Our mind is a complex and wonderful thing. The “mind” incorporates all matters of the brain from memories, to visions of our future to problem solving. The mind contemplates situations we face, it keeps us safe and it enables us in day to day functioning. Our mind includes our thoughts, feelings, our greatest hopes and our biggest fears. Our mind is a powerful thing.
Our mind develops from birth, and some theorists believe parts of it are affected even before birth. Our mind makes sense of the world around us and it helps us to navigate situations that we encounter. Our mind is excellent at patterns and problem solving; it uses experiences from our past and applies strategies in current situations that seem similar. Most of the time this works well for us but there are some patterns and strategies that our mind uses that are not helpful. This is normal, and we all do this. If we keep applying the same way of thinking and reacting to certain situations, we can become stuck and unable to see where to go next because our old reasoning seems right and true. Being stuck in these patterns can then cause a lot of suffering resulting in high levels of anxiety, depression and difficulty coping which can interfere with all areas of our life from work, to relationships and overall sense of well being.
Optimizing mind health requires identification of patterns to see which ones continue to work for us and which ones don’t. Once we identify the patterns that no longer work for us, we can work toward changing them. This is where we can help.
Trauma is the response to a distressing situation (or situations) that cause us to feel helpless, fearful and limits our ability to cope. Symptoms of trauma may include anxiety and related disorders, depression, difficulty managing emotions and feelings of being overwhelmed.
You may have noticed that we wrote trauma with a big “T” and a small “t”. There is a reason for this. Trauma (big “T”) can be caused by critical events that threaten our life such as being in or witnessing a serious accident, a sexual assault or the sudden loss of a loved one. Trauma can also be caused by non-life threatening events such as what might be experienced by someone who has repeated exposure to an invalidating environment (small “t”) where we learn that we are helpless to change things such as a child who learns at a young age that it is not ok to show emotions. Both big “T” and small “t” trauma can have a lasting impact on a person. Regardless of its origin, trauma response, and the impact on a person, are not dictated by the events themselves but by the experience of the individual. Trauma is never our fault; however, it is up to us to heal ourselves.
Healing from Trauma
We can never undo the trauma that we experience, but we can reduce the impact that trauma has on us.
Clients with trauma may require the support of a psychiatrist in addition to the work we can do together and we will make recommendations for the level of support that is appropriate for each individual. There are times where we may recommend that there is another professional or service that is better suited for the client. Rest assured, that the well being of the client is our top priority; we are not a “one size fits all” service.