Trauma & Abuse Counseling

All trauma (including various forms of abuse) wounds deeply. Trauma is like a house struck by lightening—circuit breakers trip, things catch on fire, electronics are fried. Whenever we experience something that exceeds our ability to process the corresponding emotions, we can experience some degree of trauma, and those unprocessed emotions (and the places we carry those emotions in our body) get “stuck,” or “frozen.” This is why you can feel haunted by traumatic experiences long after the event has passed—because a part of you is still experiencing the trauma (internally). When this happens, we need certain kinds of relational care in order to help the stuck, still traumatized parts of our psyche, to be able to heal and move forward.

Trauma, broadly speaking, can involve anything (e.g., a car accident, an unexpected death of a loved one, the sudden loss of a dream). But abuse is specifically relational, by definition. Abuse is trauma experienced at the hands of someone else (regardless of the abuser’s intention, though degree of intentionality does have relevance to the possibility of relational repair). Just as an impersonal traumatic experience can be victimizing, abuse can in some ways feel even more so because there is an internal sense of the inherent wrongness of someone treating us abusively. In both categories of trauma (impersonal and relational) there can be a profound experience of powerlessness, of being unable to protect oneself (or otherwise care for oneself) in the midst of awful things. And as with all trauma, parts of us can become stuck in that powerless state, such that we end up repeatedly feeling re-traumatized, re-victimized in future relational contexts.

In working with victims of trauma and abuse, I gently guide clients through the process of gradually facing, working through and integrating the difficult emotions that have been holding them hostage. Through this process I help them to strengthen the emotional muscles necessary for moving forward, which both enables them to heal from their past trauma, while also better equipping them to more healthily face future difficulties they might encounter in life.

If you have experienced trauma or abuse, I am glad that you are reaching out for help. We need safe, compassionate relationships in which to work through trauma and abuse, and I would be honored to be one of those relationships for you.

Trauma & Abuse Resources

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