How to Feel More Grounded with Trauma-Informed Therapy 

Why trauma-informed therapy?

“Trauma is viewed not as a single discrete event, but rather as a defining and organizing experience that forms the core of an individual’s identity.  The explanations about abuse, the far-reaching impact, and the attempts to cope with the aftermath come to define who the trauma survivor is.”  — Harris, M & Fallot, R, 2001 

What is trauma-informed therapy –

Our goal is to help survivors rebuild a sense of control and empowerment:

  • Increased self-care and compassion
  • Affect (emotional) regulation
  • Resource development
  • Building of therapeutic relationship, as a start to learning secure attachment

“Our bodies are storytellers.  We store memories in our bodies.  We store passion and heartache.  We store joy, moments of transcendent peace.  If we are to access these, if we are to move into them and through them, we must enter our bodies to do so.  When we encounter an emotional shock, the trauma of a lost beloved, the grief of separation, our bodies count the cost.  Our minds may go numb, adroit at denial, but our bodies hold fast to the truth. “- Julia Cameron, 2009, The Artist’s Way Every Day: A Year of Creative Living

“Treatment should avoid the full-blown re-activation of the pain, dissociation and helplessness associated with the trauma.”  “Patients should be fully present in the here and now, without the residual dissociation and/or hyper-arousal characteristic of PTSD” – Bessel van der Kolk, 1991, 2001

“A common therapeutic dilemma occurs when a client goes into flashback during the session, believing the therapy room to be the scene of the trauma and the therapist to be the perpetrator”  “It is not possible for clients to safely address traumatic memories until and unless they are able to maintain a simultaneous awareness and discrimination of past and present.  They must be able to know, at least intellectually, that the trauma being addressed is in the past, even though it may feel as if it is happening right now.” – Babette Rothschild, 2000

Trauma histories and addiction, self-harm, eating disorders

We see substance use and self-harm as part of a person’s response to pain. They are mechanisms of coping. They do not define who you are.

We are here to help you find self-understanding and healthier ways to address your needs:

The lives of many trauma survivors come to revolve around bracing against and neutralizing unwanted sensory experiences……At least half of all traumatized people try to dull their intolerable inner world with drugs or alcohol… …give a false and paradoxical sense of control…Their diagnosis will come to define their reality without ever being identified as a symptom of their attempt to cope with trauma. – Bessel van der Kolk, 2014

  • People seek relief offered by the addictive/self-harming behavior
  • People seek safety in relying on a substance or behavior in your control vs relying on others
  • You discover new ways to feel safe, working in a compassionate space

All of our Alexandria Virginia therapists practice Trauma-Informed Therapy.

Contact us to learn how we can help you.