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Therapy for Trauma

Have you experienced overwhelming, stressful, or traumatic events? Have these experiences changed how you interact with people and go through your day?

Image of a man attentively listening to a therapist, symbolizing trauma and PTSD therapy. Discover specialized therapy for trauma offered by our experienced therapists, providing support and guidance for healing and recovery.

Are intrusive memories, thoughts, and feelings of past painful events becoming too much to handle on your own?

Do you feel like your emotions are unbearable and out of control? Are you experiencing a sense of numbness and feeling disconnected? Are you avoiding people and places in attempts to feel safe and avoid triggers that could lead to a breakdown? Continuing to struggle through life with these overwhelming symptoms is a lot. You do not have to go it alone.  

Feeling like this is too much.

We understand what you are going through.

When you are ready, we are here for you.

Does this sound like you?

Image of a woman with her head in her hands, representing the emotional impact of trauma. Explore our specialized trauma and PTSD therapy services offered in Austin, Texas. Additionally, we provide online therapy in Texas, Illinois, and Florida, ensuring access to support and healing from the comfort of your own space.
  • ​Intrusive thoughts, images, and memories of the event or experiences that seem to come out of nowhere or triggered by life around you 

  • Nightmares

  • Loss of memories and concentration abilities

  • Disorientation, confusion

  • Anger, irritability, mood swings

  • Anxiety and fear

  • Feeling sad or hopeless

  • Feeling disconnected or numb

  • Guilt, shame, self-blame

  • Avoidance of activities or places that trigger memories of the event

  • Social isolation and withdrawal

  • Lack of interest in previously-enjoyable activities

  • Easily startled, Edginess, always on the lookout for warnings of potential danger

  • Tremendous fatigue and exhaustion

  • Insomnia

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns

  • Detachment from other people and emotions

If you answered yes, you may be experiencing symptoms of trauma or even symptoms of PTSD

Trauma itself is an emotional response that you experience after either witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event or multiple events. These experiences - known as traumatic events - can be anything and everything from sexual assault, childhood abuse, neglect, bullying, witnessing family or community violence, to car accidents or other incidents that could cause loss of life. Maybe you have experienced a one time traumatic event, often referred to as acute trauma, or maybe you experienced chronic trauma, which is repeated, prolonged traumatic events.

Acute Trauma

Acute trauma, also known as single incident trauma, refers to distressing events that occur suddenly or over a short period. While the event itself may be brief, the emotional impact can be long-lasting and affect your mental and emotional well-being. Here are some examples:

  • Natural Disasters: Surviving a natural disaster like an earthquake, hurricane, flood, tornado, or wildfire can lead to acute trauma. The suddenness and intensity of these events can cause significant emotional distress.

  • Car Accidents: Being involved in a severe car crash or witnessing one can result in acute trauma. The sudden impact and potential threat to life during such incidents can cause lasting emotional and psychological effects.

  • Assault or Violence: Experiencing physical assault, robbery, or being a victim of a violent crime constitutes acute trauma. The unexpected and often life-threatening nature of these events can lead to significant distress.

  • Sudden Loss: The unexpected death of a loved one due to accidents, suicides, or homicide can cause acute trauma. The shock and grief associated with sudden loss can have a profound impact on mental health.

  • Medical Emergencies: Undergoing a life-threatening medical emergency, like a heart attack, severe allergic reaction, or near-fatal incident, can lead to acute trauma. These situations often involve sudden, intense fear and perceived threat to life.

Chronic Trauma

Chronic trauma encompasses prolonged and repeated exposure to distressing events that can have a lasting impact on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Here are some examples:

  • Childhood Abuse/Neglect: Enduring physical, emotional, or sexual abuse during childhood can constitute chronic trauma. This might involve ongoing mistreatment by caregivers or family members over an extended period.

  • Domestic Violence: Sustained exposure to physical, emotional, or psychological abuse within a domestic relationship can lead to chronic trauma. The repetitive nature of this experience can profoundly affect a person's mental and emotional health.

  • Combat or War Zone Exposure: Military personnel exposed to extended periods of combat, witnessing violence, and experiencing life-threatening situations repeatedly can develop chronic trauma, leading to conditions like PTSD.

  • Community Violence: Living in areas with persistent community violence, gang-related activities, or ongoing conflicts can subject individuals to chronic trauma due to the constant threat and exposure to violence.

  • Human Trafficking or Slavery: Individuals subjected to prolonged trafficking, forced labor, or slavery endure ongoing trauma, often experiencing physical, emotional, and psychological abuse over an extended period.

  • Long-Term Health Issues or Medical Trauma: Enduring chronic health issues, repeated medical procedures, or prolonged hospitalizations can lead to chronic trauma due to ongoing stress and feelings of helplessness.

  • Bullying or Harassment: Persistent bullying or harassment, whether in school, the workplace, or online, can result in chronic trauma, causing long-lasting emotional and psychological distress.

Trauma Symptoms

When you encounter a traumatic experience, you might experience a range of symptoms. These can manifest as difficulties coping, feeling overwhelmed, disrupted sleep patterns, heightened startle responses, and more, as we listed above. These symptoms can profoundly impact various aspects of your life, affecting work, relationships, and your sense of security. You may feel a sense of helplessness, feel fearful, and your personal safety and well-being may be shattered. For some people, these symptoms subside and you do not feel so overwhelmed or unable to function on a day to day bases.

However, at other times you may experience a traumatic event or chronic and prolonged traumatic events and your symptoms do not appear to be getting better. What you are going through seems to be getting worse, rather than better. You spend more and more time avoiding thoughts, feelings, people, and places so you do not experience distress, worries, fears, or bodily symptoms. Struggling to function on a day to day basis at home, work, school, and relationships may mean that getting treatment for trauma will be helpful. Therapy and other interventions can provide valuable tools and support to navigate and heal from trauma. Remember, seeking help is a courageous step towards healing and doesn't signify weakness.

Trauma vs. PTSD

Experiencing a traumatic event doesn't automatically mean you have PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder involves persistent and severe symptoms that endure beyond the expected recovery period, significantly disrupting life. It's crucial to differentiate between trauma as a natural response to distressing events and the diagnosed disorder of PTSD. For someone to receive a diagnosis of PTSD, these symptoms typically persist for more than a month and significantly disrupt daily life, work, relationships, and overall well-being. The impact of PTSD can be profound, affecting not only the individual but also their close relationships and social interactions.

When should I reach out for help?

Whether you are experiencing trauma symptoms or believe you have PTSD, getting therapy can provide invaluable support, guidance, and tools to navigate healing and regain a sense of control and well-being in your life. When you are noticing that the symptoms are hard to cope with and seem to be taking over your life, that is a good indicator that taking the first step and reaching out for therapy could be beneficial. Another clue is when you are noticing that your world is seeming smaller and smaller; you are doing less, seeing less people, and are struggling to work, engage with family and friends, and your hobbies. 

Take the first step in feeling better

How will Therapy for Trauma and PTSD help?

Do you feel like you have been trying your best to create a life where you are not distressed or triggered by sights, sounds, places, smells, or people? Do you avoid watching shows that your friends are raving about or feel like you are about to break down and lose it at the hint of a child being abused? Living this life where you are on edge, avoiding, and untrusting is not the life you envisioned... your world feels like it is getting smaller as the days go by.

 

Engaging in trauma informed therapy with a knowledgeable therapist will help you find a safe place to learn coping skills, build support systems, and begin to address the thoughts, feelings, and traumatic events that you've experienced. Establishing a nurturing and therapeutic relationship that incorporates safety, trust, and support is key when engaging in trauma informed therapy.

 

When you engage in counseling with one of our clinicians, getting to know you, your experiences, and the impact of these experiences is our priority. We will meet you where you are and ensure that you have developed resources, a sense of stability, and ways to cope with distress prior to exploring the traumatic events and experiences you have been through.

 

Engaging in trauma therapy may not always feel comfortable and pain free, but you are in a safe and caring environment where you will be able to openly dialogue about your fears of exploring your past painful experiences, your worries that things won't get better and that you will never change. Your clinician will listen openly and share their knowledge that it will get better. By working collaboratively together, slowly reducing the avoidance of the pain, it will be easier and less painful. You will start to be able to cope with distress and rejection. You will be able to engage in your life without worrying that you will be triggered and overwhelmed. You will develop supportive, loving, and kind relationships with yourself and others. You and your therapist will work to take the emotional pain out of your past.

 

We cannot change what happened, or what you went through - but we can increase your resiliency, help you develop positive beliefs about yourself, and move in the direction of the person you want to be and the life that you want to live. Change is not only possible, but probable, through committing to the therapy process, even when it is difficult, and collaborating with your therapist.

Image by Gui França

Uncertain about starting therapy?

Uncertainty about starting therapy is a common concern people have when considering whether or not to treat trauma and PTSD. Of course attitudes toward therapy vary between people and cultures, but beyond fear there are many valid questions about the use and effectiveness of therapy in resolving trauma and PTSD. 

Talking about my traumas will only make it hurt more.

Intentionally pausing, stopping, and engaging with your past hurts and traumas may uncover thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and aspects of memories that are painful and overwhelming - especially if you have taken a lot of care to push them to the side and compartmentalize them. Engaging with your pains through avoidance will continue to make your world smaller, contribute to you not living the life you want to live, and struggle with various emotions and physical complaints. Engaging in trauma focused therapy is different than going at it on your own or talking with  your family or friends. Your clinician is well trained in the impact of trauma on the body and brain. Your clinician will actively be with you as you create a trusting and safe space to move through the pains slowly. Sometimes your clinician may push you a bit and encourage you to keep going in the work, even thought it is painful, because there is healing and growth on the other side.  it is like a tunnel through the mountains... if you take your foot off of the gas pedal, it will take much longer to get through, be more scary and painful, than if you keep your foot steady on the gas and head towards the other side. 

I've been through too much. It will be too much work.

One of the best things about therapy is that you can move at your own pace. While being in therapy is accompanied by both specific as well as general goal setting, you are in charge of what those goals are and how ready you are to act on them. Building the foundation for change is a very important part of the early phase of therapy, so it can be extremely beneficial to take time for you and your therapist to develop a working relationship before moving into an action oriented phase of therapy. The pace of therapy can always be scaled back if it moves too quickly as well. Communicating about what you need from your therapist, your readiness level, and the pace you need to work at, are all critical ways for you to direct therapy, if you prefer.

I've already worked through what happened to me.
I don't need trauma therapy.

It is possible that your body and brain processed the traumatic events that you have experienced without the help of a mental health professional. It is also possible that your body and brain are using protective measures to help you not be so overwhelmed and unable to move through daily life. Sometimes, you may be in denial about the impact of your traumatic experiences on your day to day life. When you meet with your clinician for the first time and engage in a comprehensive clinical interview, your clinician will explore what is bringing you to therapy today, what struggles are you experiencing now, and how long these have been going on. Your therapist will also ask you about the past, about your family relationships, childhood, and if you have experienced any stressful or traumatic events. When you share about your past traumatic events, your clinician will explore with you if impacts of them may be showing up today - such as being a contributing factor to depression, anxiety, avoidance, sleep problems, or relational issues. Your therapist may recommend that addressing past traumatic experiences will be helpful to your overall goals for therapy. However, you are in charge and get to identify the goals that you would like to address. You and your therapist will work collaboratively to address these goals and as treatment progress, review progress on your goals, and identify if there are other goals to address together. 

I don't have the time or money for therapy.

It's understandable that therapy may feel like a time and financial commitment, but investing in your mental health and well-being is invaluable. Consider therapy as an investment in yourself, where the benefits extend far beyond the time spent in sessions. Our therapists work collaboratively with you to create a personalized treatment plan that fits your schedule and budget. Additionally, many therapy options, including online counseling and reduced fees, are available to make therapy more accessible. Also, we take insurance! Many insurance plans today provide mental health benefits. Taking the step towards therapy can lead to improved productivity, better relationships, and overall life satisfaction.

Trauma therapy offers healing, resilience, and empowerment to reclaim your life.
Take the first step towards healing

Therapists that Specialize in Trauma Therapy

Micaela Hernandez

Micaela Hernandez, MSSW, LCSW

Therapy in Texas and Virginia

Kate Morales, LPA

Kate Morales, MPsy, LPA

Supervised by Dr. Beth Marnix

Therapy in Texas

Professional headshot of Dr. Beth Marnix, a licensed psychologist in Texas. Dr. Marnix specializes in trauma therapy, specifically working with women who have experienced family of origin trauma and chronic developmental trauma. She incorporates EMDR therapy to facilitate healing and recovery in her clients.

Therapy in Illinois, Texas, Indiana, and PSYPACT states

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