Does this sound familiar?
"I'm not good enough." "I'm a failure." "I don't deserve to be loved."
Do you believe negative thoughts about yourself like, "I need to be perfect." "My needs don't matter." or "I should've known better."? These negative beliefs are probably preventing you from truly feeling connected in your relationships or successful in your career or school. You are probably feeling anxious, panicky, or depressed. You might be experiencing unexplained and chronic health issues or feel like your life is always in chaos.
For many people, these are some of the ways symptoms of trauma impact our lives even years afterward. Traumatic events and experiences overwhelm our mind and body's ability to process or cope appropriately. We develop negative beliefs about ourselves and have difficulty managing our emotions. Many people minimize the events and experiences that were traumatic. They say things like, "That was a long time ago. It doesn't bother me now." or "It wasn't that bad, I got over it."
If you recognize that you have negative beliefs about yourself, have difficulties in your relationships, struggle at work, feel anxious or depressed, have chronic health concerns, or feel out of control then there is a very likely chance that your autonomic nervous system is still struggling with trauma reactions.
There are two main categories of trauma commonly referred to as "Big T” and little t.” Big “T” traumas are the events most commonly associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) including serious injury, sexual violence, or life-threatening experiences. Threats of serious physical injury, death, or sexual violence can cause intense trauma even if the person is never physically harmed.
Witnesses to big “T” events or people living and working in close proximity to trauma survivors are also vulnerable to PTSD, especially those who encounter emotional shock on a regular basis like paramedics, therapists, and police officers.
Are you struggling with "Big T" Trauma?
Are you having trouble “getting over” some recent distressing event?
Are you suffering from flashbacks or nightmares?
Do you find yourself avoiding situations that remind you of the event?
Little “t” traumas (sometimes called relational or attachment trauma) are highly distressing events or experiences that affect individuals on a personal level but don’t fall into the big “T” category. Examples of little “t” trauma include non-life-threatening injuries, emotional abuse, infidelity, bullying or harassment, and loss of significant relationships.
People have unique capacities to handle stress, referred to as resilience, which impacts their ability to cope with trauma. What is highly distressing to one person may not cause the same emotional response in someone else, so the key to understanding little “t” trauma is to examine how it affects each individual rather than focusing on the event itself.
Have you experienced "Little t" trauma? Certain challenges that might be rooted in early relational trauma or attachment trauma, including:
Taking responsibility for the emotional well-being of others.
Adjusting your mood according to the mood of others to avoid conflict.
Feeling emotionally unsafe in most relationships.
Fearing failure or perfectionism, which is driven by your belief that anything short of perfection is a failure.
Acting with self-sufficiency that leads to isolation, loneliness, and more shame.
Fearing abandonment, which results in behaviors that reflect a belief that others will eventually leave.
Although "little t" traumas may not meet the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis, these events can be extremely upsetting and cause significant emotional damage, particularly if an individual experiences more than one event or if these traumas occur during important periods of brain development like early childhood and adolescence.
Evidence now concludes that repeated exposure to "little t" traumas can cause more emotional harm than exposure to a single "Big T" traumatic event. Empathy and acceptance for the impact of "little t" traumas can be harder to garner because of the common misconception that these events are less significant than life-threatening emergencies.
Minimizing the impact of these "little t" incidents can create adverse coping behaviors such as bottling up emotions or attempting to manage symptoms without support. Failing to address the emotional suffering of any traumatic event may lead to cumulative damage over time.
Unresolved trauma has cast a long shadow over your life, influencing your emotional well-being in profound ways. Whether it stems from childhood experiences, significant life events, or ongoing challenges, unaddressed trauma has left lasting imprints on your mind and heart.
The Far-Reaching Impact of Unresolved Trauma
Has your unresolved trauma had a profound and far-reaching impact on your emotional well-being, permeating every aspect of your life? When traumatic experiences go unaddressed, they can disrupt our ability to regulate emotions effectively, resulting in intense and unpredictable emotional responses. The emotional rollercoaster that accompanies unresolved trauma can make it challenging to find stability and peace in your daily life.
It’s common for unresolved trauma to affect our emotional well-being by disrupting our emotional regulation. When this happens our emotions become dysregulated, meaning they are no longer in balance or easily managed. As a result, you may experience intense bouts of sadness, anxiety, or anger that surface unexpectedly and without warning. These emotions may be disproportionate to the situation at hand, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and helpless. For example, a seemingly innocuous event or comment might trigger a strong emotional reaction that feels out of proportion to the present circumstance.
Are you experiencing persistent feelings of sadness? For trauma survivors, this deep sadness can linger in the background, casting a shadow over their daily experiences and impacting their overall sense of well-being. It may feel like a heaviness in your chest or a constant cloud that dampens your mood, making it challenging to find joy or engage fully in life's pleasures.
Anxiety is another common emotional response associated with unresolved trauma. Are you constantly feeling on edge, anticipating danger or threat in everyday situations? This hypervigilance is exhausting and may manifest as racing thoughts, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, or physical symptoms like a rapid heartbeat or shallow breathing. The fear and anxiety associated with unresolved trauma are likely preventing you from fully engaging in activities or situations that remind you of the traumatic event, further limiting your emotional well-being.
Unresolved trauma can also lead to the expression of anger and irritability. Do you find yourself easily provoked or quick to react in a hostile manner? This anger is often a protective response, a way of guarding yourself against further harm. However, when left unaddressed, it can strain relationships, isolate you from loved ones, and hinder your ability to connect with others on a deep emotional level.
It is essential to recognize that these intense and unpredictable emotional responses are not a sign of weakness or inadequacy. They are the result of unresolved trauma that has yet to be processed and healed. Understanding the far-reaching impact of your unresolved trauma on your emotional well-being empowers us to seek the support and resources needed to begin the healing journey. Through therapy, self-care practices, and the development of healthy coping mechanisms, you can gradually work towards finding stability, peace, and emotional well-being.
Remember, it takes time and patience to heal from unresolved trauma. Each person's healing journey is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. With the right support, compassion, and self-care, it is possible to navigate the challenges of unresolved trauma and experience emotional healing, resilience, and a renewed sense of well-being.
Healing from trauma
As trauma-trained therapists, our work is to help you look at your past with compassion. To help our clients heal past trauma, we use several different advanced psychotherapy methods and theories such as complex developmental trauma, attachment theory, neuroscience, CBT, Parts work/Internal Family Systems (IFS), and somatic experiencing as well as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy (Learn more about EMDR Therapy in our blog post). This comprehensive approach encompasses awareness of the ways that the autonomic nervous system becomes sensitized to fear responses as well as the ways that attachment patterns surface in all of our relationships.
Our approach to trauma treatment can help you:
Take the charge out of distressing memories.
Release strong body sensations.
Take on more positive and accurate beliefs about yourself.
Identify internal resources so you can relate in new ways to negative experiences in the future.
Transformative Healing with Parts Work/IFS at Creating Space Therapy
At Creating Space Therapy, we understand the profound impact that trauma can have on individuals. We are committed to providing compassionate and effective trauma therapy, supporting our clients in their healing journeys. Our approach incorporates Parts Work/IFS (Internal Family Systems), a powerful therapeutic modality that offers a unique and transformative way to address trauma. We believe in the resiliency of the human spirit and are here to guide you on your path to healing.
Understanding Trauma: Validating Your Experience
Trauma can result from various experiences, such as physical or sexual abuse, accidents, natural disasters, or the loss of a loved one. It can leave deep emotional wounds, impacting our sense of safety, trust, and well-being. If you have experienced trauma, it is essential to know that your reactions and emotions are valid and normal responses to an abnormal event. At Creating Space Therapy, we are here to provide a safe and non-judgmental space where your experiences will be respected, honored, and understood.
What is Parts Work/IFS?
Parts Work/IFS is a therapeutic approach that recognizes the existence of different parts within each individual. These parts represent various emotions, beliefs, or coping mechanisms that have developed as a response to traumatic experiences. Within the framework of Parts Work/IFS, these parts are seen as subpersonalities that serve specific roles and functions making up an internal family or system. They include protective parts, wounded parts, and inner child parts.
How Parts Work/IFS Helps in Treating Trauma
Creating Space for Healing: Parts Work/IFS offers a compassionate and safe environment for exploring and understanding the various parts of yourself that have been affected by trauma. Our trauma therapists are skilled in creating a nurturing space where you can feel supported and validated.
Uncovering the Inner Dynamics: Through Parts Work/IFS, we delve beyond surface-level discussions and explore the underlying dynamics of your internal system. By understanding the roles and functions of each part, we gain insight into the ways they have been impacted by trauma and how they contribute to your present experiences.
Building a Relationship of Trust: Our trauma therapists will guide you in building a trusting and collaborative relationship with your parts. We believe that each part has valuable wisdom and a positive intention, even if their behaviors may not always serve you in healthy ways. By fostering a compassionate connection with your parts, we create space for healing and transformation.
Integration and Healing: The ultimate goal of Parts Work/IFS is to facilitate integration and harmony among your internal parts. This process involves understanding the needs and fears of each part, fostering self-compassion, and creating a sense of wholeness. Through this integration, healing occurs at a deep level, leading to a more balanced and resilient sense of self.
The Power of Compassionate Guidance
At Creating Space Therapy, our experienced trauma therapists are dedicated to walking alongside you on your healing journey. We understand the complexities of trauma and the courage it takes to embark on the path of healing. With our compassionate guidance, you can gain the tools and insights needed to navigate the challenges of trauma, discover your inner strength, and reclaim your life.
Embracing Healing and Hope
If you have experienced trauma, remember that you are not alone. Seeking trauma therapy can provide a lifeline of support and healing. At Creating Space Therapy, we believe in your resilience and capacity for growth. Through our trauma-informed approach, grounded in Parts Work/IFS, we are committed to helping you create space for healing, integration, and a renewed sense of hope. Take the first step towards transformative healing and schedule a consultation with our trauma therapists today.
Contact Creating Space Therapy for trauma therapy that understands, validates, and empowers you on your journey to healing.