I have experience working with all sorts of trauma, including sexual, physical and emotional abuse(whether experienced as a child or an adult), rape, car crashes, domestic violence, bereavement and divorce. I work with issues from childhood such as neglect, abandonment, divorce and being the child of an alcoholic or otherwise addicted parent(s).
I also work with what is known as inter-generational trauma. This is where a traumatic event has such a profound impact on an individual within the family, or on the whole family or even community that the trauma gets past- on from generation to generation. This is a rarely recognized and little understood phenomenon in our culture at large, but one that is very real. The result of trauma is that we develop what is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition which can be severe and debilitating.
My approach is informed by the work of people like Peter Levine and Pat Ogden. Their theories ( and these are being increasingly supported by current medical research) view trauma as resulting from trapped energy in the body. Simply put, the theory is that trauma occurs when our normal responses to fear, which are fight or flight, are not available to us. ( An example of this would be if a child is abused by one of his/her parents. You may be able to run away from your own home, but in the moment of trauma, that option is often not available to you, and you can?t fight a parent who is much bigger and stronger then you and on whom you depend for your well being. Thus, you can not fight and you can?t run/flight). The energy that our bodies generate within us to enable us to fight or run away gets trapped inside the body, creating blocks that limit our freedom of movement and expression. It is this trapped energy that needs to be released in order to overcome the trauma.
The second major way in which trauma affects us is in the cognitive distortions they create within our belief system. As an example, if you were violated as a child, you grow up believing that it is normal for others to violate your boundaries. These cognitive distortions need to be recognized and changed to more positive and healthy beliefs about the Self.
I therefore use both Somatic techniques such as Hakomi and Process work (please see the links on the left or bottom of this page for more information about these approaches) and Cognitive techniques (including EMDR, a very effective new technique that combines Cognitive and Somatic approaches) to help those who have been traumatized to heal.
Healing trauma is delicate work. I usually wait quite a few sessions, until my client and I have gotten familiar and comfortable with each other, so that a very safe and secure container in created in which the trauma(s) can be healed. There is a very fine line between releasing and thus healing a trauma and simply re-traumatizing someone, and it takes a sensitive and competent therapist to help guide the client through this delicate process.