It’s very common these days to hear people say “the past is the past. You need to just focus on the present.” If only it were that easy. I am a true believer that when we deny or neglect our past experiences, avoid talking about “what happened,” we block ourselves from being able to fully live in the here and now, and struggle to make meaningful plans for the future. Understanding our past often helps to clear a path to our future, and opens the door to resilience and healing. It can empower us and provide us with a greater sense of who we are and what we value. All this being said, talking about our past can be extremely difficult. Especially when it involves traumatic experiences.
What is trauma? A traumatic event can involve a single experience, or enduring repeated events, that completely overwhelm our ability to cope or integrate the ideas and emotions involved in that experience. Traumatic events are usually unexpected and feel beyond our control. They can take a serious emotional toll, even if the event did not cause physical damage. They can have a profound impact on our identity, resulting in negative effects in mind, body, soul and spirit.
An integral component to understand with trauma is that it’s not the event that determines whether or not something is traumatic to someone, but the individual’s experience of that event and the meaning one makes of it. It is not for someone else to decide whether or not an event you experienced was traumatic. Only you can know.
Having adequate support when dealing with trauma is essential. You deserve to be able to work through this in a safe and supportive environment. My approach with trauma involves learning about your past at whatever level feels comfortable for you, and gaining insight into how it impacts your life in the present. Some people want to share their whole story. Some people feel more comfortable with sharing less. You get to decide. We will work together to process through events to the point where traumas and difficult life experiences will no longer trigger such strong emotions and physical reactions.
My therapeutic approach often involves Accelerated Resolution Therapy, also referred to as ART. This is a form of psychotherapy with roots in existing evidence-based therapies but shown to achieve benefits much more rapidly (usually within 1-5 sessions). ART is not just an effective form of therapy for trauma, but can also help you if you are suffering from other mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression. It works to reprogram the brain in a healthy way and make positive changes that allow you to function more effectively in life without the pain and suffering you once experienced.
To learn more about ART and how it works, please click the following link: acceleratedresolutiontherapy.com