When we experience trauma, sometimes it can begin to feel like our pain is who we are.
Trauma can shake us to our core.
It can shatter our sense of safety in the world and your trust in others.
It can make the world feel like a different and unfamiliar place.
But your trauma does not define you––and in the long run, when faced fearlessly, it will make you stronger.
While trauma is not something we would wish upon ourselves or anyone else, putting our lives back together in the wake of a trauma can help us become more awake, more alive, and more resilient.
Like the Japanese practice of wabi-sabi, we forge the broken pieces together with gold and ultimately are stronger as a result.
We find meaning and strength as we heal and confront the battle within.
As Andrew Solomon says, forging meaning and growing as a result of trauma “does not make what was wrong right, it only makes what was wrong precious.”
If you’re a survivor of abuse and trauma, we’re here to remind you that your trauma is not who you are and you can get to the light on the other side.
Our Evidence Based Approach to Trauma Therapy
When it comes to abuse and trauma, often we internalize a sense of shame and feelings of worthlessness that can endure long after the abuse has stopped.
And as much as we would like to, we can’t just rationalize it away.
We have to do the work. And it’s f*cking hard.
Sometimes it feels unbearable.
But learning we can bear what feels unbearable teaches us our own strength.
We learn we are strong enough to get through anything.
The effects of abuse and trauma can sometimes be so severe that they can even interfere with our ability to do basic things, making it hard to get up in the morning, go to work, or even enjoy time with friends and family.
Anxiety, flashbacks, low self-esteem, and difficulty trusting others can get in the way of forming new relationships and feeling at peace in life.
Sometimes It can be difficult to see past the pain and even believe that healing is possible.
But no matter how it feels, healing is possible if you are willing to courageously face your pain.
No matter how unthinkable what you have suffered is, we will help you discover that your pain is not who you are.
Recovering is all about overcoming what has felt insurmountable.
Our goal is to create an empowering environment that fosters self-worth and autonomy.
Our focus in treatment is to help you uncover the patterns that keep you stuck and to help you find freedom, peace, and transformation.
Our approach is warm and collaborative, and we are fully committed to guiding you to restore the best version of you.
You set the pace. Taking ownership for your healing, you take the power back.
Feelings of grief, anger, and fear are all normal parts of working through trauma.
By building trust together over time and moving at your pace, we restore a sense of safety within and rewrite the story of your trauma so that it no longer rules your life.
Our evidence-based, scientifically proven interventions are shown to be effective in overcoming trauma. Learn more about these empirically validated methods by visiting our Trauma Focused CBT (TF-CBT) and EMDR pages.
Education and Information about Trauma and Abuse
Understanding the different forms of abuse and trauma can ultimately help you heal your wounds and regain control of your life.
It’s important to recognize that any form of abuse or harm can lead to trauma.
In therapy, we refer to big “T” or little “t” trauma to delineate between major, life-threatening traumas (big “T”) and painful life events that everyone experiences that we internalize in such a way that it harms our self-worth and well-being.
Both kinds of trauma can lead us to become alienated from ourselves, our feelings, and even our own bodies.
Trauma in any form can cause us to leave parts of ourselves behind, to become disconnected, afraid, and self-protective.
Little “t” trauma could be something as seemingly trivial as a parent telling you not to express your feelings, encouraging you to behave in ways that aren’t authentically you, or discouraging you from pursuing a relationship, project, or vocation you care about.
Even tacit and non-verbal cues from those close to us can have profound effects on who we are and how we show up in the world––and what we censor and leave behind.
On the other hand, Big “T” trauma refers to major life-threatening experiences in which our physical safety and sense of personal boundaries and autonomy are jeopardized.
Big “T” traumas such as shootings, severe car accidents, physical abuse, and sexual assaults can lead to symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder or even full-blown Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Regardless of the type of trauma we experience, the effects can be so significant that they interfere with our ability to know what we need and feel, and sometimes even compromise our ability to function.
Types of Trauma and Abuse
Below we break down the different forms of abuse and how they may play out in your life:
- Includes beating, punching, kicking, or any type of physical restraint.
- Physical abuse can also include intimidation and physical attempts to make you feel unsafe or control your behavior.
- Physically preventing you from leaving is another form of physical abuse.
- Sexual abuse includes any type of rape or being forced into any type of sexual acts.
- Sexual abuse can also include using “sex as a means to judge [the] partner and assign value” to them.
- Sexual assault and coercion can occur within marriages, domestic partnerships, friendships, and long-term relationships.
Verbal and Emotional Abuse
- Verbal and emotional abuse includes any attempt by the abusive partner to belittle or make you feel worthless through their words.
- The abusive partner may constantly lie to you, telling you that you look ugly, or using their words to make you feel terrible inside.
- Often verbal and emotional abuse are intended to control your behavior by stoking self-doubt and low self-esteem so that you are more likely to comply with what they want.
Mental and Psychological Abuse
- Mental and psychological abuse can include any words or actions that the abusive partner uses to diminish your sense of well-being.
- Psychological abuse can even go as far as making you question reality, and can include gaslighting, which is a type of manipulation tactic in which the abusive partner mischaracterizes facts in a way that make you doubt your own experience.
- When gaslighting occurs, you may increasingly begin to rely on the abuser for the “correct” version of reality, and this may interfere with you getting help because you don’t trust yourself and may have been conditioned to be afraid that others won’t believe you or will judge you.
- Believing you’re being crazy or dramatic when you get upset is another way that your partner may silence you or make it difficult for you to advocate for yourself.
Financial and Economic Abuse
- Financial and emotional abuse can include any way that your partner tries to control your relationship economically, such as overseeing your bank account to control your spending or opening credit cards in your name so you suffer from debt and therefore become financially reliant on them (which can lead to other problems such as trouble getting a loan, car, or house in the future).
- Financial and economic abuse can make you feel as if you have to stay in the relationship, because if you leave, you may find it difficult to support yourself financially. Often immigrants without visas cannot find work and this creates financial dependency, which allows their partner to exert control over them and creates a fear of leaving the relationship.
- Fortunately, there are many programs to help combat this such as thehotline.org. Their phone number is 800-799-SAFE (7233).
Cultural and Identity Abuse
- Cultural and identity abuse can include any actions that the abuser takes to use your culture or ethnicity to control you.
- Culture and identity abuse can be through isolating them from friends and family who speak their native language, using slurs, or even restricting them from practicing cultural traditions.
- Reproductive coercion can include any action by your partner to take away your own control of your reproductive system.
- Reproductive coercion can consist of refusing to use birth control without shared consent, not allowing you to use your birth control (which can include throwing away your birth control pills or telling you you can’t use them), or forcing you to get pregnant or have an abortion.
Stalking and Digital Abuse
- Stalking and digital abuse include ways in which you are threatened, stalked, or bullied online by your abusive partner.
- Stalking and digital abuse include harassment and spreading false information about you online.
- Digital abuse and stalking can consist of the abusive partner controlling who you become friends with online, monitoring what websites you visit, and stealing your passwords in order to scroll through your phone or social media sites.
Although any of these forms of abuse can lead to trauma, the damage doesn’t have to be permanent if you get help from a skilled professional who can help you heal and navigate the challenging steps to empower yourself to get out.
No matter how unthinkable the abuse is, we will help you realize that your pain does not define you, you have the power to leave, and you can recover and find a renewed sense of meaning, strength and peace in your life.
Our Therapy Methods
Our evidence-based, scientifically proven interventions are demonstrated to be effective for trauma, codependency, low self-esteem, and other related depressive and anxiety disorders.
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If you have any questions, contact one of our trauma experts for a free consultation any time.