Melancholy and reflective waterfalls to represent trauma
Melancholy and reflective waterfalls to represent trauma

TRAUMA

Therapy for Trauma in New York City

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Trauma is like an invisible backpack that we carry with us, filled with memories and emotions from painful experiences. At its core, trauma is anything that has happened which has a lasting negative impact.

When it’s physical, we might experience trauma like a weight pressing on our chest, or an aching in an arm or leg. When it’s emotional, it informs our beliefs about ourselves and influences our reactions to the world around us.

It can show up in various ways, such as flashbacks that bring us right back to a specific moment in time, nightmares that haunt our sleep, or a constant sense of hypervigilance so we’re always on the lookout for danger. It's like living in a world where the volume is turned up too loud, where even the smallest triggers can send us into a tailspin of emotions. Often, trauma affects us on multiple levels.

It's not always the big, dramatic events that leave the deepest scars; sometimes, it's a small moment that catches us off guard, or an accumulation of harmful everyday experiences. Trauma can become “normal,” so we might not even identify it as trauma at first. It was just our reality.

Trauma goes beyond our memories and extends to the stories we tell ourselves in the aftermath. It's the belief that we're damaged goods, unworthy of love, or it was our fault. It's the constant self-criticism, the feeling that no matter what we do, we'll never be enough. Trauma clouds our vision, distorting the way we see ourselves and the world.

Unpacking Trauma
Woman resting her head on a friend's shoulder
Woman resting her head on a friend's shoulder
Chasing Solutions in the Dark
The Past is in the Past

You’ve likely tried different things to heal from trauma. Maybe you’ve avoided certain situations or physical places that bring up painful memories. Maybe you’ve tried to numb the pain through drinking, drugs, or other unhealthy behaviors.

These are natural go-to quick fixes because they do offer temporary relief–but you don’t need me to tell you that they’re not sustainable. They’re not healthy. And at the end of the day, they won’t help you process what has happened.

Perhaps you’ve even come to therapy before, hoping that talking about your trauma will make it magically disappear. While traditional talk therapy can be a vital tool in the healing process, it may not address all aspects of trauma. This could leave you feeling:

  1. Angry (therapy wasn’t able to help even after you spent all that time, energy and money)

  2. Demoralized and like a failure (everybody said therapy would help–does this mean you’re a lost cause?)

  3. Confused and stuck (if talking about it week after week didn’t help, what will?)

  4. All of the above

But there are certain therapeutic approaches that tend to heal trauma faster and more effectively than traditional talk therapy. EMDR is one solution that helps process traumatic memories and alleviate present-day distress.

There is no way to change what happened in the past. But there is a way to change how the past affects you now and in the future. Your trauma doesn’t have to define you.

It’s possible to think back on what happened through a more neutral lens and not have to go through the whirlwind of emotions that typically come up alongside your memories. It’s possible to revisit painful places in reality or situations in your head and feel only a slight tug of discomfort. It’s possible to rid yourself of negative self-beliefs such as “I’m unlovable,” “I’m invisible,” or “It’s always my fault.”

With time, trust, and hard work (plus maybe a few tears along the way), we’ll be able to unravel the tangled web of trauma and shed its physical and emotional weight. This is a future where you’re able to reclaim your sense of self. This is a future where you’re no longer defined by your past but empowered by your resilience.

Ready to Start Therapy for Trauma?

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