Did you know there are different types of trauma? When most people think of trauma, they think of what we call single incident traumas: feeling haunted and unable to function easily following a life-threatening car accident, assault, rape, or a traumatic loss. With single incident traumas like these, the upsetting event typically happens once, in one moment in time.
We also think of the type of PTSD symptoms some war veterans experience after tours in combat zones. This is an example of complex trauma, because the trauma is experienced multiple times over an extended period of time. There are many other examples of complex trauma such as when people are stuck in dysfunctional work or personal relationships, domestic violence situations,or trauma stemming from other circumstances that are prolonged and threatening.
There is also a type of trauma called developmental trauma. Many people suffer from developmental trauma and do not even recognize that this is what accounts for their symptoms of anxiety, depression, panic, substance abuse, and difficulty in relationships. Like complex trauma, developmental trauma happens many times over a long period of time. The difference is that the chronic trauma is happening in a developmentally significant time in one's life: in utero, infancy, toddlerhood, childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. When our brains are forming and our bodies are growing under the significant stress that trauma brings, when we are learning how to interact with the world and other people in it under duress, our capacity to feel safe, to calm our spirit and bodies, can get severely compromised. One of the worst parts about developmental trauma is that people who have grown up with it don't always have any other internal or relational experience except for feeling anxious, unsafe, and guarded around others.
The good news is that all forms of trauma can be soothed and the body can be restored to healing. Jennifer Hume uses several treatment modalities to help. The most important component to successful trauma therapy is feeling safe. Jennifer spends many sessions with each of her clients, learning about their personal experiences and co-creating trust and safety from which to work. When people are traumatized and their nervous systems are left frazzled and dysregulated, they frequently learn to dissociate to avoid the painful sensations in their bodies. People dissociate by thinking, "living" in their heads, for example, and lose touch with what is happening in their bodies. When people are out of touch with their bodies in this way, they frequently miss cues to relax, self-soothe, or slow down. This can, in part, lead to physical problems including tension, pain, exhaustion, stomach problems or migraines. Jennifer Hume gently assists people in reconnecting with their somatic experiences, calming their nervous systems, and safely attending to their experiences of trauma in the present moment.
In addition to the approaches above, Jennifer Hume, LMHC, MCAP has been practicing EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) since 2004. EMDR is a very well-researched therapy that is effective for the treatment of trauma. Please visit EMDR.com for more information about this life-changing therapy. Jennifer also uses a form of EMDR that has a more somatic focus. She is also a level-one practitioner of Brainspotting, which is another approach many people find helpful.
Please call Jennifer Hume today to get started.