Image by Andrew Neel

Trauma Therapy

"Recovery Can Feel Good!"

What is Trauma?

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We experience trauma when we find ourselves in dangerous or threatening situations that overwhelm us. When we were small, we had much less of an ability to take care of ourselves and communicate our needs to others. Often, the options for having our needs met were not available.

 

The actual traumatic event(s) come in many different forms. Many carry trauma or difficulties from childhood that stem from fear, neglect, abuse or constant undermining. Others carry trauma resulting from an illness or death of a parent, sibling or other close family member. Still others carry trauma as the result of family member incarceration, poverty, racism, immigration, under-employment, natural disasters or illnesses. The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter how “big” or “small” you believe your experience was, what matters is how you were affected by it and the way the impact continues to be carried in your body, emotions, mind and nervous system.

 

Many people fear that they cannot recover from trauma without reliving past events. Modern trauma therapies focus on building a sense of safety in our own bodies. If we decide to explore memories of traumatic events, we will only do so on your terms, and with the intention of diffusing the intensity of these feelings.

 

Our goal is to explore a new way to live in the world feeling more comfortable in your own skin, less prone to being hypervigilant or checking/numbing out and having more capacity to thrive, rather than just surviving.

 

Some of the experiences of trauma include:

  • Hopelessness

  • Feeling lost or angry 

  • Uncomfortable or unsafe in your own skin.

  • Turning to alcohol, food, substances or risky behaviors to numb

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Sense of dread, as if something bad is about to happen, but you don’t know what

  • Shame, a sense of not being as good, or deserving as much as other people

  • Feeling like you are watching your life from the outside, like a movie, rather than really living it

  • Depression

  • Anxiety/panic

  • Social phobias and other anxiety issues

  • Isolation

  • Trouble thinking clearly

  • Difficulty managing relationships

  • Feeling easily overwhelmed

  • Hypervigilance

  • Feeling numb/being out of body

  • Insomnia

  • Nightmares

  • Memory loss

"Facing trauma has been a difficult challenge for me, but opening up enough to share it has been even worse. Taking a step in Mena’s office was the best decision I could have made for my healing; she provides a safe space to help explore the pain and find many different ways to cope and manage it in the day to day.

 

I would recommend (without hesitation), any of my friends or anyone for that mater, having Mena as her/his therapist" -- G.S.

My Approach

After seeing the role that trauma plays in the lives of so many people with addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, and gambling, I began to study modern forms of trauma therapy, which I practice today. Those therapies include *Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, EMDR, Hakomi, Psycho-physical Therapy, Polyvagal Informed Treatment, AEDP, to name a few. Read more below.

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* Certified Sensorimotor Psychotherapist

Hakomi* & Sensorimotor Psychotherapy*

Hakomi is a mindfulness based psychotherapy, developed by Ron Kurtz and was one of the foundations for Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, developed by Dr. Pat Ogden. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy is a Somatic talk therapy that utilizes the same following principals as Hakomi to help shift unwanted patterns to a place of healing. Both use the same principals of:

 

  • Organicity: We are all unique and have internal wisdom that allows for our own health and healing.              

  • Unity: Our connectedness to each other.

  • Mind/Body/Spirit Holism: We work with the entirety of our being as well as in connection and relationship to others.

  • Non-Violence: People are not pathologized and don’t need to be fixed.

  • Mindfulness/Presence: Utilizes a present-moment experience to facilitate curiosity and change.

  • Relational Alchemy: The connection between people facilitates healing.

Using these principles, both methods help shift core beliefs and patterns that are no longer serving the individual. Mindfulness facilitates curiosity of internal processes. This allows the body to become the window through which thoughts, emotions, movement impulses, body sensations and the five senses are tracked and used to have a new experience, away from old patterns that have created distress. 

Psycho-physical Therapy 

Developed by the late Bill Bowen also and uses the foundation of Hakomi and its principals and adds the component of therapeutic touch, only with the client’s permission, to facilitate healing. 

 

 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) 

Founded by Dr. Francine Shapiro, EMDR utilizes bi-lateral stimulation of the brain through eye movement, aural bi-neural beats or music, or sensory bilateral pulses. It is believed EMDR replicates Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep. This allows for emotional processing of distressing memories and can actually transform feelings from one of victimization to one of empowerment. I also use EMDR successfully in virtual sessions.

 

Polyvagal Informed Treatment (PVT) 

Polyvagal theory was developed by Dr. Stephen Porges. Polyvagal Informed Treatment was developed by Deb Dana. PVT utilizes the evolutionary theory of the vagus nerve to help clients understand how their nervous systems function to self-protect from cues of danger. This method also allows for helping clients find and enhance resources they already have so that self-protection and surviving shift to more openness and thriving.  

Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) 

Developed by Dr. Diana Fosha, AEDP is an experiential therapy which serves to help clients feel more secure and less alone, as a basis for transformation and healing. 

* Hakomi is a Hopi word for ‘How do you stand in relation to these many realms’ or ‘who are you.’