Trauma-Informed Counseling

What is Trauma-Informed Counseling?

Stressful events, big and small, happen in all of our lives. Sometimes, these events are significant enough that they leave a lasting impression on us. This means that our mind and body remember the event in an effort to warn us or signal us about the future, even if future stressful events may not be able to be predicted or prevented. Examples of traumatic events might be childhood abuse or neglect, being physically or emotionally hurt by another person, a car accident, or a natural disaster. However, trauma is not limited to what we typically think of when we consider these types of extreme events. It can also include stressful or uncomfortable experiences such as a an embarrassing or shameful event, any time you got hurt or injured, a difficult social situation, like getting teased or bullied, a history of past medical issues, such as serious or chronic illness or surgeries, or an unexpected set of circumstances that was out of your control, such as the loss of a loved one.

Trauma-Informed Counseling takes inventory of these types of stressful events and evaluates how they are impacting your life. Sometimes a past trauma is experienced and re-lived when we do something that simply reminds us of the event. This causes an internal alarm to go off in our brain and body and signals us toward self-protection. This is a human response and helpful at times. However, it can also lead to feelings of anxiety/panic, avoidance, and a host of other physical issues that may cause more harm than good. Sometimes we are trying to protect and prevent scenarios that are no longer threats to us. By talking about the trauma itself and using other therapeutic approaches to understand, accept, or undo these brain and body signals, you can experience freedom from past stressful events.

How does Trauma-Informed Counseling work?

Our staff is comprised of specialized clinicians who are trained to provide strategic support to clients who have trauma-related needs and challenges. We use evidence-based treatments that have been found especially helpful in reducing the impact of trauma to provide support and guidance to those clients affected by trauma. These include EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and various other research-based treatment tools. By getting help in a setting that is both professional and compassionate, clients can begin to effectively resolve their trauma and heal from the imprint trauma has had on their lives and sense of well-being.

For more information about specific treatment approaches we use to address trauma-related needs, please reference the links here: EMDR; What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?; The Power of Story; Dance/Movement Therapy & Trauma; Yoga & Trauma.

What are symptoms of trauma?

There are four types of symptoms listed in the DSM-5:

Avoidance Symptoms

  • Avoiding specific locations, sights, situations, and sounds that serve as reminders of the event
  • Anxiety, depression, numbness, or guilt

Re-experiencing Symptoms

  • Intrusive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks

Hyperarousal Symptoms

  • Anger, irritability, and hypervigilance
  • Aggressive, reckless behavior, including self-harm
  • Sleep disturbances

Negative Mood and Cognition Symptoms

  • Loss of interest in activities that were once considered enjoyable
  • Difficulty remembering details of the distressing event
  • Change in habits or behavior since the trauma

What other types of problems could Trauma-Informed Counseling address?

  • Worry, nervousness, or fear
  • Low mood or feelings of sadness
  • Feeling easily agitated or startled
  • Feeling disconnected or apathetic
  • Body-related issues, such as muscle tension, aches/pains, fatigue, rapid heart rate or rapid breathing
  • Unsettling dreams or insomnia
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating

How do I know if Trauma-Informed Counseling is the right fit for me?

If you have experienced stressful or traumatic events, as a child or an adult, or if any of the above symptoms or problems are familiar, then Trauma-Informed Counseling may be a good fit for you.

Trauma can be experienced in the mind and body in subtle and salient ways. No trauma is too small to leave unaddressed. Contact us today to discover how Trauma-Informed Counseling might be able to serve you.

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1007 Church St, Suite 302,
Evanston, IL 60201