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About:Trauma-Informed Based Therapy

¡Hola!

Welcome to learning my about me, but more importantly, my handcrafted approach during your therapy experience, in order for you to trust the process and achieve your goals. 

If you’re wondering if a trauma-informed approach would be appropriate for you, I will first encourage you to understand that trauma is actually fairly subjective to an individual’s perception of their experiences and their capacity to navigate them. Many of my clients might enter therapy, intentionally seeking counseling to address specific events; however, other clients come in with the belief that they "haven't experienced any 'big trauma'"and don't even perceive themselves to be survivors of trauma. A trauma-informed approach essentially means that as your therapist, I will take an account the events across your life span to understand more deeply about the motivation and function of challenges or symptoms we are addressing in therapy.

 

One way to identify trauma, may be to acknowledge any experience that overloaded the central nervous system, and subsequent dysregulation in the body, which often translates to emotional and behavioral “reactions” aka "symptoms". Sometimes we categorize these reactions as adrenal responses, referring to the automatic way in which the body will fight, flight, freeze or fawn during an event or subsequent trigger. Another way to consider if a trauma-informed approach may be a good fit is when you recall memories in your life that still elicit an emotional response or if you intentionally avoid thinking about it because the disturbance is too overwhelming. It is also important to note that sometimes big life events happen and there may be ambivlance to them; however, that may also speak to emotional supression to survive.  Lastly, often times I explain to my clients that trauma is not just what happened to us but shouldn't have, sometimes is what didn't happen, but should have.

Research supports the philosophy that our histories influence our current reality, and that these memories are not only stored in our brains, but are also stored in our body, alternating our genetic makeup, which influence the way we experience & navigate life. It is with this understanding, that I believe any memory that you identify as traumatic, deserves to be noticed with therapeutic curiosity.
In the trauma world, we may refer to negative life experiences as “big T” or “little t” traumas, but I am not the person who qualifies these for you, you do. 

Surviving traumatic experiences can include but are not limited to:

  • Sexual abuse or trafficking

  • Physical abuse 

  • Racial trauma 

  • Emotional or narcissistic abuse 

  • Neglect

  • Abandonment

  • Involvement with the foster care system

  • Poverty & homelessness

  • Substance use exposure

  • Codependency 

  • Intimate partner violence

  • Death, grief & loss

  • Divorce & Parent Alienation

  • Incarceration of loved one

 

Trauma work is not reserved for major life events, but everyday stressors can also be equally distressing.  Other issues that may be worth addressing through a trauma informed lens may be:

  • Feeling defective & low self-esteem

  • Feeling powerless & out of control

  • Feeling unsafe/unprotected

  • and a myriad of other challenges

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Toxic or prolonged stress literally alters children’s brains & bodies-children grow up to become teenagers and then adults.  This history, may have complex responses, including their capacity to cope effectively, along with a profound impact on their self-perception and their perception of the world.  If you aren’t familiar with the ACEs study, this is one of the assessments we can explore together. It identifies adverse childhood experiences and the long term impact on mental health, physical health, risky behaviors and limitations on education & employment.

The ACEs graphic below provides some visual insight to the related impact of chronic stress (trauma).

Lasting Impacts of

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

About Me

 

As far as knowing more about me, I graduated from Troy University with a Master of Science in Counseling & Psychology in 2010.  Prior to attending my graduate program, I had the honor of managing group homes for children & teenagers in the  foster care system for 5 years.  My professional career has primarily focused working in the non-profit sector, helping individuals who have survived sexual and physical abuse, involvement in the foster care system, and have been affected by poverty and racial trauma.  I am down to earth and my clinical intention is to normalize sentiments surmised by grief expert, David Kessler, "pain is inevitable; suffering is optional". Although we may not be able to prevent what happens to us, we do have agency to take control of our recovery and sometimes, we need a witness to our stories to help be a catalyst to our healing-this is where a qualified therapist may be a helpful resource.  Therapy is not just about holding space for the tragedies, but also to celebrate the victories.

Lastly, I have been on both sides of the chair-meaning that I am a therapist that believes in doing my own work in order to enhance the quality of my personal life and that the work we do together. When I'm not in session, I enjoy spending time with my family traveling, staying active, being outdoors, making new recipes, and engaging my creativity. I believe advocacy for human rights is a way of life and I stand in solidarity for social justice issues.

 

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