nevertheless there, running in the background and making us feel bad.
Many people have been wounded in childhood.
We may not call it “trauma” because that sounds a bit dramatic. We weren’t starved or kept in a cupboard. We didn't get severely beaten or punished. We weren’t sexually abused. We had enough to eat and got an education. Our home was relatively nice and we always had a meal and a warm bed.
We feel like we don't have anything to complain about.
But the reality is that trauma can take many forms.
Sometimes trauma can be the result of feeling unloved or neglected in childhood. This kind of trauma is much more common than we think.
When we are not emotionally supported and validated in childhood, it can feel like it is our fault.
For people who have been emotionally abused or neglected in childhood, life often feels hard.
It's a struggle to have meaningful relationships. You want to be closer, but it is often just too painful or difficult. You would like to trust people, but you’ve been hurt too much.
It can often feel like no-one understands or cares.
Perhaps you feel like an underachiever with unrealised potential gnawing away at you. Your natural career path may have been blocked by a lack of confidence, a feeling of being an imposter - or a lack of direction.
Anxiety and depression can be constant dangers.
Social anxiety can stop you from really enjoying life. Sustaining or making lasting friendships is hard.
You may have tried anti-depressants to manage your pain, but they just didn't work for you. Maybe you have tried counselling, but that too just scratched the surface.
Trauma therapy is different.
It will help you learn about yourself and will allow you to resolve the deep pain and shame that you feel everyday.
Trauma therapy with a compassionate, experienced trauma therapist will help you get your life back and enjoy being close again.
Trauma counselling helps by encouraging you to develop self-awareness around your emotions. Through working with an experienced trauma therapist, you will learn how to understand and manage your feelings.
An experienced trauma therapist will help you feel safe.
In order to heal the deep wounds of trauma, your therapist will need to help you access the pain and distress which are buried inside you. They will allow you to sit with the strong feelings of trauma and learn to experience them without being overwhelmed.
You will become stronger and more resilient as you learn to understand and develop compassion for your wounds.
Why paying attention to the body is important for trauma survivors
Human beings are not minds trapped in bodily “containers”. We are designed to be whole and connected, with our bodies and minds intrinsically joined . Even the language we use to describe our bodies and feelings is inherently skewed.
Our wellbeing depends on so many factors.
Complex trauma in particular will impact your body and remain “stuck” inside you in ways that are hard to define and impossible to verbalise. Sometimes in therapy, the verbal content of a session isn’t the most important information. In trauma counselling your body language, posture, tone of voice and the feelings that you have as you are talking are vitally important. These will often tell me more about what is going on than your words.
For people with Complex Trauma the body will hold much of their pain and distress.
Trauma that occurred when you didn't have words for your experiences won’t be able to be talked about directly. Therefore it must be sensed by a somatically (or body) oriented trauma therapist who will help you reconnect with your body to understand and resolve these initially unknowable feelings. The very early trauma you experienced that has been left in your body is often re-experienced when triggered as intense, wordless pain – a pain that you live with everyday without knowing.
Trauma therapy with me will help you learn to recognise specific body-based trauma sensations. Getting in touch with this body knowledge is a major step for early childhood trauma survivors as it will allow you to understand what is going on for the first time.
Hi, my name’s Amanda and I am a social worker who has been trained in trauma therapy.
People with Complex Trauma often don’t realise they have it. Trauma counselling with me will help free you from the fear and pain of unrecognised trauma. My practice in North Fitzroy is a safe, non-judgemental space where you can feel free to talk about your hopes and fears and allow yourself to be vulnerable in order to heal.
As a mental health professional, I have always felt that my most important qualification is my own experience of recovering from childhood trauma.
I can understand and empathise with you and the trauma you have experienced on a deeper, more embodied level.
This deep knowledge helps me recognise what trauma feels like and how to help even the most wounded person.
As a trauma therapist who is also a trauma survivor, I will help you understand what you are feeling and why.
Once you have learnt to recognise and name the feelings and bodily (or somatic) sensations of trauma you will be able to practice more self-compassion. If a situation is triggering for you, you will learn to give yourself the freedom to leave, avoid, or in some cases, engage. With your newly honed skills in communication and self-care, you will be able to have more authentic and intimate conversations with those you care about.
Instead of automatically responding based on fear or unconscious trauma reactions, you will have choices.
As we work together, I will encourage you to develop distress tolerance and self-soothing skills. This will help you make your trauma more manageable on the way to the longer-term goals of healing and post-traumatic growth.
Trauma therapy with me is not just about resolving pain.
Trauma counselling will allow you to finally access your intrinsic healing powers and begin the rewarding process of post-traumatic growth.
I will help you discover a new, more connected and more joyful self.
You May Still Have Some Questions About Trauma Counselling
What if therapy triggers me or I feel overwhelmed?
Safety is an important consideration for all trauma survivors. Rest assured that I will support you and ensure that you feel safe before we start to explore some of the more difficult material that must be resolved in order for deeper healing to take place. The therapy will be paced at a tempo that is individually targeted and right for you.
What if I find out something that I don't want to know?
Therapy can uncover traumatic memories and experiences that we would rather had not happened. Therapy is NOT about blaming others, although you may find that some relationships from your past have contributed to your feelings of distress. Trauma counselling will help you understand and resolve your trauma, but alongside your growing self-compassion you may start to understand the reasons for other’s behaviour as well.
But trauma therapy is also NOT about forgiveness. It will be up to you whether you have the emotional space to forgive. Although for some people, forgiveness is part of moving on, everyone’s healing journey is unique.
It sounds like this will take a while: how will I know that it is working?
Counselling for Complex Trauma involves developing a trusting, warm and safe therapeutic relationship with your therapist. I will make sure that you can feel safe in exploring your feelings with me. Because people with CPTSD have often experienced trauma in their attachment relationships, trust will be important. The empathetic, caring, non-judgmental and non-shaming relationship that we develop together is what will help heal you. This can take a while to develop and there may be ups and downs during this time, where you might feel stressed or upset. That’s normal for any therapy.
Trauma therapy will help you learn to trust again. You will also learn to manage your emotions, self-soothe and eventually develop a stronger, more stable sense of self.
As the therapy unfolds you will notice that you will become calmer, more confident, less easily triggered and able to enjoy life much more.
I’ve heard that trauma therapy is expensive – How will I afford all this – especially if it takes a long time?
As a social worker, I am committed to making therapy affordable for everyone. I offer Medicare rebate-able sessions to eligible clients, and am able to bulk bill those with a health care card. I am also a registered NDIS provider, so if you are a participant, you can have trauma therapy included in your plan.
If money is providing an obstacle to beginning (or continuing) therapy, we can discuss how to make it more affordable for you.
Psychotherapy for Complex trauma is an investment in you and your future.
Without it you will stay stuck in the painful emotions and automatic responses triggered unconsciously by your trauma. With targeted and individualised trauma therapy you can heal your trauma wounds and become the self you were always meant to be.
What could be more important than that?
What can I expect from successful trauma counselling?
As you resolve your trauma through psychotherapy, you will come to enjoy life more.
Your life will feel richer, more joyful – and more connected. Through practice and exploration, you will develop better boundaries which will allow you to be closer to those you love. Trauma therapy will help you learn new skills to cope with life’s challenges. Your relationships will be more rewarding and you will find you get on better with others at home and at work.
But more than this, I will help you develop a deeper and more compassionate relationship with yourself, where the pain and shame that you have experienced in the past will no longer dominate.
As you develop this new and rewarding conscious awareness and self-compassion, you will be ready to create a life that is truly worth living.