Trauma Therapy

Trauma Informed Therapy

Has a traumatic event or a series of painful experiences significantly impacted your life and how you perceive the world today? Do you feel like you've been living with this pain for a long time, and it's challenging to imagine a life beyond just surviving day-to-day? Are you often overwhelmed, unsure about making decisions, and feeling “cloudy” or disconnected from reality? Do you frequently experience fear and panic without any clear reason, even at random times during the day? Does living in a constant state of alertness feel normal, as if you are waiting for the next shoe to drop despite positive things occurring in your life? Or perhaps you find yourself haunted by dreams or memories that intrude upon your day and negatively affect your mood and well-being?

Perhaps you've already started your healing journey by diving into self-help books, journaling, or seeking support from others in support groups. Maybe you've even tried therapy, but found yourself avoiding the painful events from your past and instead concentrating on the present. Yet, despite your efforts, a lingering unease remains, keeping you on edge, feeling unsafe, and longing for the reassurance that seems elusive in those critical moments.

But isn't trauma a big word? 

Not really. Trauma can result from unresolved experiences that remain stuck because we lack the tools to process them in the moment or because they were too overwhelming to handle at the time. You may recognize the symptoms mentioned earlier, but find it hard to pinpoint a single life-changing event. It's possible that a series of smaller events over time have shaped the belief that you are not safe, enough, worthy, or okay. Various situations can contribute to this, such as bullying, neglect from caregivers, or even well-intended parents becoming too rigid or preoccupied with an ill parent. These experiences are challenging to endure, and unfortunately, there's often external pressure to "get over it" or leave "the past in the past," which can intensify feelings of shame.

You may relate to one or more of these:

It's a pain that feels as if it will never fade, but I assure you, there is hope.

You Are Not Alone

In Colorado alone, more than half of us have experienced at least one traumatic event in our lifetime.

The good news is that a lot of research has been done to better understand trauma and PTSD because most of us who survive a traumatic event experience similar symptoms, such as unaddressed grief, fear, and unease.

So, what's the difference between PTSD and trauma?

From my experience working with clients, trauma is commonly seen through symptoms of carrying the past into the present. We believe the past threat experience we still carry in our bodies is an actual threat in the present, leading to avoidant behaviors in relationships or seeking toxic excitement to feel "alive." On the other hand, PTSD is also subconscious, but it is more related to re-experiencing through flashbacks and vivid imagery, leaving us feeling tense. It also involves avoidance, but in a different way, where certain smells, places, or experiences that resemble the triggering event are avoided.

Because both trauma and PTSD are extensively researched, there are evidence-based methods like Prolonged Exposure and thoroughly proven approaches like Sensorimotor Psychotherapy that directly address trauma and PTSD healing. 

But how will trauma therapy help me? 

Trauma therapy offers several ways to support your healing journey:

For example, one of my clients discovered the importance of setting boundaries. He realized that he couldn't "think his way" out of his needs and instead learned to honor and respect them. By saying no to a trip with friends despite feeling guilty, he listened to his body's need for rest and set the boundary from a place of compassion and self-care.

What is it like to work with me specifically?

Hi! I'm Michelle

- She/her/ella
- Born and raised in Madrid, Spain by Dutch parents
- Love the fresh smell of pine trees in the evening when hiking, but not when I have to walk an incline up
- My favorite ice cream is strawberry, toffee, and mint, in a container

My clients often describe me as cheery and bubbly, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere where you can feel comfortable and at ease. While I bring positivity to our sessions, I am also not afraid to delve deep into the underlying issues and emotions that may be impacting your life. I believe in addressing the core of the challenges you face, helping you gain valuable insights and understanding. 

I will support and guide you throughout your healing journey, and when needed, I am not hesitant to gently nudge you in the right direction. I am committed to providing you with effective tools and coping strategies to manage trauma and its effects on your daily life.

Each session with me is designed to be rejuvenating and impactful. I approach our work together with a fresh perspective, ready to meet you where you are in your healing process. Whether we are exploring traumatic memories or working on reshaping negative beliefs, I am 100% there for you. 

I do this work because it’s worked for me, and I see it work over and over in my clients.

Common Hesitations:

Okay, but what if I'm not ready to relive the trauma and I'm forced to?

Trauma therapy is not about forcing you to re-live painful experiences. My goal is to create a safe and supportive environment where you have control over what you share and when. We will proceed at a pace that feels comfortable for you. I think of therapy as a collaborative process, and will empower you to set boundaries for readiness to explore traumatic memories. 

What if I'm judged or misunderstood if I share my traumatic experiences?

Trust me. I have heard and seen SO much. This is also a frequent fear from clients before sharing something big, and they’re usually relieved by the end of sharing seeing my reaction. My role is to provide a non-judgmental and empathetic space for you to share your experiences and I am committed to understanding your perspective fully.

What if therapy becomes too emotionally intense, and I can't handle the emotions that come up?

It is natural to feel overwhelmed at times during therapy, especially when exploring traumatic experiences. I am trained to help you navigate through difficult emotions in a supportive and compassionate way to keep you within your window of tolerance. 

“I'm afraid that confronting trauma will make me lose control, or that once I start crying, it won’t stop”

Grief is not uncommon to experience, and after years of bottling stuff up, of course there might be a fear around not being able to put a lid back on it. Crying can be a natural and cathartic response to processing emotions, and it's okay to feel in session with me. 

I'm afraid that confronting trauma will strain my relationships with family and friends who may not understand the healing process.

And you’re right. This can happen at times. Sometimes we grow so much that our friends and loved ones have difficulty keeping up. And sometimes they are in a similar journey and will grow alongside you. Our focus will be on empowering you to develop healthy and meaningful connections. Healing is a personal journey, and as you grow and heal, your relationships may evolve positively as well.

What if therapy triggers feelings of shame or guilt associated with trauma?

Addressing shame and guilt is a significant part of trauma therapy. Sometimes we experience a need to finally share it all at once because finally someone is listening. I usually caution against oversharing too soon too fast, because of a “shame backlash” that can happen. We will work together to reframe self-critical thoughts and develop self-compassion to understand yourself better and when it’s best to share with me. 

I've used disassociation as a coping mechanism for trauma. What if therapy triggers this disconnection from reality?

Through Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, we will focus on grounding techniques and mindfulness practices to help you stay present during challenging emotions and finally help you break out of dissociation.

Do you feel more ready to find relief? 

You deserve to heal, to find joy and peace in your life once again. Schedule your free intake assessment today or text me at (303) 868-6270 and take that first step towards reclaiming your power and embracing the person you were always meant to be. Sessions over zoom or limited availability in person.

Schedule a free intake assessment