Trauma Therapy and EMDR

Trauma Therapy and EMDR

Life is full of beautiful possibilities. 

The opportunity to connect, communicate, and interact with the world is readily available.

Yet, sometimes we might struggle with being present for these precious moments due to the pain we carry from past experiences or ongoing hurtful situations.  For example, you may have suffered the loss of a loved one, been involved or witnessed a major accident or violent act, or have a history of persistent hardship.

The weight of trauma may seem ingrained in you, but it is only a piece of what makes you whole.  There is hope in acknowledging this pain while walking a healing path that helps you enjoy your days to the fullest.

Where others have healed, there is space for you too.

Trauma is part of human nature, but recovery is possible.

If you are struggling with the lasting effects of trauma, therapy can support you.  Treatment can help you discover what is true to you, open space to reconnect, and lighten the load that is weighing you down.

My name is Christian Holmes, and I’m an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT) Registration #120391 under the supervision of Mark W. Baker, Ph.D. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #MFT19289.  I offer trauma therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (or EMDR) to teens and adults in California.

My goal is to help you navigate your traumatic experiences and uncover your full potential, embracing your values, strengths, and hopes for the future.

Contact me to book a consultation or keep reading to learn more about how trauma therapy and EMDR can help you.

What Is Trauma?

Trauma refers to marked distress related to shocking experiences in our lives.  The distress may have an immediate or delayed onset, causing significant difficulties in our functioning. 

These events can be categorized as big T traumas (severe, life-threatening situations) and little T traumas (frightening incidents that impact our well-being but are not necessarily life-threatening). 

Some examples of traumatic experiences include but are not limited to:

  • Loss of a family member, partner, friend, or pet
  • Witnessing or experiencing a vehicle accident, violent action, or disturbing situation
  • Harassment or discrimination due to race, gender, identity, or sexual orientation
  • Disturbing experiences during military service 
  • Childhood neglect
  • Severe injury, medical condition, or adverse event
  • Public shaming or bullying

What Is Trauma Therapy?

Trauma therapy is a form of psychotherapy used to address the symptoms and effects of trauma.

Trauma therapy aims to help you reprocess these painful memories in a healthier way.  The goal is to encourage healing by relieving traumatic symptoms, developing resilience, and strengthening your relationship with yourself, your support system, and your story. 

As your therapist, I will help you untangle your narrative and reclaim ownership of your mind-body reaction to trauma.  We can do this by examining your distress through talk therapy, body-based practices, and modalities like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

What Is EMDR Therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, also known as EMDR, is an effective treatment modality where you focus on the traumatic experience while engaging or receiving bilateral stimuli. 

The stimuli—which may include eye movement exercises with a light bar, tactile handheld devices, or sounds—are meant to help your brain reprocess and decrease the intensity of the memories connected to your trauma.

EMDR is a safe and practical therapeutic approach that can support you to:

  • Examine your trauma and triggers
  • Remember suppressed memories
  • Ease post-traumatic symptoms
  • Shift your relationship to your trauma
  • Gain practical coping mechanisms

Do I Need Trauma Therapy?

Post-traumatic stress speaks to our brains’ natural inclination to detect, analyze, and respond to danger.  As we become exposed to a traumatic event, our “fight or flight” response activates.  This reflex helps us stay alert and protect ourselves, but can also bring distressing symptoms that may linger even after the threat has passed.

Most people are familiar with the concept of post-traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD).  You may experience post-traumatic stress that is quite debilitating, yet it may not necessarily lead to a PTSD diagnosis.  While signs of PTSD and post-traumatic stress symptoms can overlap, what differentiates them is their intensity, length, and treatment used to address them.

Typical symptoms of post-traumatic stress may include:

  • Avoidance of any people or context that reminds you of the traumatic event
  • Flashbacks, nightmares, or night terrors
  • Hypervigilance
  • Isolation or withdrawal from others
  • Guilt or shame
  • Lack of motivation to engage in activities you used to enjoy 
  • Mood swings or irritability
  • Persistent nervousness or worry
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Restlessness or trouble sleeping
  • Sadness or low self-esteem

If you exhibit any of the above signs of post-traumatic stress, therapy can help.  Let’s work together to navigate trauma from a healing perspective, rather than evading or isolating yourself within it.

How Can Trauma Therapy Help?

Exploring Your Trauma

The pain of unresolved trauma can be so profound that we often push it away or avoid engaging with it.  Therapy can help you examine your trauma with kindness, compassion, and courage.

Your therapist will be there to listen and guide you as you peel back the layers of your story.  The idea is not to overwhelm or flood you with distressing thoughts and emotions, but to challenge you to dig deep and gain insight from yourself.

Rewriting Your Trauma Story

As you better understand your trauma, you will begin to reshape your relationship with it.  Modalities like EMDR therapy can help you actively reaccess the traumatic memory and tap into your natural capacity to reprocess it.

Your therapist will help you change how your brain stores the traumatic experience, thus transforming your response to it.

Easing Post-Traumatic Stress

Establishing a healthier connection with your trauma can then support you to reduce the distressing effects associated with it.  

Therapy can help alleviate post-traumatic stress symptoms, easing your mind-body reaction to trauma, and providing further resources to cope with triggers.

Trauma Therapy and EMDR Therapy With Christian Holmes

I’m an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT) Registration #120391 under the supervision of Mark W. Baker, Ph.D. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #MFT19289.

I provide individual therapy, couples therapy, and group therapy to adults and teens living in Pasadena, Glendale, San Fernando Valley, Beverly Hills, San Gabriel Valley, and surrounding areas.

My trauma therapy approach focuses on EMDR therapy, but I also have training in other therapeutic modalities such as Psychodynamic Therapy, Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT), Christian Counseling, Mindfulness practices, and more.  I aim to offer a safe experience that sees your whole self and addresses trauma from a holistic standpoint, customizing treatment to your needs for sustainable outcomes.

No matter what’s hurting you or your loved one, I am here for you.  Together we can tend to your wounds, regain confidence, and reconnect with your higher purpose.

Need Support?

Let’s rewrite your trauma story so healing can begin.

Contact me if you have any questions or believe we could be a good fit.  Book a consultation or schedule your first trauma therapy session today!

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