Therapy for Complex PTSD
If my clients were brutally honest, they would say something like:
I just to stop feeling like I'm 5 years old again every time I fight with my husband
I just want to feel like I can take a deep breath for once
At first, they don't always identify with having experienced trauma, often feeling like their experiences aren't "bad enough" to be considered traumatic. They do however identify with having experienced a childhood that left them feeling like they were "too sensitive," "never good enough" or simply unsafe physically or emotionally.
As a result, they grapple with a deep sense of being unlovable, “not good enough” and are in constant fear of abandonment. They feel exhausted, constantly running from one thing to the next and find it difficult or even impossible to stop. They’ve been let down so many times by so many people they find themselves struggling to trust anyone or clinging to the first person who shows them interest. Their people-pleasing and perfectionism gets in the way of the life they want in so many ways. They aren’t the kind of friend they want to be. The feel like they’re failing in relationships. And their confidence in their work (the largest sense of their pride) is tanking.
Before they came to see me, they worried there was no way they could get better. They imagined I would judge their experience or force them to unpack things they weren't ready for. And they were pretty certain they would never be able to be fully honest with me.
Healing from complex trauma is possible but it requires a therapist who knows how to help you. It sounds simple but therapy can actually make your symptoms worse if not done in an intentional way. In order for treatment to be successful we need to give you skills to soothe your nervous system (think emergency brake) so that your able to leave session feeling grounded versus overwhelmed and spacey.
As children, we rely on our caregivers to meet all of our needs, this means their approval and love = survival. When our parents are unable or unwilling to meet our needs, we develop an insecure attachment style. This is absiaclly a blue print for how we give and receive love.
What it Looks Like
What It Looks Like
Healing from trauma, especially complex trauma, is an individual process. I'll shoot it you straight, no two healing journeys look exactly alike. Therefore, it might take you more or less time in any of these stages of healing. However, this is a general guideline to help you understand the way I approach healing trauma.
Learning to regulate your nervous system
Learning how to calm your nervous system is the first step in healing from trauma and necessary to heal from trauma safely. Trauma makes our window of tolerance smaller, meaning we're more likely to go into fight/flight/freeze/fawn than people who have not experienced trauma. I'll work to help you recalibrate your nervous system so you can experience life without becoming overwhelmed or feeling numb. Working together, I'll teach you about your nervous system, your window of tolerance and give you concrete skills to regulate your system.
Validating and honoring all the parts of you
Complex trauma can leave us at war with ourselves. We feel filled with hatred for parts of ourselves and fear of others. Together, we will work to help you meet yourself with compassion and understand how all parts of you, even the ones that cause you pain, are trying to support you. This can help you to see even the most difficult behaviors and aspects of yourself with compassion and curiosity, creating room for change.
Processing the Trauma
Reclaiming the Future
We'll identify and develop plans to help you cope with triggers moving forward. We'll continue to practice skills, manage symptoms as they arise and help you go from surviving to thriving.