Trauma Therapy & PTSD Treatment in Washington DC

“Trauma is specifically an event that overwhelms the central nervous system, altering the way we process and recall memories. Trauma is not the story of something that happened back then, It’s the current imprint of that pain, horror, and fear living inside people.” Bessel van der Kolk.

Childhood Trauma (PTSD in Childhood)

Adults often come to therapy to resolve what’s been called complex or developmental trauma. Chronic childhood trauma (abuse, neglect, domestic violence, alcoholism, growing up in a violent neighborhood), disrupts healthy development and ca cause deep cracks in the foundation of our personality structure.  A very important research on the long-term effects of Adverse Childhood Events (ACE), made it clear that  our physical health and longevity can be negatively impacted by chronic trauma.

Center for effective therapy

How does trauma therapy work for trauma and PTSD?

Trauma often leaves people feeling stuck in cycles of reactivity, feeling constantly overwhelmed by sensations, feelings, or racing thoughts at minor provokations, or reminders of a traumatic event in the distant or recent past. In trauma, the region of our brains that are in charge of keeping us alive, tend to take over, leaving our “rational, thinking” brain unable to fully control our responses. Trauma therapy requires that in addition to conventional therapy techniques (talk, insight, understanding) we work with the entire body to “reprogram” automatic patterns of response.

Our trauma therapists in Washington DC

Our therapists are trained to incorporate body-oriented techniques to help our clients find freedom from suffering.

Common Symptoms of Trauma & PTSD

The diagnostic manual that mental health professionals use to facilitate a shared understanding about clusters of symptoms, and to inform diagnosis and treatment recommendations, have identified the following as symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-PTSD (which is one type of trauma-related disorder):

  • Intrusive experiences (memories, flashbacks, thoughts).
  • Avoidance as main coping mechanism (not wanting to see, hear, or remember stimulus that trigger emotional and physical reactions).
  • Negative view of the world (negative thoughts about ourselves and the world, numbness, detachment).
  • Physical and emotional reactions (being easily startled, irritability, shame and guilt).

Trauma reactions are a normal response to an extraordinary, extreme event that overwhelms our coping resources.

body-based approaches to healing from trauma.

Research in the field of trauma has demonstrated the usefulness and importance of working with the entire body response when healing trauma. At CEPS, our therapists are trained in somatic (body-based) interventions to working with trauma responses.

Body oriented therapy takes into consideration all the foundations typical of therapy, but gives the body a central role in healing.

In the safety of the therapeutic relationship, clients learn to pay compassionate attention to sensations that have been difficult to tolerate, develop internal and external strategies to help them feel centered and regulated, and experience significant reduction of their symptoms.

The Window of Tolerance

In Therapy you learn skills to help you regulate your stress response and stay within your optimal level of activation.