Psychological Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Trauma often results when a person is overwhelmed with stress that results from a horrifying event such as a serious injury or sexual violence. It can also occur when individuals witness threatening events or are threatened with them. Psychological trauma is the effect of stress on the mind that reduces the ability to cope. The effects are potentially long lasting. However, with the proper care, the mind can heal.
Symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, irritability, outbursts, hypervigilance, withdrawing, and numbing.
Often symptoms gradually disappear. When they do not, and when they interfere with normal activities, it is important to seek help from a qualified mental health practitioner trained in trauma therapy.
Our experience as registered clinical counsellors includes trauma-informed therapy for violent personal attacks, motor vehicle accidents, domestic violence, abuse, and sexual assault.
Our practice includes Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), trauma therapy, mindfulness technique, and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
Complex trauma is repetitive trauma that individuals experience over a prolonged period. The frequency of the traumatic events does not allow the body and mind to recover, and so the effects accumulate. This impacts the individual’s psychological development. Complex trauma may have its origins in childhood experiences that are not necessarily life-threatening. These include abuse, betrayal, abandonment, exploitation, antipathy, and rejection.
Symptoms include moodiness, hyperarousal, a low sense of self-esteem, a low sense of self-worth, negativity, and other symptoms of PTSD.
With the proper treatment, the neurological damage resulting from complex trauma can heal.
I have over 20 years of related experience working with individuals who have experienced complex trauma. My clinical counselling practice includes treating complex trauma using attachment therapy, trauma informed therapy, Mindfulness integrative CBT, and EMDR.
Trauma Experienced by First Nations / Indigenous People
Indigenous people are often traumatised in ways that others are not. This includes systemic racism, discrimination, and historical trauma — the long-term effects of colonisation and cultural genocide. Many residential school survivors struggle with symptoms of trauma, complex trauma, and intergenerational trauma.
I have over 15 years experience working with First Nations people, status and non-status, on and off reserve. This includes:
- receiving teachings from Cree and Sto:lo First Nation elders and cultural workers
- supporting healing circles as the participating clinician
- supporting children and youth and participating in prayer / sharing circles
- co-facilitating a healing circle for youth experiencing grief and loss
Treatment focuses on holistic support with a strength-based and collaborative approach that identifies the strengths of the individual and their community of support. I work to help the client develop a balance of their mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional well being.
I also integrate Dr. Martin Brokenleg’s model of the Circle of Courage in my practice. This medicine wheel model is a holistic way of helping individuals to develop a sense of personal balance. The Circle of Courage is a proven evidence-based model for supporting at-risk youth and provides a strong framework in:
- Sense of Belonging / Attachment
- Sense of Mastery / Achievement
- Sense of Generosity / Altruism
- Sense of Independence / Autonomy
My training includes:
- Cultural awareness training in Grand Prairie, Alberta
- Reclaiming Youth at Risk workshop by Dr. Martin Brokenleg
- First Nations Historical Impact Training Series – Sto:lo First Nation
- San’yas Indifenous Cultural Safety Training Core Mental Health (Provincial Health Services Authority — PHSA)
I am registered with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA).
Funding for residential school survivors or those suffering from historical trauma is available. Please contact me for details.