Indicators of trauma:
Do you have a hard time calming down, and feel like your body is always on alert somehow?
Do you have flashbacks to terrifying moments or moments of betrayal?
Do you experience emotional flashbacks of shame, helplessness, and abandonment?
Do you sometimes feel shut down, numbed out, like you can’t think or feel clearly?
Do you feel overtaken by feelings of panic, shame, desperation, or anger?
Do you sometimes pick fights or shut down without understanding why?
Have you felt betrayed and left all alone with feelings too overwhelming to bear – over and over and over again?
Have you tried talking with people about past events, but find that either it doesn’t seem to have words or your talking just loops and leaves you feeling worse and more alone?
Michaela’s approach is perfect for the woman who has been to therapy and isn’t seeing the shifts she’s hoping for. She is able to hold space during the difficult moments. Her ability to be present for people is what creates a very effective therapeutic environment. I’d recommend her to any woman who has unresolved trauma that is greatly influencing their ability to live the life they want to live. Healing is 100% possible. – a client of mine
What is trauma?
Trauma is perhaps the most avoided, ignored, belittled, denied, misunderstood, and untreated cause of human suffering….Trauma is a basic rupture—loss of connection to ourselves, our families, and the world…..when [worked through] thoroughly, healing can lead not only to symptom reduction, but long-term transformation.
—Peter Levine Waking the Tiger
Anything that keeps a part of you “stuck in the past” can be thought of as a trauma of sorts. Transforming trauma means that those reactions get unstuck and all that energy is free to support you in living in the here and now.
(By the way, that “stuck in the past” feeling sometimes shows up in flashbacks to past events. If you’re struggling with flashbacks or abreactions, check out the flashback halting protocol.
You may have experienced childhood trauma, or trauma later in life (physical or emotional) — or both.
Below I explain more about both.
People dealing with this kind of trauma may have been abused in childhood – emotionally, physically, or sexually. But it’s not only childhood abuse that leads people to have traumatic reactions in the present. You may also be struggling with attachment trauma or attachment wounding (Where your caregivers weren’t dangerous, but they didn’t meet your needs either, which leaves you sometimes feeling alone in what feels like a not-very-friendly world):
- Your parents were unable to give you the care and attention that children need to thrive. When this starts very young, it’s a trauma because it’s overwhelming and we don’t have other resources/defenses.
- You experienced neglect or emotional abuse.
- A parent seemed to need you to take care of them.
- You felt/were threatened by a reactive caregiver.
- You were adopted.
- A parent was ill, mentally or physically, when you were a child, or was for some other reason unable to connect with you consistently.
Attachment trauma shows up in how you struggle to connect with others now, in your sense of shame, and in emotional flashbacks. You may avoid people, rage at people, , or feel a need for others to take care of you in the way you weren’t taken care of then.
Childhood trauma can result in feelings of sadness, fear, stress, rage, or numbness.
Many folks with trauma also find some sense of comfort or control in some kind of outlet that becomes a problem in itself: overeating, spacing out, and finding ways to avoid their feelings.
If we can work together to help you feel safer and more in control, it will help us get to other issues that have maybe felt untouchable in the past — the feelings, sensations, and memories that have kept you feeling stuck can be worked through, released.
Recovering from trauma takes more than words
When it comes to trauma, words aren’t always enough. My approach helps you to tune into your body at a pace that’s safe for you, to feel newfound safety and solidity in yourself, and to find a sense of empowerment. This is important because trauma can take away our sense of control, over ourselves, over our feelings, and sometimes over intrusive images, shame attacks, or other traumatic reactions.
You may also find that, when you’ve shared about your trauma, you’ve been left feeling equally activated (or even more panicked) and just as alone as before you shared. Trauma isolates us from others, and sometimes the telling of the story is difficult in itself. I help to undo the aloneness of trauma by sitting with you every step of the way and helping you to tell, yes, but also to breathe, to feel, to connect — at a pace that’s safe for you. When you have an ally who is attentive to all the fear or anger or desperation that no one attended to, trauma responses begin to heal.
I’ll help you to understand how this trauma is living within you today and help you to find tools to begin to find safety and relief.
The combination of working with your body and your emotions helps people to stop “just talking about it” and stop reliving it – and to find freedom, clarity, connection, and even a new sense of themselves and the world.
From beginning to end, I’ll help you to feel safe and supported so your mind and body begin to perceive a sense of safety, within yourself and with safe others.
Trauma isolates; good counseling reconnects.