Does it seem like your past keeps haunting you and preventing you from moving forward in life?
Is it difficult to be present and enjoy your life because you feel worried about and unsafe with the unknown, are grieving the past, or feeling stuck or disconnected from yourself, others, and the world?
It’s possible you may be doing whatever you can to avoid bringing up any traumatic memories or unpleasant feelings and are just trying to make it through the day.
While your instinctual, natural survival skills of fight, flight, and freeze have helped you get through overwhelming anxiety, fear, and traumatic experiences, they may not be functioning in the same way anymore.
If you notice that you’re having a tough time setting boundaries, trying anything new, feeling fearful of the unknown, avoiding relationships or relying on others, feeling easily overwhelmed or numb, or you feel a lack of self-worth, you may be experiencing complex trauma symptoms.
Experiencing one-time overwhelming situations can certainly create feelings of not being safe if left untreated.
Surviving a lifetime of experiences and relationships where your feelings have been dismissed, your whole being has been shamed, and you learned early on that others, the world, and yourself could not be trusted, leave a serious impact on a person’s psyche and nervous system.
You know something was wrong. Even though you received love and care, you often felt confused by the other (direct or indirect) messages you received by parents, family, culture, and school, such as “You’re not good enough”, “It’s just a phase”, “Your needs don’t matter”, “Get over it”, “What do you have to be upset about?”, or “After all I’ve done for you…”
Trauma doesn’t discriminate nor should we place a value on it.
One-time incidents of trauma can leave an impact on the psyche and nervous system if left untreated, regarding it as “no big deal”, or if what you went through is celebrated in a culture or family.
Complex trauma occurs more chronically, over longer periods of time, and is not always so obvious. Complex trauma can happen in many different and unique ways. A parent may be a source of both love and fear or love and neglect. A parent may be a sole source of fear while they were supposed to be a safe, competent, and nurturing adult to a child. A parent may only encourage and validate the positive experiences and pleasant feelings of a child, without acknowledging and helping them through the tough stuff. A child may feel loved at home and also feel the pressures of having to perform to high academic and work standards in order to fulfill parents’ dreams, break out of poverty, or survive the culture at large. Human beings learn that if parts of themselves are not accepted within their families, schools, workplaces, or culture, they will only be accepted within certain conditions – they learn to keep parts of themselves hidden – in order to maintain a sense of safety and connection.
When we’re kids and experience a lack of emotional and/or physical safety enough of the time, we begin developing incredible ways to survive and keep our lives going, even when we might sometimes feel like it’s all pointless.
You can unlearn old ways of being and surviving, make space for your whole self to unfold, and create more curiosity in your life.
Many people who struggle with the effects of complex trauma begin therapy when they feel how stuck they are when they find themselves in the same kind of relationships when they constantly struggle with anxiety and depression, have tried everything else to feel better and know that something needs to change.
Peter Levine, PhD., founder of Somatic Experiencing, describes the experience of trauma best: “Trauma is not what happens to us. But what we hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.”
That’s how we’ll show up for you, as an empathic witness who will be willing to believe your story, honor your pace, and work collaboratively with you to help you recover from trauma and reclaim your wholeness. We will make space and offer support through the pain and messiness of the process and celebrate your insights, choices, and growth.
What is Trauma Therapy Like?
Just as each person is unique with their own set of lived experience, therapy for trauma recovery will be centered around your own needs and goals.
All of our therapists at Psyche & Soma Psychotherapy Group value the relationships we get to have with our clients. While we can’t foresee what progress will look like for you, our therapists will utilize trauma-informed practices that they are trained in and skilled at, be open to your feedback about how treatment is going, and show up for you consistently and with commitment to your healing.
Our therapists are trained in various trauma-informed types of psychotherapy, including Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Somatic Experiencing, Art Therapy, Sex Therapy, Relational Life Therapy, Perinatal Mental Health, Attachment Theory, Psychodynamic Theory, Jungian Depth Psychology, and mindfulness. Whatever the names may be, our therapists prioritize the therapeutic relationship between therapist and client, the safety and emotional well-being of our clients, an appreciation for diversity, and offering the most appropriate care possible.
We take the approach that individuals are effected by all their different relationships throughout their lives: relationships with early caregivers, parents, and family; relationships with peers and friends; relationships with school and work; relationships to body and soul; relationships to the world around them. We have the potential to survive and thrive in relationships and, in trauma recovery, we build skills and gain insight into spaces where folks can feel more safe, empowered, and fulfilled.
Trauma therapy is not easy, it’s not a protocol, it’s not clear-cut. As we begin to build more trust and safety within and without, we can become more curious and understanding of different parts of the psyche – the well-known as well as the lesser-known.
We offer our clients psychoeducation about the nervous system, self-regulation, and coping skills, how relationships impact us, and empathy for a person’s lived experience, thoughts, feelings, and values. Our hope is that with more self-awareness and self-compassion for all parts of the self, you will feel safer, more empowered, and less “crazy”. Over time, as anxiety decreases, your sense of self-worth, trust in yourself, and feeling more connected to yourself and others will happen more often.
What is Trauma Therapy Like?
Interested in trauma treatment and think we may be a good fit? Contact us for a free 15-minute phone consultation. We offer in-person counseling for those local to Fullerton, CA, and online therapy to all California residents.
It’s time to start living a life you deserve. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Helpful Resources for Trauma: