Dealing with past trauma is no easy matter. Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that is triggered by a traumatic, terrifying or otherwise very memorable event. PTSD is an advanced disorder and not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop the disorder; PTSD even carries specific treatment protocols as a specialty. However, those exposed to traumatic events may develop feelings of fear or a high degree of stress and anxiety even after the event is over and they are no longer feeling in danger.
Past abuse, whether it is emotional, physical, verbal or sexual, causes long-term negative effects on your mental health and emotional wellbeing. Those who have experienced abuse may struggle with problems with feelings of anger, shame, guilt, anxiety, depression and trust, and also may engage in self-destructive behavior. I help adult survivors of abuse recover from the trauma they have experienced in their past.
Therapy can also be a good idea for family members close to a survivor of abuse, as a means to help the family develop healthy methods of coping.
What is Trauma?
Trauma and it’s post-traumatic symptoms are associated strongly with police or veterans of the military who have been exposed to violent situations such as combat. But, please realize that all sorts of trauma occur during a person’s lifetime that can lead to anxiety, stress, inability to function and a host of other PTSD-like symptoms. This includes victims of physical or sexual abuse, a bad accident, or a serious natural disaster.
The effects of trauma are a heavily studied subject, and funded research studies often focus on how PTSD symptoms develop in the brain of an afflicted individual. Research does show that susceptibility to trauma can have genetic markers, meaning some are more prone than others to experiencing stress and anxiety from traumatic events.
Treating Trauma as a Therapist
When treating symptoms like anxiety and stress deriving from exposure to traumatic events, it is often necessary to spend time finding out the actual source of the anxiety or stress. Not everyone walks into a counselor’s office knowing exactly what past trauma is affecting their current life.
The good news is that there are specific, tangible and effective treatment methods designed to isolate and identify past trauma or other causes of current problems. I am a major proponent of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, which encourages patients to focus on past memories while experiencing bilateral eye stimulation (eye movements). EMDR therapy has been recognized as effective and is associated with a major reduction in the vividness, emotion and overall effects of traumatic memories.
EMDR was original developed specifically to treat PTSD back in the 1980s and works by having the patient directly focus on the memory. By focusing directly on the memory, the treatment manages to help the patient change the way the memory of the traumatic event is stored in their brain. These changes in how the memory is stored can effectively reduce or eliminate anxiety or stress symptoms that are tied to the trauma.
The processing of memories through EMDR therapy differs from other trauma-focused treatment methods. EMDR is not based upon high exposure to the distressing memory, detailed descriptions of the trauma, or challenging of dysfunctional beliefs. This can make EMDR treatment a little less stressful for patients to complete, when compared to other treatment methods for trauma.
- Eye Movement Desensitizing and Reprocessing Therapy treatment is short-term, effective, and can be done in person or at home through online therapy.
- The eight stages of EMDR therapy are a map that the EMDR therapist follows to provide a framework for understanding the treatment process.
- EMDR therapy is an effective way to get over your past and serves as a treatment option for those suffering from anxiety, panic, post-traumatic stress disorder, or trauma.
- EMDR Therapy is often used to treat anxiety disorders as more and more clinicians & patients begin to understand the benefits of treatment.
- Identifying strong & negative thoughts or beliefs is a key benefit of EMDR Therapy, making EMDR a strong treatment for depression & major depressive disorders.
- Both employees & executives often work at below their potential because of past trauma caused by a history of criticism, mistakes , self-questioning or relational abuse. EMDR Therapy can help.
- EMDR Therapy is an effective treatment for helping those with low self esteem. It can define if your feelings are the result of abuse as a child or if something more recent is impacting your self esteem.
- Sexual dysfunction often ties back to deep-rooted psychological causes; EMDR Therapy helps the patient (and therapist) get to the root cause and have a chance to "reprocess" the info for a better result without dysfunction.
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) & Mental Health Service Provider (MHSP) in Tennessee
I have worked with individuals and families throughout Tennessee on the personal issues that trouble them for over 15 years. From managing depression and dealing with grief to addressing past trauma, anger and relationship issues, I am here to help. The reason I mention EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) so much in relation to dealing with personal issues is because EMDR therapy works quickly to help the therapist find the deep-rooted problems and traumas that are the cause of many issues.
Steven Lepley LPC, MHSP
Licensed in Tennessee
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, Mental Health Services Provider & EMDR Therapist offering virtual telemedicine appointments throughout all of Tennessee.
Ask me about my experience & how I can help you address the challenges you are facing. Call me or text me at 615.330.2659.