Sometimes, recovery from traumatic life experiences needs extra help from specific interventions, standalone or alongside a talking therapy. They can be used with both children and adults. This section talks about how I can help you work with the fall out from traumatic life events.
Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that fracture your sense of safety, making you feel helpless in a world that feels dangerous and unpredictable.
Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with heavy emotions, memories, flashbacks and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling disconnected, numb and unable to relate to or trust other people.
Often traumatic experiences involve a threat to life or safety, but it doesn't always involve physical harm. Any experience that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and mortally threatened can result in trauma. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatised.
I integrate two well known and well used techniques into my psychotherapy offering, both of which aim to reduce (and sometimes remove) symptoms of traumatic stress such as:
intrusive thoughts or images
intense distress at reminders of the trauma (either real, symbolic or imagined)
sensory overload or over-stimulation
unwanted responses to triggers
In everyday life, information from events and experiences are transferred from short-term memory into long-term memory using a part of the brain called the Hippocampus. When you experience a very traumatic event, the brain automatically puts you into a fight or flight state. With this instinctive survival system activated, stress hormones are produced readying your body to deal with the threat you perceive and this interrupts the usual flow or processing of information. So traumatic events get stuck in a part of the brain from where they can intrusively force you to flashback, have nightmares or re-live what happened - both mentally and physically.
The Flash Technique (used in EMDR therapy) and Rewind are designed to help you move the recollection of such events to your long-term memory, so they are not so intrusive on your every day life.
These techniques can help in a whole range of situations, such as witnessing or being directly involved in a terrible accident, being involved in armed combat, surviving a criminal assault, a traumatic hospital procedure, giving birth in emergency circumstances, witnessing something awful and many other life experiences that leave a heavy footprint behind of nightmares, flashbacks or intrusions.
They don't eradicate memories, but aim to put you in control of your own recall and remove the intensity of unwanted, unpleasant feelings.
I offer them as standalone interventions, over 1-3 sessions or as part of a therapeutic treatment plan alongside talking or creative therapy.
If you'd like to know a little more about what is involved, I'd love to hear from you. There is no obligation for you to move forward with this, but do get in touch so we can chat about how either one could help you.