Trauma fundamentally shapes how we perceive the world, how we function within it, and how we take our next steps. The word “trauma” is frequently used, and has a very specific meaning. Trauma refers to a significant and serious life altering event, often involving life-threatening danger, physical threat, sexual violence, attachment trauma or substantial harm to our psychological integrity. Trauma is considered a psychological injury, and it is highly treatable and reparable.
Sometimes trauma can be a single, isolated event, other times it can be ongoing traumatic relationships or environments. In all cases, trauma engages our instinctual survival brain to save our lives, and following trauma we may need time and help to recover, repair, and rebuild.
“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
I help many people recover from trauma in a multimodal approach. Initially we establish safety by stabilizing the environment around us and learning a wide and diverse set of coping skills to stay grounded and present, reduce distress when we get triggered, regulate our emotions, and build ongoing self care habits. Once safety and sense of regulation is established, we enter into repair and reprocessing where we work to repair the traumatic injury by reprocessing trauma. This can be done in varying ways from traditional processing and challenging problem thoughts and perceptions, creative activities to holistically reintegrate the traumatic events into our continuous self narrative. From there we close trauma recovery work with reintegration and reconnection work. We build a life that engages personal core values and principles, works toward long-term life worth living goals, and repairs and rebuilds connections in relationships with others and our world.
This work pulls techniques and interventions from Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, mindfulness practices, relational attachment dynamic therapies and Narrative Therapy. Please contact me with any questions or to schedule a consultation to discuss your specific needs further.
Kelsey J. Harper, Psy.D. Licensed Psychologist PSY26415