Most people think trauma is what you get after an accident or what soldiers suffer in a war, but from the recent findings of neuroscience and attachment theory the triggers of trauma have been shown to be much wider and more common place. Any event which threatens or triggers a sense of helplessness can give rise to trauma or distress which can stay with you for a lifetime. Events such as failed business or bankruptcy, school and workplace bullying, excessive debt, an abusive partner or parent, suffering from cancer and chronic illness, divorce or a bad break up, death of a loved one, poor exam results, redundancy, damaged personal or professional reputation, or the stress of coming out.
While some people may actually benefit from a life or death experience, others become overwhelmed or highly sensitised to any environmental stressors they experience in the future – triggering a fight/flight/freeze response that is out of proportion to the situation at hand. Stressful triggers lead to big surges in our adrenalin flooding our long term memory, the hippocampus, as though we are still living back in the past, looking for danger where none exists. What we don’t realise is that every time we are hooked by our past negative events, it strengthens the neural pathways in our body/brain and changes our physiology. A prolonged state of flight/fright/freeze response is stored in the body/brain and produces heightened anxiety, stress, and can give rise to addictive behaviour, chronic pain and illness, panic attacks, insomnia, anger, depression and long-term mental illness. This leads us to avoid many situations that might re-trigger us, and our life gets smaller.
Ways to change
I use a newly developed therapy called The Richards Trauma Process. TRTP is an elegantly simple yet comprehensive therapeutic process which can help you to reframe traumatic life events so they are no longer the drivers that hijack your life. This process was developed by Judith Richards, who was able to heal herself from horrific injuries from which the medical profession told her she would never recover. TRTP is is a truly eclectic therapy, that achieves results safely, quickly and effectively in 3 stages.
TRTP is a very structured, yet dynamic reimagining process that includes components of Somatic Experiencing, Emotion Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Ego-state Therapy, Gestalt, Mindful Awareness, Parts Therapy, Dream Rehearsal Therapy, Internal Family Systems, and other neuroscientific validated practices.
After receiving treatment many people say “I didn’t know I could feel this calm.” Further, I have heard other TRTP practitioners, with psychologically and medically trained, comment that they have never come across a modality as safe and effective as this.
This is what one of my clients, Kellie, had to say after her 3 session treatment:
“As a result of this treatment, I feel more connected with myself and able to be truly present for others. I didn’t realise until undertaking this treatment how set I was on the idea of achieving an ideal future self and how much that idea took me away from the beautiful present that is life. I now feel empowered to speak, be and embrace who I am and what I have to give in this life.”
How Does it Work
Before we can start our work together I will send you a form to help us identify the life events that may still be affecting you. Importantly, with this process there is no need to go into the details of the event which could potentially be re-traumatising. We just need a timeframe, what happened and who was there. For example Age 5, Car accident, Mum and Dad.
What to expect during the 1st stage
The first stage is often the most powerful and positive steps in the process. Here you awaken to the possibility of change. By addressing this at the beginning of the process we clear the way to achieve and maintain significant and lasting shifts that interrupt our predictable routines – creating new neural pathways.
To achieve this I will introduce you to the theatre of the mind –one of the important tools you will use to reframe your life. Anyone can choose to tap into this transformational process, for example If you can imagine the taste of dissolving chocolate, or sucking on a lemon, TRTP can work for you.
What to expect during the 2nd stage
Here we examine the thoughts, emotions, behaviours and events from your past that are keeping you stuck in self-sabotage.
International experts in trauma Peter Levine, Pat Ogden and Besell Van der Kolk say two things need to happen to resolve trauma;
- The body and the unconscious need to know that the event is over
- You express protective anger.
The Richards Trauma Process enables you to take back your power through this expression of protective or righteous anger and allows you to heal in a safe and therapeutic space.
In this important stage we address the subconscious mind and body memories so that every part of you knows that you are safe and it’s over.
After the session clients have told me they no longer feel any emotional charge towards the perpetrator or event. While the memories remain, the physiological response is now neutral.
What to expect during the 3rd stage
In this stage we orient towards a more positive future self. Using a combination of modalities including Gestalt, parts work, Ego state therapy and psychoeducation. Rick Hanson states that our brains are Teflon for positive states and memories and velcro for negative.
I will provide some tools and strategies to help hard wire your brain and nervous system towards positivity, safety and connection rather than remaining a victim of your fear reptilian brain that produces worries, fears and negative emotions. Build your mental muscles and discover your embodied experience of resilience and well being, learning to become your own best friend who chooses, kindness and compassion in order to thrive!
In the third stage you learn the tools that will enable you to begin choosing a life of growth, courage, connection and wellbeing. A life that enables you to focus on your unique gifts in this world and discover who you truly are.
Not just for Trauma
You may feel that you have lost your dream in life, or lost hope of ever living up to what life has to offer. Don’t despair. There is always hope.
I welcome individuals of all cultures, sexualities, genders and ages.