Trauma Therapy

The Journey to Healing

A Safe Place To Cope

Is Unresolved Trauma Weighing You Down?

  • Has trauma left an indelible mark on you?
  • Do you often feel out of control, unsafe, or emotionally flooded without warning?
  • In these moments, do you struggle to process what you’re feeling and find a way to move past the pain?

Living with trauma can feel like you’ve never escaped your past. Whenever you are triggered by something that reminds you of what happened, it’s as if your body is transported back to that terrible moment. Without wanting to, you relive the fear and pain that has never left you. This experience can make you feel disconnected, emotionally numb, and hopeless.

Trauma Can Negatively Impact All Aspects Of Your Life

The ways that trauma affects you can be overwhelming. Not only does it have the potential to manifest physically—with maladies such as digestive issues, headaches, insomnia, and joint and muscle pain—you might also experience panic attacks, hypervigilance, flashbacks, and nightmares. Rather than confronting what happened, you may have developed unhealthy coping mechanisms to comfort yourself, such as overeating, abusing alcohol, and other forms of drugs.

If you are a survivor of childhood trauma, you might struggle with misdirected shame, convincing yourself that what happened was somehow your fault. Sadly, the impact this has on your current relationships can lead to problems trusting others and feelings of insecurity. Perhaps not feeling comfortable around others leads you to self-imposed isolation, which, in turn, leads to loneliness and further disconnection.

Although you don’t want to keep reliving these painful memories that hurt so much, you may feel stuck. Without the proper support, you may be unsure how to move forward. Fortunately, therapy can help you process unresolved trauma so that it no longer negatively impacts you. With counseling, you can take back control of your life by learning how to manage the symptoms associated with trauma.

Our Bodies Remember Trauma

Although trauma is more common than many of us think, that shouldn’t imply that it’s a normal state of being. When we experience a traumatic event, we have no control over what happens to us. This shocks our nervous system, causing our body to react with the fight-flight-freeze response.

As the seminal book by Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D. attests, “The Body Keeps The Score.” [1]

Whether we experience little “t” trauma—such as being bullied or rejected by a friend group—or big “T” trauma—like a car accident or natural disaster—we are forever changed by the event. Until we can make sense of what happened and process it, some part of us remains frozen in that moment.

Trauma Can Make Us Feel Like We Are Alone In Our Pain

Since the brain is unable to effectively process what happened, as trauma survivors, we often become plagued by guilt and blame ourselves for what happened. Feeling misunderstood and broken inside, we tend to isolate ourselves from others and suffer alone. Sadly, our culture’s lack of understanding about trauma only serves to compound our sense of loneliness.

What’s more, we may not fully realize the magnitude of the impact that trauma continues to have on us. Whenever a sensory trigger reminds us of the traumatic memory and activates our internal alarm system, we may feel an array of emotions—shock, hurt, pain, anger, confusion, fear, anxiety, or sadness—causing us to become confused and overwhelmed. Until we acknowledge how trauma affects us, we remain stuck in a painful place.

When you feel hopeless, a skilled trauma therapist can help you make sense of what happened to you. And though the memory will remain, trauma therapy allows you to process and release the pain that has haunted you.

Trauma Therapy Allows You To Process Your Pain And Set It Free

If you’re like many trauma survivors, you have waited until your symptoms, such as depression, insomnia, anxiety, panic, or disassociation, have become acute before seeking therapy. Perhaps you actively avoid thinking about what happened and have buried your feelings deep down inside. While this is a common defense mechanism to avoid dealing with the pain, eventually, these wounds must be tended to. For proper healing to happen, you must resolve your underlying trauma.

In trauma treatment, we aim to create a safe place that allows you to process what you have experienced and learn to make meaning out of these events. Building rapport with a trauma-informed counselor will help you feel heard, understood, and cared for, perhaps for the first time. No longer will you have to sit alone with your pain. 

What To Expect In Sessions

Initially, we will identify the symptoms that are causing you the most concern and offer you skills and strategies for getting them in check. Once you are feeling some relief, we can slowly and carefully work through the difficult emotions and sensations associated with your trauma together. The long-term goal of therapy is to move forward beyond your trauma so you become unencumbered by the fear and pain it has caused and get back to living the life you want.

The Modalities We Incorporate Into Trauma Counseling

Our therapists stay up to date on evidence-based treatments for trauma, including these modalities:

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for trauma helps you tap into emotionally-charged memories stored within the brain and process them so you are no longer triggered when something reminds you of what happened;
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) weeds out irrational thoughts and challenge beliefs about yourself that are untrue and unhelpful;
  • Trauma-Focused Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) identifies your values, cultivates self-acceptance, and makes strength-based choices that are aligned with your standards;
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), a somatic technique for trauma processing, connects you with your body through tapping so you can release whatever pain has been stored there;
  • Mindfulness skills keep you grounded in the present moment rather than reliving the past.
Trauma Therapy Chicago

With treatment, you no longer have to live under the shadow of trauma. Building a trusting rapport with your therapist while learning skills to process your feelings in a safe environment can help you heal emotional wounds. Healing allows you to reconnect with your true self and grow into the person you always wanted to be.

But Maybe You’re Not Sure If Trauma Therapy Is Right For You…

Will I have to revisit my trauma in therapy?

First and foremost, as trauma-informed therapists, we prioritize creating a safe space for you. This means setting a pace you feel comfortable with and avoiding anything that has the potential to be retraumatizing. Working collaboratively with you, our goal will be to help you examine and process your experiences so that you can move on with your life. Part of treatment may include talking about your trauma but be assured we will gradually work up to that point in therapy so you feel prepared and supported before delving deeper.

What I experienced in my childhood really wasn’t that bad—does it warrant trauma counseling?

While it is true that trauma is subjective, a common defense mechanism many of us develop to cope with the emotional pain associated with it is to downplay our experiences. A better way to gauge whether or not trauma therapy might be beneficial is to determine whether physical symptoms—like flashbacks and panic attacks—or relationship and social challenges—such as problems relating to others that cause stress and disconnection—are ongoing issues for you. If you suspect that what happened in your childhood might be impacting you now, therapy can be helpful, whether or not we label it as “trauma.”

How will trauma counseling be helpful when I feel so broken?

Understandably, if you’ve been living with unresolved trauma for some time, you may feel hopeless. However, the good news is that we offer evidence-based modalities you can explore with your counselor to help you process your trauma. Trauma treatment will be a multi-pronged approach that will initially help address your most distressful symptoms and then gradually resolve your trauma on a deeper level.

Don’t Let Unresolved Trauma Hold You Back Anymore

You are stronger than you think and there is a way through the pain you have been living with. We have the expertise and training to help. If you would like to find out more about trauma therapy with Ammirati Counseling, you may visit our contact page or call 847-217-9381 to schedule a free 15-minute call to get more information.


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