Trauma-focused Therapy

coping / support / resilience / interpersonal / safety / trust / hope / impact / minority stress / stigma / shame / numbness


Making sense of trauma, and the impact of trauma, can be accompanied by the fear that you will never be able to overcome the distress you feel when you remember the experience or when those intrusive nightmares, flashbacks, and negative thoughts come crashing into your awareness.  Through trauma-focused therapy we reclaim confidence, hopefulness, intimacy, safety, self-esteem, and trust. I have specific expertise in treating trauma symptoms related to sexual assault, intimate partner violence and emotional abuse, military sexual trauma (MST), childhood and complex sexual trauma, violence, and combat trauma experienced by Veterans. These experiences can impact physical health, and daily life. I also have years of focused experience providing trauma-focused care to the LGBTQIA+ community...

 

Many people will experience a form of trauma in their lives. Trauma can come with feelings of shame, anger, and confusion. Posttraumatic stress is a normal human reaction to traumatic events. However, for some individuals this stress persists and interferes with their ability to live the life that they want. I work with complex cases that sometimes include dissociation, numbness, anger, risky behaviors, and years of avoidance. The treatments I provide are the most powerful and effective treatments available for these conditions. I have expertise in individual, as well as relationship (i.e., with a partner) based trauma-focused therapies. I have experienced many times how these treatments help people gain new perspectives about what happened to them, develop a sense of empowerment over their trauma, and improve their lives. These treatments can also be helpful if you feel stuck following experiences of trauma, even if you don’t have PTSD. If you’re unsure whether you want to discuss your trauma, or unsure which approach feels like a good fit for you, we can discuss your concerns. We will explore trauma-focused care that builds upon your current support, coping skills, and personal experience. I primarily employ time-limited, evidence-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies (CBT) such as CPT, PE, and CBCT. (See Individual and Couples Therapy based Trauma-Focused Services.)


In psychological literature, stressors are defined as events and conditions (e.g., losing a job, death of an intimate partner) that cause change and require that the individual adapt to the new situation or life circumstance. Stress processes can include the experience of prejudice events, expectations of rejection, hiding and concealing your authentic self, internalized homophobia, intimate partner violence, discrimination, and ameliorative coping processes that have become bad, ineffective habits. These experiences can be particularly painful when there is social pressure to conceal your experiences, or stigma. I address what it’s like to have no one to talk to about these experiences, and any distress that comes from having nowhere to do this work safely. I practice LGBTQIA+ affirming therapy that considers the impact of minority stress and chronic stress responses. Aside from these stress processes, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and heterosexuals who report any same-sex sexual partners over their lifetime, have greater risk of childhood maltreatment, interpersonal violence, trauma to a close friend or relative, and unexpected death of someone close.