Has A Traumatic Experience Or Event Created Patterns Of Toxicity And Self-Doubt?
Have you been struggling with cycles of negative self-talk and a lack of confidence? Are you repeating self-destructive behaviors that you know are toxic or will cause pain? Do you find it difficult to express your emotions and, as a result, either withdraw from or lash out at those closest to you? Perhaps you are a survivor of sexual and/or physical abuse, or maybe you grew up in an environment where reacting violently was an acceptable means of communicating. You may recount painful memories from your past often and find unhealthy means of coping with the feelings associated with those memories.
Traumatic experiences are common and affect each individual differently. You may experience moments when your body suddenly shifts into panic mode—your heart races, your muscles tense, and you become hyper aware of your surroundings. Or perhaps your reactions are more based in emotional responses like anger, sadness, reactivity, and low self-esteem. It may feel as though you cannot create the boundaries you need to feel safe and secure and a cycle of unhealthy behaviors develops as you feel the control slowly slipping away from your grasp.
Over time, your day-to-day life and relationships may have begun to feel the burden of your pain and frustration. You may not feel worthy of certain work opportunities, despite being qualified. Or perhaps your communication style has become increasingly aggressive, creating conflict in the relationships that once provided comfort. Such discord is bound to make it difficult to manage your moods and concentrate on your responsibilities, but your life does not have to be defined by the residual pain of your trauma.
Trauma Is Often The Result Of Intergenerational Patterns And Systemic Injustice
We as a society tend to define trauma in large, catastrophic terms, yet this classification is misleading. Trauma can exist in the form of a single stressful event or as a result of regulated, systemic injustices. Unfortunately, trauma is inevitable for every living, breathing person on the planet, and there is no way to avoid an experience that has the potential to shake up your foundations.
While trauma can veer from traditional catastrophic definitions, it still widely manifests in forms of abuse, neglect, and tragedy. Violence takes many shapes and has ugly consequences, whether that violence occurs as a bodily injury or a violation of trust. Sexual and physical abuse continues to plague family households, and it is not uncommon for a victim of abuse to later become an abuser themselves. Violence can also occur at the hands of the state, extending outside of the family unit and creating collective, systemic forms of abuse and trauma. Unfortunately, the feelings of shame, guilt, and anger associated with abuse prevent those who are impacted from speaking up and seeking the help they need to heal.
Moreover, the black community in America is subject to more frequent and varied forms of trauma than other populations. A lack of generational wealth and access to education and resources puts more stress on black families, and the disproportionate rate of mass incarceration among black men creates a distrust of the very institutions that make up society and create opportunities for advancement. Constant alienation from opportunity will naturally result in resentment and cycles of toxic behaviors passed down from generation to generation. And while we are seeing progress in awareness around systemic racism and intergenerational trauma, there is still a general stigma attached to the discussion of mental health, making it hard for people to identify, acknowledge, and seek therapy for their traumas.
Fortunately, therapists and counselors are uniquely trained to provide treatment, helping you to give voice to your trauma and develop the skills necessary to cope with the pain and uncomfortable feelings that persist in your life. Even if you feel as though the system has failed and created painful circumstances for you, your life nevertheless belongs to you, and you can re-establish the control you think you may have lost.
Therapy Can Help You Better Understand And Heal From Your Trauma
Despite the demonstrated and pervasive setbacks in the black community created by an unjust system that thrives on white supremacy, we have found that our clients are often uncomfortable with change and fear the unknown. This is precisely why cycles of toxic behaviors continue—because it is hard to imagine what else could be. We don’t believe that our clients at Quality Counseling choose to sabotage their success or progress, however, we think many lack the awareness to recognize which of their decisions are self-sabotaging. And so, we find they often choose the suffering they’re familiar with, instead, because they lack the confidence and empowerment needed to change course.
Using the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-5), as well as other evaluations, our team will work with you to develop a quantifiable sense of how and what kinds of traumas have affected you. In our sessions together, we will explore your family tree and discuss in-depth how the many generations of your family have been traumatized and conditioned towards toxic behaviors. So many of these behaviors have been learned by my clients, as a result of family histories that reflect the same behaviors. We find that the exercise of detailing your history can provide newfound empathy and understanding so that you can better accept the circumstances of your trauma and eventually break the cycle of pain and silence.
At the beginning of our time together, we will identify your goals for trauma therapy and discuss the stressors you may feel on a day-to-day basis, as well as the triggers that cause you to lapse into revisiting painful experiences at the expense of your mental and emotional health. Using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), we will work to reprocess the painful memories that feel permanently stuck in a cast of negative emotions and work to change your thoughts around those memories and the feelings associated with them. We will also use motivational interviewing techniques to help you gain a better understanding of the internal catalysts for change that already exist within you.
For over a decade, the therapists and counselors at Quality Counseling have offered clients a safe, comfortable, and compassionate space where there is always a potential to experience joy and optimism. We find that people benefit from sitting with and processing trauma and uncomfortable emotions with the guidance of a counselor who understands how to honor the past while providing tangible solutions for the future. And we want to provide you with a tailored and meaningful toolbox so that you have the opportunity to heal in the long-term, without feeling the need to commit to a life of weekly sessions.
Whether your aim is to develop professionally, rehabilitate your inner child, mitigate your anxiety, or find in your heart a meaningful and genuine sense of forgiveness, we at Quality Counseling want to help you thrive! A life of abundance is possible. And the opportunity to learn about yourself will always result in a deeper understanding.
We believe the worst part of your trauma has already occurred. And while healing from your trauma will be hard, the struggle is worth it. You are worth it.
Maybe you are considering seeking treatment for your trauma, but you have some concerns…
Therapy is for mentally unstable or unwell people, and I don’t identify that way.
Therapy is completely normal and common. Mental health is part of your health as a whole, and your mind is the most complex part of our body. As such, it’s as vital to check in with that part of yourself to see if your mind is feeling pain or discomfort as it is for any other injury. A professional can help you navigate and find relief for the pain that is a result of your trauma, in the form of treatment and therapy.
I have a fear of being judged during the therapeutic process.
Therapists are trained professionals who have an obligation to be open-minded and free of judgment. In fact, the founding principles of trauma counseling rely on maintaining empathy while remaining objective.
Throughout our training and practice, the therapists and counselors at Quality Counseling have encountered a diverse array of populations and a wide range of emotional experiences. Whatever kind of trauma or other concerns you bring to therapy sessions, we will hear, honor, and treat you on an individual basis. The most important thing is that you seek the help you need in order to heal.
I am afraid of facing the shame associated with my trauma.
If you are experiencing feelings of shame or guilt as a result of your trauma, therapy can give you the tools to verbalize your shame so that it feels less stigmatizing and damaging. Suppressing your feelings of shame will not make your negative emotions disappear. And if these feelings fester, they are likely to cause more mental, emotional, and physical problems in your life.
We are here to help you work through your trauma and all of the emotions that come with it. The shame of your past experiences is misplaced and holding onto that feeling in isolation will not help you in dismantling and better understanding your traumatic experience(s).
Allow Us To Help You In Moving Past Your Trauma!
If you are caught in unhealthy patterns of behavior or struggling with the pain of past trauma, therapy at Quality Counseling can empower you to face your feelings of discomfort and overcome them. For a free, 15-minute consultation to learn about our team, please visit our website to find out more about what we can do to help you live the joyful, peaceful life that you deserve.
Please note that due to COVID-19, I will be conducting all sessions online for the time being.