Has A Distressing Experience Impacted Your Life?
Have you or your child survived abuse or neglect, an assault, or other form of trauma? As a result, do you struggle with intense feelings of shame and guilt? Or has a lack of security or trust tarnished your relationships?
You may find that you or your child have become hypervigilant or overly anxious. Perhaps you often slip into panic mode whenever you feel even the slightest threat. Or maybe you struggle with flashbacks, nightmares, or constant crying spells. If this is the case, it’s likely that you often feel unsafe.
Trauma’s impact extends beyond emotions and relationships. Maybe you or your child have health complaints or experience chronic pain that have no known medical explanations. Or perhaps you find it increasingly difficult to focus on the tasks in front of you.
You may have also developed maladaptive (or counterproductive) coping mechanisms when it comes to dealing with trauma. Maybe you abuse alcohol or substances in an attempt to numb yourself from the pain of your past experiences.
If you’ve survived a traumatic event, it may feel as though you spend every day in survival mode, just trying to get by. Yet, regaining a sense of peace is possible when you commit to trauma therapy at Milestones Counseling.
The Vast Majority Of Americans Are Trauma Survivors
It’s estimated that 70 percent of American adults—that’s over 223 million people—have experienced some sort of traumatic event in their lives. And when it comes to younger populations, statistics indicate that about one-third of American youths will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if exposed to community violence at an early age. These numbers are hardly exhaustive of the many types of trauma and post-traumatic stress that people experience, but they certainly demonstrate how wide-reaching this issue is.
Of course, there are the shocking and often life-changing events that we constitute as trauma. These may include surviving natural or manmade disasters, childhood abuse or neglect, an assault, a serious medical diagnosis, the untimely death of a loved one, or witnessing violence within one’s community.
Yet, there are also acute and systemic forms of trauma. Take, for example, racism and bias against non-white Americans. Even in instances where physical violence has not occurred, a person can be left traumatized by microaggressions from fellow citizens and the unrelenting feeling of insecurity within government-sanctioned systems that uphold white supremacy.
Moreover, in families who have experienced a high degree of generational trauma, older generations can minimize the trauma experienced by their younger counterparts. For older generations who have experienced violence or bias, some parents or grandparents may observe the trauma endured by their children and take the stance of “you’ll just have to get over it because that’s what I had to do.”
The truth is that trauma is complex, and it becomes even more harmful when those of us who’ve survived trauma are not validated in our experiences. Many of the structures we have in place in our society—especially when it comes to school-aged children—are not necessarily trauma-informed. As a result, we can end up feeling alone and isolated in our experience, avoiding the pain instead of embarking on a path toward healing.
The trauma-informed therapists at Milestones Counseling, however, can help you begin your journey to recovery.
Therapy Opens Up Pathways For Healing From Trauma
While trauma is a complicated matter, our clinicians are trained to understand its complexities and effect on the human brain. And we have found that therapy is particularly effective because it allows our clients to fully understand and process their trauma in a safe and nonjudgmental environment.
We believe that at the core of quality trauma treatment lies a trusted, developed therapeutic alliance that allows our clients to heal in a genuine and meaningful way.
Beginning with an intake that will help your therapist to understand what brings you or your child to trauma counseling, we will develop awareness of your needs and goals for therapy. As we get to know you better, we’ll move at your pace as we explore the impact that trauma has had on your day-to-day functioning. And if necessary, your therapist may gently challenge you to explore certain areas that need to be addressed more deeply in an effort to facilitate healing.
The overall goal of treatment will be to help you to name the trauma and take away some of the control it has enacted over your life. Your therapist may incorporate grounding techniques and/or progressive muscle relaxation that can help you return to the present moment instead of being trapped in the past. As you process the trauma from your present point of view, you’ll not only regain agency over the narrative surrounding your trauma, but you’ll also be empowered to shift your mindset from a sense of helplessness to one of resiliency.
Our trauma-informed therapists use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help you alter distorted thinking patterns. We may also incorporate Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) into sessions. This is a body-based approach that is especially useful for trauma, as it targets painful memories and is often regarded as a gentler method than many talk therapies.
In addition, we incorporate play and sand tray therapies into our sessions with children. Such treatments allow children to explore beneath the surface of their trauma and express their experiences in nonverbal ways. Because trauma is such a complex phenomenon, a child who has suffered neglect, abuse, or medical distress can use play and sand tray techniques to give language to their experiences and feelings.
Though it may be hard to envision a life without the pain or anguish of trauma right now, we want to assure you that things can and do get better. With our support, you or your child can create a new baseline of feelings and emotions so that you can experience life to the fullest again.
Your healing begins with trauma therapy at Milestones Counseling.
Perhaps you’re considering seeing a therapist about your trauma, but you have some questions…
I’m afraid that exploring my trauma in therapy will only make me feel worse.
We fully acknowledge that digging into a traumatic experience can be uncomfortable, but some of that discomfort is part of the process of healing. Our clinicians will not pressure you to discuss something you don’t want to talk about. We will let you guide the course of trauma counseling. Though there is no set timeframe or blanket treatment for overcoming trauma, we are confident that by exploring your experience in therapy, you will feel better in the long term.
My child doesn’t want to talk about their traumatic experience—how will this work?
It takes a while for a child to build trust in the therapeutic alliance, especially if they have struggled to feel safe in the past. Using play therapy, our clinicians can instill your child with a sense of empowerment and control to help them develop their own narrative around their trauma. Because this approach is both expressive and nonverbal, it allows our child clients to process their experiences in a “language” that makes sense to them. And soon, your child will feel more trusting and freer to be vulnerable with their therapist.
How can I support someone in my life who has endured trauma?
If there is someone in your life who has survived a traumatic experience, it’s important to understand that the impacts of trauma are long-lasting. Recovery will take patience, empathy, and sometimes gentle pushing. It may take you a while to figure out how to push and on what day to do so. However, if you can maintain your loved one’s trust and provide them with a nonjudgmental space to explore their experience, you can be instrumental to their healing.
Below are some resources you can explore if you or someone you know needs additional support:
Our Resource List from Milestones Counseling
Trauma Resource List from the National Center for Biotechnology Information
A New And Positive Experience Of Life Is Possible
If you or your child are in need of healing after a painful or distressing experience, trauma therapy at Milestones Counseling can help you learn how to cope and move forward. For more information about our services or to schedule an appointment, please use our contact form or call (443) 574 – 4295.