Is Something From Your Past Holding You Back?

black and white photo of person holding head in handsAre you haunted by disturbing thoughts about something that happened in your past? You may be struggling with images and emotions you simply can’t make sense of, and the enormity of the pain is too much to bear. Perhaps you’re constantly on alert, as if something unexpected will trigger memories or sensations of extreme distress. To account for this, you may have started withdrawing socially or avoiding particular places, people or situations, even when that means shrinking your world.

Unable to turn off frightening thoughts, you may find that your mind and body feel simply run down. PTSD symptoms, such as sweating, racing heart, cold hands, nausea, stomach butterflies, gastrointestinal issues, loss of appetite, nightmares or exhaustion, can impact everything in your life, including relationships, productivity and your ability to function and feel well. Without any way to quiet the noise, you may have turned to drugs or alcohol for temporary relief. Or, you may have other methods to distract yourself that also don’t provide lasting comfort.

As troubling emotions and confusing thoughts become more intense, you may not feel equipped to handle this on your own. At the same time, you might find it difficult to trust anyone—sometimes even yourself. Do you wish you could put the past behind you and be the happy, balanced person you wish to be?

You Are Not Alone

If you’re struggling with unmanageable stress symptoms following a painful event, you are certainly not alone.

When you experience a traumatic event, your body’s natural instinct for survival is activated. This is your sympathetic nervous system preparing to fight. This is an age-old, natural process, known as fight, flight or freeze. Back in the day, human beings had to protect themselves from predators and other natural threats. In such dangerous situations, the body goes on high-alert, keeping you on your toes so you can react quickly and stay safe. When the danger passes, the body resumes to a resting state. This is your parasympathetic nervous system kicking in to slow everything down such as your heart rate and breath and trying to find balance.

Nowadays, we are hardly ever encounter danger of this kind. However, if you’ve experienced a traumatic event—which can include everything from abuse, sexual assault or an accident to persistent high levels of stress, the loss of a loved one and more—that high-alert mode from your sympathetic nervous system may have never returned to a resting place. Instead, that reactive survival energy can become trapped in your system, affecting your emotional center and making you prone to bouts of anger, sadness or even intrusive flashbacks.

It’s unknown why some folks develop PTSD or continue to experience stress symptoms following a traumatic event and other don’t. The important takeaway is: it is possible to feel better. There are so many effective ways to manage distressing thoughts, emotions and other PTSD symptoms, even if you feel like you can’t talk about what happened. With expert support and guidance, you can process pain and move forward.

PTSD Therapy Can Help You Heal

white man with tattoos sitting on rockTrauma counseling can be extremely effective in providing you with tools that stabilize your nervous system—so you feel physically better—as well as addressing the root causes of what’s holding you back—so you can enjoy sustained relief.

In session, you’ll be provided with a safe environment to express and address any emotions, thoughts or desires. In return, you will be met with unconditional positive regard, which means compassion, respect and understanding. As your trauma therapist, I will be there by your side every step of the way, and provide you with careful feedback and ongoing support.

Ultimately, you decide the course of treatment. Step by step, you’ll come to understand that with the right coping skills and awareness, you can become better equipped to navigate day to day tasks, as the triggers around you become less menacing. Although awful memories never fully go away, it is entirely possible to learn grounding and relaxation methods that help decrease anxiety from troubling thoughts and sensations. From there, you have the power to move forward into a more peaceful, fulfilling existence.

Because trauma symptoms manifest as a result of stress continuously triggering the emotional center of your brain, we may discuss Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR therapy works like REM sleep (except that you are fully awake). When we fall asleep at night, our minds are able to process everything that happened during the day. That’s where the adage—let me sleep on it—comes from. In the morning, we awake feeling refreshed and clearheaded. With EMDR, you’re going through that same process but with a traumatic memory. At every step, you are in control and removed from danger. The best part is we don’t have to talk about what happened directly if you don’t want to. Through your feedback of images and eye movement (think of sitting on the train and seeing the scene going by) your mind is able to process debilitating memories just like any other. Once your brain processes the emotion attached to the memory, the emotional charge to that particular memory is gone.

I am an EMDR trained counselor with a great deal of experience in helping folks transform their lives for the better. Regardless of the pain you’re feeling now, profound healing and relief is right at your fingertips. With increased self-acceptance and compassion, it’s possible to form strong, fulfilling relationships and live a peaceful, happy life.

You may still have questions or concerns about PTSD treatment…

I’m afraid that talking about what happened will make me feel worse.

If you’re reading this page, chances are you feel miserable much of the time. Now, you may be at a particularly low point. Even though it’s scary to consider that things could feel any worse, therapy is an unconditionally positive and supportive environment. Here, we move at a pace that feels comfortable to you, toward goals that you set. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to go through this alone? Imagine feeling free from the burden of trauma.

I’ve been to trauma therapy before and nothing works.

If you’ve sought out help before and it didn’t seem to help, we will carefully examine what about that experience wasn’t beneficial, as well as any elements that were. It’s my aim to provide you with useful skills that are specifically tailored to you.

Although therapy doesn’t always produce instant results, it’s my aim to help you feel better as soon as possible. If you’re committed and willing to engage in the therapy process, you can move past this.

I’m worried I don’t have time for trauma treatment.

It might seem like your schedule is already packed with things you need to do. But, even though it may be difficult to believe, your health and happiness are a top priority. You deserve to feel good. You deserve to put your wellbeing first on your to-do list. What is it that you truly want? Who do you want to be? Therapy can be a new, fresh start.

Not only that, but you’ll soon find that having coping skills (that actually work) makes you more productive, and can save you a tremendous amount of time. I offer flexible scheduling, as well as online therapy, to respect your time.

Healing Is Possible

If you have additional questions about trauma therapy, please call (954)-861-0164 or contact me for a free video or phone consultation. I provide in-office counseling in Cooper City, FL as well as online therapy to anyone residing in the state of Florida. I offer services in English and Spanish and am a licensed mental health counselor and a master certified addiction professional.