© melissalesterlcsw.com 2024
Not everyone loves the word ‘trauma.’ But the fact is, our understanding of what ‘trauma’ is, how it emerges, how it takes hold in the body and how it can be effectively resolved has become very well understood in the past 40 years. And trauma, as well as trauma therapy for women specifically, can look different than it does for other genders. This can be for many reasons including the types of trauma that women are more commonly exposed to, women’s biological and behavioral responses to trauma, societal expectations and reactions to women and many others. (Important note: Nothing here is intended to imply, suggest or declare that men and other genders do not experience trauma of all kinds.)
So, what is ‘trauma?’ Simply put, trauma is what happens when we (and our Nervous System) do not have the chance to fully process or ‘digest’ all the aspects of a distressing event. Remnants of the distressing event that are not fully processed remain lodged in our Nervous System and are often later activated or ‘triggered’ repeatedly over the course of our lives.
Trauma can be triggered consciously or unconsciously, and a common tell-tale sign that an old source of distress has been re-activated is when a present-day response is highly reactive and/or out of proportion to the present-day circumstance. Emotional distress, or upset, is often the result of old distress that we haven’t quite finished with.
I also encourage you not to get caught up in semantics. One person’s ‘trauma’ is another person’s ‘adverse event’ is another person’s ‘hurt feelings’ is another person’s ‘whatever.’ The good news – and the big takeaway – is that however we describe our lingering sources of distress, trauma therapy for women really works. Which brings us to the goal of trauma therapy. Because good trauma therapy not only helps us cope better in the moment, it also resolves (once and for all) the distress and the impact that distress is having on you mentally, emotionally and physically. Yes, even physically.
Engaging with ‘talk therapy’ can be a good starting point in thoughtfully, verbally exploring the possible origins of current-day distress or difficulty. Or even simply identifying what you feel in your body. But it is simply that – a thoughtful starting point. And if your ‘trauma therapy’ stops at the talking phase, then it actually has the potential to both not help and increase your distress by ‘stirring the pot.’ So much so, that the end result of ‘just talk’ therapy can sometimes be re-traumatization. This happens when we activate the distress with talk, and then fail to complete the processing in the body and Nervous System.
You are likely already aware that knowledge, insight and understanding don’t always lead to an actual resolution of our distress or changed behavior or different dynamics in our relationships. Understanding can be a great starting point. But the goal of good trauma therapy and life-changing treatment is distress resolution. Once and for all. Offering trauma therapy for women has been the core of my private practice since 2005. Nothing in my life has brought me as much joy and meaning as this work.
Here are a couple of fascinating tidbits about body-based trauma therapy. We do not need to know the origin of our distress or what is triggering us in order to process it. We also do not have to share any details of a distressing event unless we choose to. Fascinating, right?
Good trauma therapy incorporates engaging our body, our Nervous System and completing the processing of the issue(s) we keep coming up against. Trauma therapy for women is unique in that it must take into account societal, gender, sexual, political, family and other sources of distress common to the experience of women across cultures.
The trauma therapy approaches that I am trained in and use in my practice are all skills that YOU can use on your own. This is very important to me in pursuing any clinical training or adapting new skills into our work together. Because you should leave therapy – at the end of each session and at the end of our time together – with several effective tools to reduce, manage and eliminate your own distress.
We are fortunate to live in a time when we can choose to not be held hostage by our past experiences. And my joy comes from teaching and facilitating the use of several of these methods to improve your quality of life.
Working together means that we will have options to use Meditation and Mindfulness skills, EFT Tapping or Acupressure, Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy, Progressive Counting and other Somatic processing approaches. We will use the approaches that feel right for you and we will tailor our work to your needs, your pace and your process. Offering trauma therapy for women is my passion. So that you can get on with pursuing yours.
© melissalesterlcsw.com 2024