TRAUMA INFORMED CARE is important to us:
At My Sisters Place all the counselling and therapy we offer is trauma informed and in many cases trauma specific. What that means is that all of our counsellor’s and therapists are trained and understand the impacts of trauma, how this can impact and affect you as an individual and are able to help you understand what is happening and help reduce some of the symptoms of trauma that you may be experiencing. We give some some brief information below on common symptoms you may experience and some of the specific therapies we offer.
What is Trauma?
Trauma can be understood as an event or events that when experienced create such intense feelings of fear, helplessness, powerlessness, loss of control and often perception of some threat to life, that it can leave us feeling overwhelmed physically, emotionally and mentally and can often overpower our ability to cope or respond in the moment. It is this overwhelming nature of a traumatic event that effects the way our brain processes the information at the time and interferes with how and where the brain stores the memory of the event. This can mean that the event itself becomes almost frozen in time.
Interpersonal trauma can be defined as experiences involving disruption in trusted relationships as the result of violence, abuse, war or other forms of political oppression, or forced uprooting and dislocation from one’s family, community, heritage, and/or culture.
(Bierman, Mason et al., 2010)
It is these experiences over time that can;
‘produce profound and lasting changes in phsysiological arousal, emotion, cognition and memory
Trauma can be physical violence but also emotional and psychological. Some significant and common events that can effect us in a traumatic way can include:
- Domestic abuse
- Sexual Abuse, sexual exploitation
- Childhood Sexual Abuse
- Witnessing acts of violence
- Severe injury or illness
- The death of a loved one
- Fear of or perceived threat to life to self or others
What are some of the signs of trauma?
We can experience strong physical or emotional reactions immediately following the experience of a traumatic event. Many people will notice that their feelings dissipate over the course of a few days or weeks. However, for some people, the symptoms of psychological trauma may be increasingly severe and last longer.
Here are some of the physical and psychological signs of trauma. If you are experiencing any of these signs on a regular basis it may indicate that you may be affected by some of the traumatic events you have experienced in your life and accessing trauma informed therapy may be helpful.
- Intrusive thoughts of the event that may occur out of the blue
- Visual images of the event, also known as flashbacks
- Loss of memory and concentration abilities
- Losing time – dissociation
- Mood swings
- Avoidance of activities or places that trigger memories of the event
- Social isolation and withdrawal
- Lack of interest in previously-enjoyable activities
- Easily startled
- Tremendous fatigue and exhaustion
- Chronic muscle patterns
- Sexual dysfunction/disinterest
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Complaints of aches and pains throughout the body
- Extreme alertness; always on the lookout for warnings of potential danger
- Overwhelming fear
- Obsessive and compulsive behaviors
- Detachment from other people and emotions
- Emotional numbing
- Intense Guilt
- Emotional shock
- Panic attacks
EMDR Therapy for trauma
EMDR or it to give the approach its full name is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a very specific evidence based trauma treatment which is used to treat symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Although commonly used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), EMDR can also be used to treated other conditions in which disturbing memories play a part.
How does EMDR therapy work?
When a traumatic event happens, the strong emotions we experience can interfere with our ability to completely process the experience and that moment or experience can become “frozen in time.” When this happens recalling the traumatic event may feel as though we are reliving the event all over again because the images, smells, sounds, and feelings are still there and can be triggered in the present.
When triggered these memories cause a negative impact on our daily functioning and interfere with the way we see ourselves and our world, and how we relate to others. EMDR therapy directly affects the brain, helping to “unfreeze” the traumatic memories, and allowing you to resolve them. Over time the disturbing memory and associated beliefs, feelings, sensations become more integrated into our memory so when we think about the situation we don’t feel like we are reliving it. EMDR does not get rid of the memory, the memory is still there, but it is less upsetting.
The exact mechanism for the effectiveness of EMDR is yet unknown. It appears that using rapid eye movements relieves the anxiety associated with the trauma so that the original event can be examined from a more detached perspective, somewhat like watching a movie of what happened. This enables you to access ways of thinking about the original trauma, or reprocessing the trauma, which allows your body to release stored negative emotional responses which reduce the bodies reaction to it, this is known in EMDR as desensitization.
How do I access EMDR Therapy?
The first step is to contact us so we can arrange a face to face appointment at My Sisters Place office on Borough Road where you will be greeted by a member of the counselling team. This is an opportunity for you to find out more about EMDR and ask any questions you may have that will put you at ease. Feel free to write down questions prior to the appointment if that helps. You can arrange an appointment by contacting the Counselling Team directly on 01642 256036. Sometimes we may not be able to answer your call immediately but you can leave a voicemail message leaving your name and a contact number and a member of the team will contact you to arrange the appointment.
During the appointment we will explain in detail what EMDR is and what you can expect during your EMDR therapy.
At the end of the appointment if you feel EMDR is the most appropriate therapy for you your request will be progressed and how you will be contacted when a start date becomes available. There is no obligation to go ahead at this time, if you need time to think about it, that’s ok too, you can re-contact us at anytime and let us know. We appreciate that it has to feel like the right time for you. Due to the demand for EMDR within the service waiting times may be longer. But you will be given some indication at your face to face appointment.