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What is trauma?

Trauma is an emotional response to a disturbing event.  People can experience shock, denial, or have an absence of any feelings after the event.  Although these are normal responses to a disturbing event, some people have trouble moving on from the experience.  The impact can affect them much later, and they can exhibit behaviors such as hyper awareness of their surroundings, distrust of others, recurring thoughts of the events, anxiety, and flashbacks.  Symptoms can be disabling enough to cause a person to have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


Some people have experienced a single-event trauma, like a car accident.  Others have experienced multiple traumas, making it more challenging for them to cope.  For instance, if someone experienced trauma as a child, it could impact how that person deals with future traumas. Repeated trauma can lead to higher stress, making it more difficult to recover from the initial trauma. 


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How do I work with people who have had trauma?

When working with clients who want to focus on their trauma, I make sure to do the following:


  • Create a safe environment where you feel comfortable to talk


  • Establish/maintain stability and a sense of security in your life


  • Understand how the trauma has impacted your life


  • Develop tools to cope with the painful emotions that may arise when talking about the trauma


  • Identify and cope with triggers that can remind you of the trauma


  • Use evidence-based strategies to cope with the trauma such as EMDR.

What is EMDR?

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR therapy appears to have an effect on the way the brain processes information. Through the use of eye movements, holding vibrating sensors, or listening to alternating tones, while focusing on a disturbing experience allows the nervous system to respond to the event in a healthier way. This helps the client to no longer relive images, sounds and feelings when the event is brought to mind. The disturbing memory will not have the same impact it has had in the past.


Click here for more information about EMDR.

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