Therapy for trauma

Online therapy in Bellevue and throughout Washington

Stop surviving and start living.

Did I experience trauma?

Maybe you're noticing:

  • You’re caught in a cycle of feeling too much or too little emotion
  • You relive the worst parts of your life and experience shame or guilt for past decisions or behavior
  • You feel responsible for others’ emotions or fixing others’ problems
  • It’s difficult to develop trust in your relationships
  • You find yourself isolating and feeling detached or estranged from those around you


Understanding trauma: It's as if you're stuck in a loop, reliving the hurt over and over again

You’re living in a constant state of alertness, always on the lookout for potential threats, and unable to relax. It’s like being on a rollercoaster of feelings, where even seemingly minor triggers can lead to intense reactions. This emotional instability feels confusing and exhausting.

You swing between these intense emotional outbursts and emotional suppression. You disconnect from your emotions to avoid feeling any more pain. But that numbness also leads to difficulties in connecting with others and forming new relationships. You find yourself pushing others away or avoiding closeness to protect yourself from potential harm. You withdraw into yourself, avoiding vulnerability at all costs, even though deep down your heart aches for connection.

The outside world feels like a minefield, full of triggers and potential dangers, so isolation becomes your coping mechanism to protect you. You’ve built walls around your heart, thinking it would protect you from the pain. However, these walls now feel like a prison, as the loneliness only intensifies the feelings of alienation.

You’re left wondering why you feel so different from others, perpetuating the pervasive feeling that you are “broken” or “crazy” –that you don’t belong.

HEALING FROM TRAUMA: WHAT IT CAN FEEL LIKE TO LIVE WITHOUT THE PAIN OF PAST TRAUMA​

Finally, the storm that used to rage within you has subsided, leaving you a greater sense of peace and calm. You’re no longer haunted by intrusive thoughts or vivid memories that used to send you spiraling. Instead, your mind feels clearer, and you can focus on the present moment without being dragged back into the past.

Things that used to launch you into a panic or a flood of negative emotions now have a weakened hold on you. You’ve regained control over your reactions. You can acknowledge the triggers without being overwhelmed by them.

You’re feeling more trusting and secure in your relationships. You can connect with others on a deeper level, without constantly fearing that they will hurt you. You’re able to set healthy boundaries and communicate your needs without the fear of rejection or abandonment.

You’ve learned to listen to your body’s cues, to nurture it with care, and to use mindfulness techniques to ground yourself in the present moment. You’re looking back on your experiences with a sense of understanding and compassion for yourself. You can move forward without being defined by what happened to you.

You’re no longer feeling like a passive victim. You now feel like an empowered survivor. You’ve reclaimed your life and have a renewed sense of hope for the future.


Healing from trauma: What it can feel like to live without the pain of past trauma

What is trauma?

Trauma is defined as an emotional response to a distressing event or series of experiences. This event or set of experiences shock and overwhelm one’s capacity to emotionally process what has occurred and is registered as a major threat to one’s physical, emotional, or psychological safety and wellbeing. Trauma causes psychological and physiological stress responses that challenge or exceed one’s ability to cope. Research has shown that traumatic events are common. Although some who experience trauma will not have lasting effects, others will experience long-term post traumatic stress reactions (posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD). These trauma responses can change the way we view ourselves and the world, in turn affecting how we function and interact with others.

Types of trauma

  • Acute trauma: a one-time event (ex. car crash, sudden death of a loved one, sexual or physical assault)
  • Chronic or complex trauma: repeated or prolonged harmful events from which there feels no possibility of escape (persistent bullying, neglect, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, domestic violence)
  • Vicarious or secondary trauma: exposure to other’s suffering (frequently seen in the helping professions: doctors and nurses, first responders, law enforcement, therapists and social workers)

Symptoms of trauma & PTSD

  • Always feeling on edge or on guard against potential danger
  • Nervousness, anxiety, or panic
  • Frequent nightmares and difficulty sleeping
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • Negative thoughts and feelings about oneself or others (“I am bad,” “no one can be trusted,” “the world is an unsafe place”)
  • Desire to avoid people, places, activities, objects, or situations that are related to or reminders of the event/s
  • Involuntary memories or intrusive thoughts about the event/s
  • Feeling irritable or experiencing angry outbursts
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Social isolation
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unexplained physical pain

Is trauma therapy right for me?

Maybe you’re unsure whether what you experienced can be considered “traumatic.” You’re used to downplaying what happened and telling yourself, “it wasn’t that bad.” However, perhaps you’re beginning to see that those seemingly “normal” or everyday experiences in childhood were not so normal. These experiences do matter. These events are likely the reason you ask yourself, “Why am I like this?” “What’s wrong with me?” “Am I crazy?” You may also have the thought, “it was so long ago, I should be over it by now.” The reality is time doesn’t heal all wounds, especially those caused by trauma. Unless you work through the emotions and underlying mechanisms that are continuing to drive the effects of past trauma, your pain will continue to appear in the present. Trauma treatment can aid you in understanding how unresolved trauma affects your current reality, sense of internal and external safety, and relationships, and provides you with tools to effectively address its aftereffects so that it does not continue to harm your life today. When you learn how to care for your whole self, you can uncover who you’re meant to be.

Therapy for trauma can help you:

  • Develop more balanced and accurate interpretations of the past event or experiences
  • Deconstruct and challenge self-blame, shame, and hindsight bias (the tendency to look at past events as more predictable than they were at the time)
  • Re-frame negative thoughts regarding safety, trust, power and control, and intimacy
  • Learn to effectively regulate and tolerate distressing emotions
  • Establish more intimate, meaningful, and fulfilling connections
  • Re-establish bodily and psychological safety
  • Rebuild self-esteem and self-worth, learning to value yourself and your experiences
  • Learn to live in the present moment

Specialty populations I serve

Young Adults

Millennials

You do not have to be defined by the trauma you’ve experienced. You are so much more. It’s time to take back control.

You do not have to be defined by the trauma you’ve experienced. You are so much more. It’s time to take
back control.

back to top