We provide trauma informed services for children, teens, and adults. We understand the sensitive nature of trauma therapy and aim to support our clients every step of the way. You may be wondering how trauma therapy differs from individual therapy. Trauma therapy involves very specialized trainings and consultations on the part of the therapist and focuses on prioritizing a client’s felt sense of safety. Trauma therapists understand that trauma has a profound effect on a client’s nervous system and their ability to feel safe, even when they are out of the trauma and away from the physical danger of the threat. Thus, a trauma therapist’s priority from the very first outreach is offering a safe space to their client and focusing on building a client’s inner resources.


During trauma therapy at our practice, our initial goal is to ensure you experience a safe and trusting relationship with your therapist. We will work together to ensure your therapy journey is moving at an appropriate pace and ensure you develop your own resources to offer all your parts safety and control prior to discussing difficult aspects of your trauma. Part of the initial process is providing you with education on the nature of trauma, related symptoms following trauma, and the therapeutic interventions so that you are well informed throughout the course of therapy.


Defining trauma…

Often, we find that our clients may be referred to us for symptoms of anxiety, depression, OCD, low self-esteem, or another diagnosis when in fact, these symptoms were caused by a trauma or series of traumatic experiences. In order to define what is trauma, it is important to note that a trauma is unique to each individual. What may be a trauma for one person, may not be a trauma to another. We can best describe trauma as something that happens to you, that is outside of your body’s ability to process, control, and navigate. Our body’s way of responding to a trauma is below our awareness meaning our body reacts automatically in response to a distressing event without us thinking or planning our reaction. This includes fight, flight, freeze, and fawn responses. Even if you experienced a trauma early in life, you can experience overwhelming and negative memories, emotions, or sensations during various moments in your life as a result of this trauma.


Understanding Our Approach to Trauma Therapy

Through our experience and training, we have found that an integrative approach to treatment is often the most effective approach. This means we do not utilize solely one treatment model, but instead keep each client’s individual background and symptoms in mind and draw from different approaches. These approaches include the following:

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Somatic Experiencing
  • Sandtray Therapy
  • Ego State Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a modality that helps us access and reprocess trauma that is stuck in the body. In EMDR, the therapist utilizes bilateral stimulation, which includes activating both sides of the body to reprocess aspects of the trauma stuck in the body. This might look like back and forth eye movements, tapping your body in a left to right motion, or utilizing “tappers” which provides alternating bilateral stimulation. When the therapist guides a client through bilateral stimulation, the left and right hemispheres of the brain are able to become activated in order to help the client properly reprocess traumatic memories. EMDR therapy can successfully help many clients, including those who may experience anxiety, chronic illnesses, depression, eating disorders, grief and loss, performance anxiety, sleep disturbance, and PTSD.

For more information about EMDR, you can visit the EMDR International Association: https://www.emdria.org/about-emdr-therapy/

Somatic Experiencing

Somatic experiencing (SE) is a body oriented approach that focuses on resolving trauma that is stuck in the fight, flight, freeze, or fawn responses that result from the shock of a trauma. An SE therapist is trained to guide clients through a framework called SIBAM which means sensations, images, behavior, affect, and meaning. Through focusing on these elements that have resulted from a trauma, clients often experience a deeper understanding of the body-mind connection and an improved ability to release and discharge trauma held deep in the body.

Sandtray Therapy

Sandtray therapy is a powerful healing tool that offers a tactile and sensory experience for those working through healing from trauma without having to use words. In our sessions, you will find trays with sand which serves as a holding space for clients to create their “world,” or an image that is representative of many experiences in a client’s life. You will also find “miniatures” in our office, which are various figurines that are diverse in nature and can be used by clients to place in their sand tray to explore and process their world. Clients are given autonomy in the creation of a sand tray to choose as many or as little miniatures as needed to create worlds in the sand. The therapists then guides the client in processing their sand tray, and often clients make meaning and gain new insights that aid in finding clarity and experiencing healing.

“Sandtray therapy is beautifully sacred. It’s a holding space, a boundary protected space for exploration and discovery.” – Marshall Lyles

Ego State Therapy

Ego state therapy is an approach that supports clients who may be experiencing dissociation as a result from traumatic experiences. In ego state therapy, clients explore parts or ego states that were formed through trauma and hold different parts of a their past experiences and memories. Often when a trauma occurs, you may find yourself having negative thoughts and believing that these thoughts define who you are. However, in ego state therapy, a therapist guides you in understanding that there are parts of you that have formed as a result of surviving a trauma and helps you explore parts that are holding on to negative beliefs, emotions, and sensations. As a result, there is increased communication between your parts, which facilitates cohesion between your inner and outer worlds.