Is Trauma Therapy Right for You?
How do I know that the things I’m experiencing are from trauma? I don’t remember experiencing anything really bad…I do remember experiencing terrible things, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to work on them…I can’t tell if my lack of memory from childhood is from a trauma history…I’ve heard of this trauma therapy, but not sure what to think.
Memory reconsolidation is one of the focuses of all of our trauma treatments. When an emotional learning occurs (which just means that something big happened, it had an emotional marker, and your brain remembered it and held onto a larger meaning) it is hard to access. Emotional memories cause behaviors and feelings that can be unwanted today. Ready for an example?
Jane has trouble in intimate relationships. She worries that if she says the wrong thing, she’ll be judged. This causes her to not say everything she’s thinking and feeling to her partner, and keeps her further away from her partner than she wants to be. She gets this intellectually but can’t seem to stop doing it. Recognizing the issue and even the reason for the issue hasn’t worked.
When her therapist helps Jane do some neural network tracking, Jane remembers experiences with her mom where sometimes her mom was warm and friendly, and sometimes her mom would roll her eyes and say under her breath, “That’s ridiculous.” Jane has no idea that the memories from her mom going back and forth between warmth and judgement have anything to do with her current dilemma. Jane and her therapist work together following sensations, emotions, thoughts, and images and discover that Jane is accidentally living in memory, expecting judgment if she says the wrong thing and becoming more quiet, like she did with her mother. Trauma work can help with this. Memory reconsolidation can be used to unlearn that expectation of judgement, so that Jane can feel more free to speak and to be close. This is why trauma recovery work might be for a wider population than just people who experience full blown PTSD.
If you do have full blown PTSD, we have therapists trained in many methods that address the symptoms and the underlying causes of trauma. Trauma counseling can come in many forms. We work hard to titrate trauma work so that it feels as safe and comfortable as possible. No matter how you approach it, trauma therapy can cause some distress. Memories, dreams, uncomfortable emotional feelings, and sometimes uncomfortable physical sensations will accompany trauma work. Your therapist will work with you to find the best trauma techniques for your issue, can help you investigate whether or not something traumatic happened to cause your current issues and can recommend treatment strategies that are as gentle as possible.
IPNB Psychotherapy of Austin | 4009 Banister Lane, Two Park Place, Suite 330 Austin, TX 78704 | 512-653-0564 | email