What is trauma? Why is it important?

I truly believe that all mental health concerns originate with trauma. Trauma is the lasting harm to the mind and nervous system that arise from traumatic experiences. Traumatic experiences are any events that overwhelms an individual so that they are unable to cope. These experiences can involve a threat to life or perceived safety, but can be any overwhelming or isolating scenario.

The example I often use to explain trauma is the idea of a three year old getting lost at a store. When we look at this event as an adult, it doesn’t seem traumatic. To a three year old, however, being lost can be terrifying and overwhelming. How the adults around us respond to this event can also be impactful – Did we get in trouble? Did our caregiver comfort us? Did the adults around us care that we were lost?

That three year old may cope with being lost in a maladaptive way. They may act out to get attention. They might cling to their caregiver and fear being separated. They may decide they need to take care of themselves and be distrustful of their caregiver. And sometimes these maladaptive coping strategies stick around – because we don’t know how else to protect ourselves.

Exploring and healing past trauma can help us understand where these maladaptive coping strategies originated, open us up to empathy for our past selves, and allow us to give ourselves the love and support we needed in the past.

Is this the right approach for me?

I draw from several approaches based on the client’s needs and presenting concerns, including: Internal Family Systems Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Mindfulness Modalities. I respect the vulnerability an individual courageously brings to each session. I try to meet individuals where they are at, and believe that through therapeutic support an individual can heal themselves.

Therapy should be your safe space to explore and grow. I believe that therapy should be a collaborative process that proceeds at a pace that maintains this safety. This can mean that trauma work can extend for longer periods of time, as we build trust and proceed gently.

My approach may be a good fit for your needs if:

  • You are seeking a safe space to start healing
  • You want assistance with self-care, boundaries, and coping skills
  • You are seeking lasting and meaningful change
  • You are ready to commit to the ongoing exploration of past trauma

I encourage you to reach out and ask more questions about my therapeutic approach. I am also happy to provide referrals to other therapists, if my approach does not feel like a good fit. You can reach me at kateepsych@gmail.com for more information.

How do I start?

If you feel ready to take a first step towards your healing, you can book a session online here. You can also book a 15-minute free consultation, if you still have questions or concerns.

You can also email me directly at kateepsych@gmail.com.