Welcome back as we continue in our final installment in our series answering several common questions about trauma. Our first two installments are featured over on Gracewood's Hope for Families blog. I'm excited to finish out this series here on the Memorial Heights Counseling blog. So far, we've discussed what trauma is and how it impacts us. If you haven't already, please do check out the first two posts in this series to get you caught up:
Today, in our final post in our series about trauma, we will be discussing how you can heal from trauma.
The very nature of a traumatic experience is that it changes us. Because of the event's intensity or our own perceived helplessness, something shifts inside us. Our fear response kicks in, and our brain begins to make adjustments that account for the terrifying nature of the traumatic event. As this process happens, you may experience changes in your emotions, bodies, relationships, sense of identity, and ability to cope with stress. You may find yourself feeling as though you lack meaning, purpose, or an ability to feel connected to others.
Although time and distance from the trauma may dull our experiences of pain, they do not heal all wounds. Healing from trauma is a journey that you must intentionally walk in order to truly move forward. Research shows that for survivors of trauma, the path toward healing includes understanding the nature of trauma and its impact, reestablishing trust and a sense of safety, developing a healthy sense of power and control, and doing all of this from a perspective that emphasizes personal strengths and resources.
There are several ways you can walk this path--and you don't have to walk it alone! Here are three ways you can move toward healing from trauma:
1) Practice self-care. As you begin to understand the specific ways trauma has impacted you, you can begin to be your own best advocate and friend. Our experiences with trauma can make you feel like you are worthless, unloved, and disempowered. By intentionally practicing self-care, you are fighting back against the belief that you are less because of what happened to you.
2) Invest in healthy relationships. Especially if the trauma you experienced occurred in the context of a relationship, connecting with others after trauma can feel scary and impossible. You may want to retreat and isolate in response to our traumatic experiences. However, we know that people heal best in relationship and in community. You can heal best when there are others who care for you, will check in on you, and remind you of your safety and value.
3) Talk to a counselor. This may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to heal from past trauma is to work with a counselor. Counseling provides a safe, structured environment in which to tell your story to a caring, nonjudgmental professional who can help you process what happened to you in a helpful and productive way. In addition, specific counseling techniques like Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) can help you process through your painful memories of the trauma. A licensed counselor can help you make sense of your history, learn healthy coping skills, and move forward in strength and power.
At Memorial Heights Counseling, I am passionate about helping people use their own inner strengths and resources to heal their past wounds. I specialize in trauma-informed care, and strive to provide you with support that will enable you to move forward toward the life you want beyond trauma.
For more information or to schedule an appointment today, please fill out the appointment request form. I look forward to hearing from you and partnering with you on your path toward healing.