Trauma can leave you feeling broken and disconnected

Are you feeling keyed up and on edge? On hyper alert feeling unsafe and expecting the worst? Are you experiencing constant fear, anxiety, or overwhelm? Maybe you even feel stuck with a sense of hopelessness that impacts your daily life and the health of your relationships?

If this resonates, past trauma may be preventing you from living a full life in the present. You don’t have to feel hopeless. You don’t have to let the past determine your present. Psychotherapy can help you process unresolved trauma and help you move from a state of hopelessness to one of hope. Psychotherapy can help you make lasting change and live the life you imagine.

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Are you wondering if you can heal? If you can live a full life?

You don’t have to let trauma define you any longer. You CAN heal from trauma. How do I know this? I have witnessed countless individuals heal and grow beyond their trauma. CHANGE IS POSSIBLE. Neuroscience tells us that change is not only possible but that we are wired for it; we are wired for change. With intention you can rewire your brain and move past the wounds of trauma.

What happened to you?

The brain can grow new neural networks and your nervous system can recalibrate. Recovery is possible. This new research goes a long way to destigmatizing the psychological effects of trauma and plays a big role in the healing process. With science-backed confidence, we can now approach treatment from a holistic perspective that considers the mind, body, and spirit connection. Psychoeducation about the impact of trauma on both your psyche and nervous system sets the stage for the profound and deep work necessary for true healing.

Knowledge about what happened to you decreases the shame, empowers you, and helps you form a new understanding of your trauma. This creates space for growth to begin again. Psychotherapy can help you move from a state of hopelessness to a state of hope. It can help you move from a place of anxiety and fear to a place of safety and empowerment. You can begin to navigate life and relationships with confidence and begin to move forward towards that life you imagine.

Trauma: What is it and What does it feel like?

Dr. Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and trauma expert, defines trauma as “any event that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope with it.” It’s a subjective experience, meaning one person may experience an event or events as traumatic while another may not. Trauma does not discriminate – it can happen to anyone and comes in all shapes and sizes. You might think of trauma as the result of a one-time catastrophic event but trauma more often stems from a prolonged series of events over time. Moreover, most trauma is relational trauma, trauma that happens within the context of relationships. When thinking about trauma it’s important to know that most individuals who experience trauma feel an impending threat to their life, safety, and well-being. It’s as if their felt sense of safety in the world is hijacked by an underlying sense of anxiety and fear. If your sense of safety feels undermined and you find yourself on high alert for danger in your surroundings, it is possible that trauma is the cause.

Symptoms of Trauma

Trauma can manifest in various ways. Almost always, though, unresolved trauma leaves you in a state of survival mode, a state where growth is almost impossible. The symptoms are diverse and complex and impact a person’s mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual health. Everyone has a different set of symptoms and or reasons for reaching out for therapy. Some of the symptoms that might bring one to Lysle Shaw Psychotherapy are:

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  • Intrusive Thoughts
  • Emotional Dysregulation
  • Avoidance of Triggers
  • Hypervigilance
  • Disrupted Relationships
  • Self-Destructive Behavior
  • Dissociation
  • Sleep Disturbances

As a trauma therapist, I have seen the devastating and pervasive impact that trauma has on a person’s overall well-being. I have also seen profound healing and know that you can move beyond your trauma. I know you can find a place of safety and begin to navigate the world with ease again. If you feel persistent fear, feel stuck, alone, and unable to move forward you may have unresolved trauma.

My Approach to Trauma Therapy: Depth Therapy

My approach is non-pathologizing, meaning I do not consider the impact of trauma as a disease or disorder. I view the impact of trauma as your system’s capacity to adapt, cope, and survive until you find a safe space to go deep and process your trauma. Why depth work? Depth work gets to the root of how trauma has impacted you. This is essential for sustainable change that helps you grow beyond your trauma. Combined with some key and simple knowledge of neuroscience and other modalities as needed, it is the core of the healing process.

More about a Depth Approach:

Depth therapy is a psychodynamic approach that explores the unconscious while at the same time addressing what is conscious and present in your life. This process can help you understand your triggers, defense mechanisms, and patterns of thinking that have developed as a result of your trauma/s. By gaining insight into these factors, you can start to heal and integrate your traumatic experiences into your overall sense of self. We all have many parts within ourselves; we are not “mono-minds” as Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., creator of Internal Family Systems, espouses. We have protective parts, loving parts, critical parts, wounded parts, and on and on . . . some we are aware of and some we are not. A goal of depth therapy is to help you understand and integrate the various parts of yourself so you can feel more whole, solid, and confident. The primary goal is to help you regain agency in your life so you can move about your world with more ease.

The Depth Approach gets to the Root of Trauma

My depth approach is grounded in Jung-oriented depth psychology. It is relational, collaborative, and holistic. We will work together to help you understand how past experiences and unresolved trauma may be influencing current behavior, emotions, and relationships. Depth therapy gets to the root of trauma, relational issues, emotional regulation, and personality questioning. While depth therapy does reduce symptoms associated with your struggles, the goal is to seek long-lasting change that can only come from taking a deep look inside yourself. While we cannot take away your trauma we can work together to help you outgrow the wounds of your past so you can live more fully in the present.

I like this quote by C.J. Jung as it expresses the depths we may have to go to in order to heal from trauma and yet it gives hope to the fact that healing is possible: “The meaning of ‘whole’ or ‘wholeness’ is to make holy or to heal. The descent into the depths will bring healing. It is the way to the total being, to the treasure which suffering mankind is forever seeking, which is hidden in the place guarded by terrible danger.”

Body-Based Therapies are Transformative

I integrate body-based therapies to help tap into the inherent wisdom of your psyche and central nervous system. This is essential for growth and healing. Neuroscience emphasizes the importance of the body-mind connection in healing. Body-based therapies recognize the profound connection between bodily sensations, emotions, and psychological well-being. This approach recognizes that the body stores memories, traumas, and unexpressed emotions. In our sessions, I use techniques to help you gain more awareness of what is happening on a physical level so you can begin to learn how to calibrate your nervous system. As you become more familiar with sensations that alert you to triggers, you can learn how to go into your body and restore yourself to a calm place.

The synergy between deep psychotherapeutic work and body-based therapy is evident in their shared focus on integration. Depth psychotherapy works with the unconscious parts of your psyche and uncovers the emotional roots of psychological challenges. At the same time, body-based therapy acknowledges the body’s role in holding and expressing these emotions. Integrating these approaches allows you to engage in holistic healing that addresses both conscious and unconscious aspects of your experience. I find that an approach that encompasses body-based therapies, knowledge from neuroscience, and a deep dive into the psyche is empowering and transformative.

Why psychotherapy works: Wounds that happen in the relationship can heal in a relationship.

Our deepest human need is to feel a sense of belonging, to feel that we are connected, to feel that we matter. Studies show that the quality of our relationships directly impacts our physical and mental health in the short and long term. Much of the wounds and trauma we experience comes from the relationships in our lives, so it makes sense that the start of a new and healthy relationship would create space for healing. This is why the therapeutic relationship is key in the depth process. Dr. Bruce Perry, neuroscientist, trauma expert, and author makes this point beautifully. He says, “Remember, the major tool you have in helping others change – whether parent, teacher, coach, therapist, or friend – is you.” He then profoundly says, “Relationships are the currency of change.” Depth therapy provides an opportunity for a healthy relational experience that supports you on your path back to feeling safe in the world. This is what depth work is all about – a safe relational space for you to go deep, rewire, and heal beyond your trauma.

A safe relational space offers the ingredients necessary for real change – change that comes from rewiring and reshaping your brain and autonomic nervous system. We will use this knowledge to help you understand what happened to you while at the same time doing the deep work to undo the effects of trauma. As James Hollis, noted Jungian Analyst says, “We don’t cut out our wounds for they are wired in neurologically and psychologically but we can learn to manage them better; we can outgrow the influence of our past.” Depth therapy often takes place over an extended period. It allows for a thorough exploration of your inner world and the gradual unraveling of complex psychological dynamics. While it is not a quick fix, it is transformative. We cannot take your trauma away but we can work together to help you process, recover, and heal.

Trauma Specialties

Relational Trauma

Relational trauma refers to traumatic experiences that occur within the context of relationships with others. Most trauma is relational trauma. It can stem from a one-on-one relationship, relationships within families, intimate partnerships, friendships, or our relationship with the world we live in. Relational trauma can have a deep impact on a person’s sense of self, their ability to trust others, and their capacity for healthy relationships. I have witnessed the immense challenges that survivors of relational trauma face. However, I have also had the privilege of witnessing their resilience and capacity for healing.

I like the way Gretchen Schmelzer, trauma expert, refers to the three separate aspects of the experience of relational trauma. The first aspect is the actual trauma that happened – the repeated exposure to threat and harm. The second aspect is what our brain and nervous system does to endure the trauma – the protective defense system we build to be able to function. Third is what she calls what didn’t happen – the natural growth and development that helps you learn how to navigate relationships and the world with hope and confidence. She says, “Relational trauma is about both what happened and what didn’t happen.” The what didn’t happen, natural developmental growth, is key and central to healing. It is never too late to address the traumas that did happen so that you can be on the path of growth, once again. I offer a space of safety and acceptance that allows for the kind of trust essential to healing the wounds from trauma.

Developmental Trauma

Developmental trauma is a type of relational trauma that occurs early in life. It includes maltreatment or neglect inflicted within a child’s relationship with a parent or other primary caregiver. This type of trauma often results from impaired caregiving whether malicious or unintentional in nature. Developmental trauma can stem from family mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and other forms of life adversity. This type of trauma disrupts a child’s internalization of healthy boundaries, secure connection to others, and a sense of being worthy of love. Developmental trauma impacts a child’s ability to develop a strong sense of security and safety. Many describe a feeling of “not knowing who they are” to the point of lacking the ability to make decisions, even small decisions. We will go deep and help you let go and rewire so you can move about your life with more confidence and ease.

Spiritual/Religious Trauma

Religious trauma is a type of relational trauma. It stems from experiencing or living in an environment with rigid religious or spiritual beliefs. This can range from living in an extreme religious cult, an abusive religious setting, a fundamental group that was not aligned with your own core beliefs, or any other rigid and painful religious experience that left you feeling isolated, afraid, and lost. We work together to understand the effects of this type of trauma so you can forge ahead with a value and belief system more congruent with who you are.

Begin Trauma Therapy in Texas Today!

What is holding you back from beginning trauma-focused therapy? The irony is that most trauma is relational trauma so it makes sense you would be hesitant to seek out a new relationship, even a therapeutic one that should be safe. You have been hurt to your core and the idea of trusting a trauma therapist with your story is almost unbearable. I get that. From the start, I offer a space of safety and complete acceptance that allows for the kind of trust and alliance needed to address your trauma/s. Healing is gradual but trust can be built and your life can change. If you think we might be a good fit, reach out to schedule a free consultation. I would be honored to work with you.

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Other Services Offered at Lysle Shaw Psychotherapy in Austin, Houston, and throughout Texas

I offer more than just trauma therapy in Texas. I offer a variety of specialties including walk and talk therapy, online therapy, therapy for introverts, empaths, and highly sensitive persons, Jungian dreamwork and individual therapy for relationship issues. Visit today to begin your journey to living your happiest life.