Trauma; Honor For Your Healing Journey
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghOctober 30, 2018 compassion, pittsburgh, positive psychology, resilience to trauma0 comments
The four things your therapist wants you to know about your healing journey. When you’re healing from a grief, trauma, or resultant PTSD, you must be thinking about ‘how will I ever move on from this horrible, unexpected, agonizing reaction to the traumatic situation that I have experienced?’ Remember, PTSD is a reaction to witnessing or experiencing a sudden and unexpected event which caused one to feel powerless by delivering, threatening, or witnessing harm. How can I rise above these feelings and thoughts and create meaningful and complete healing? Maybe you want to go backwards in time and undo all of the harm that you have experienced. A common and reasonable response to all of these above disorders, particularly PTSD, is to try to avoid all triggers associated with the situation which evoked the trauma, hypervigilance, intrusive memories, nightmares, flashbacks and an increased risk for anxiety and depression. This disorder presents a mountain to ascend, and whether you have spend years in therapy or are only beginning to acknowledge the depth of the effects this has had on you, these are some points to keep in mind. These are the 4 things that your therapist wants you to know about healing that are not immediately evident.
Healed but not Forgotten
Some people have the unrealistic expectation that when they reach the end of their healing journey they shouldn’t have any emotional reaction to their memories of the traumatic event which led to grief and loss. That is not how healing works. It is quite likely that you will always have some sort of reaction to the memories and thoughts associated with your grief or trauma. In fact, according to a 2011 study published in NIH by Sherin and Nemeroff, and according to all of science and psychology support the fact that there is potential for long term neuroanatomical and neurochemical changes to the central nervous system resulting from trauma. These changes are especially evident in the way we respond to triggers or trauma associated stimuli. What we should be striving for in the healing from trauma is a ‘new normal.’ Healing means that you are able to function in professional or personal settings and that you are practicing resilience and positive coping when waves of thought and emotion do come.
Healing means Acknowledging Feelings
One of the ways that therapy works is by creating an intentional space for healing warriors to be honest with themselves, to create an understanding of their emotions. After an awareness has been formed adaptive responses to feelings and thoughts can be generated. We create psychopathology by being critical and attempting to repress our internal honest responses. For some people like first responders, police, and paramedics, there may be an extra layer of difficulty and stigma attached to acknowledging ones feelings and seeking mental health support to manage trauma. This can cause further damaging denial of the effects of traumatic experiences, One of the core tenets of psychological theory present in every form of therapy is that the more we repress, judge or avoid our feelings, the more we cause problems. Repression elicits tangled feeling constellations, blocked energies, incomplete and unintegrated shadows. Mindfulness based stress reduction, EMDR, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Exposure Therapy, have shown efficacy in treating PTSD. Our feelings can turn into psychopathology that are bigger and sometimes socially unacceptable forms of the original emotional response.
Healing Happens in Relationships. Find your Healing Tribe.
It is especially true for trauma that happens in relationships, that this same trauma is healed in relationships. When trauma survivors open up to those people who they consider to be safe, there is an incredible potential for healing to happen. Healing relationships are those that resonate compassion, gentle acceptance, warmth, and non-judgement. Think about it, we become close to those who we can be really honest with, those who ask about our feelings and can share in a compassionate interchange, (Mgrath, 2001). Sharing trauma should be exercised with caution. However well-intentioned our healing tribe may be, its members may inadvertently respond in less constructive ways that judge, shame, or put down the survivor for having the pain or scars of trauma. Another risk is not being able to hear or understand what is being shared. What is really needed is non-judgmental acceptance, understanding, and compassionate warmth.
Positive Psychology, Pop Culture and Non-Reality
You may have survived a trauma but that doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to meme reality. Scroll through a social media forum and you will see many posts and memes which declare that everyone should be happy all the time. That isn’t honest or possible. The healthiest among us are those who are honest with themselves about what they experience and then respond to their vulnerable reality in a constructive way. According to a 2016 study by Elizabeth Kneeland, pop cultures layman positive psychology is damaging. When pop culture got its hands on positive psychology its representatives distorted the message, and now laymen perpetuate unrealistic and uninformed messages which imply that we can think our way into a good mood. It suggests that if we blink our eyes we can make trauma and psychological distress evaporate. Your therapist knows differently. Its ok to be outraged, disgusted, sad, hurt, angry, confused, and it is important to acknowledge where you are in your healing journey today.
No matter where you are today, the best we can do is to risk opening to ourselves, to create an honest internal dialogue that we are eventually able to share with others. We should unabashedly honor our own processes, giving relentless permission to feel, think and be; in reverence of joy, in honor of glorious fury, to the fullest expression of gaiety, to the utterance of insuperable hurt, to fully hone in on repugnant disgust. Keep developing your divine awareness, and eventually you will have created the unique meaning which understands with a lens of compassion, acceptance, and self love all that has happened to you.
With love and hope for resilience,
Stephanie Wijkstrom, MS, LPC, NCC
For More Reading
Kneeland, Elizabeth et al, Positive thinking Newsweek, 2016
McGrath, Ellen. Psychology Today, published November 1, 2001
Post-traumatic stress disorder: the neurobiological impact of psychological trauma
Sherin, Jonathan E, Charles B. Nemeroff
Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2011 Sep; 13(3): 263–278.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghDecember 28, 2017 co-parenting, counseling, couples counseling, couples therapy, divorce, educational, marriage counseling, meditation, mental health, parenting, psychology, psychotherapy, therapist, therapists, therapy, Uncategorized, wellness0 comments
Our licensed professional counselors are here for the community offering evidence-based therapy, marriage counseling, family counseling, child therapy, art therapy, premarital counseling, all by top rated clinicians. Our team of therapists has over 150 years of experience between us, we offer therapy to heal from Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and our Couples Therapists can treat a full range of relationship issues from conflict communication, to intimacy enhancement, and parenting concerns. In all of our centers, we also provide a menu of comprehensive wellness services. We offer wellness support including health treatment options from our certified nutritionist, kinesiologist, clinical herbalist who specialize in offering the people of The Greater Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania communities providing wellness solutions for mind, body, and spirit. Be well with us!
Contact us at our Pittsburgh location 830 Western Avenue Pittsburgh Pa, 15233 Our Pittsburgh center is located in the northshore of the downtown Pittsburgh. Therapy near Northside, Southside, Brighton heights, Lawrenceville, Shadyside, Bloomfield, Strip District, and Mt. Washington. Our hours are from 7-am-8 pm Monday through Sunday. We accept UPMC, Highmark, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United, Magellan, Aetna, and Comp Psych as well as Out of Network, Self Pay, and Sliding Scale options.
For a therapist near you – Call us at 412-322-2129Learn More
Counseling Monroeville, PA
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghDecember 28, 2017 counseling, couples counseling, couples therapy, educational, marriage counseling, psychology, therapist, therapy, Uncategorized, wellness0 comments
Counseling in Monroeville at Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh our therapists are trained in a variety of specialties including Marriage and Family Therapists, Child Therapy, and Certified Nutritionist, Kinesiologist, Clinical Herbalist, and Meditation Instructor are proud to be Monroeville’s only Integrative Counseling Center. Our Counseling team include top-rated therapists with decades of experience in Mental Health and Marriage or Couples Counseling in Monroeville.
Our therapists serve Western Pennsylvania and our Counseling Center East is near you in Monroeville, Murrysville, Penn Hills, Plum, New Kensington, and Westmoreland County. We provide compassionate and scientifically validated therapy solutions specifically available for your emotional health and wellness. Our counselors treat individuals who are suffering from a broad range of mental health concerns such as anxiety, anger management, depression, chronic mental health diagnoses, trauma, bipolar disorder, late stage alcohol and substance abuse recovery, intimacy, life transitions, managing the emotional effects of a medical diagnosis, grief counseling, stress disorders, stress management, obsessive compulsive disorder, mood disorders, personality disorders, compassion fatigue, parenting, life balancing, postpartum depression and many more. Our child therapists help children who are dealing with bullying, trauma, grief, behavioral, and attentional disorders. The Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh has therapists with specialties in all ages and stages of development.
Some of the commonly treated disorders which can be helped by our Couples Therapy specialists are intimacy, communication, conflict, infidelity, parenting and co-parenting, as well as premarital counseling. Family counseling is also an option and our therapists have worked with families of all types and sizes including parent child, adult children and parents, step families, siblings, and grandparents.
As an integrative counseling center we utilize many approaches and offer solutions for emotional, relational, and physical health in our centers. Our counselors use cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, humanistic, psycho-dynamic, and emotionally focused techniques as well art therapy for kids. We also have a wellness team to provide natural solutions to enhance well-being including herbalism, meditation, and nutrition counseling. In other instances we are glad to collaborate with psychiatrists and psychologists to provide continuity of care for those clients who hold psychiatric diagnoses. Please refer to our providers individual bio’s for a more comprehensive explanation of their professional styles, training, and educational backgrounds.
We accept many insurance companies including UPMC, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, United, Aetna, and Cigna. Additionally and for your convenience we also accept HSA, credit and debit card for self paying clients. We staff therapists who care and who do offer the sliding scale so that all clients can access the mental health coverage that they need.
We do offer distance solutions at all of our centers and can provide counseling using Skype.
If you have a question about whether we have a counselor to treat your specific concerns and emotional needs, please send an email and we will be glad to let you know or answer any other specific questions or inquiries.
Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh is conveniently located at 2539 Monroeville Blvd, Monroeville, PA, 15146. We are in a freestanding building with a large parking lot attached to our center.
Call us at 412-856-WELL or 412-856-9355
Sunday 7am-9pmLearn More