Lisa Shouldice MA, RP, CCP, Psychotherapist
I offer healing and support for people that have had past experiences of sexual, physical &/or psychological/emotional abuse/assault. This includes survivors of incest and complex trauma within their family. When I refer to complex trauma I am referring to multiple perpetrators and many years of having learned to survive in dysfunctional conditions. Incest does not happen in happy families and it necessarily involves secrecy and unsaid “rules”. This results in confusing, intense feelings that are hard to navigate and figure out. It also can lead to strange bodily or physical sensations related to a history of this nature. Our feelings can be conflicting and we engage in self-destructive behaviours at times to numb and distract ourselves. It can make relating to others, in our adult lives, seemingly impossible. Connecting can seem scary when already intense feelings become stronger. You may have had some experiences which include:
- intense nightmares
- waking flashbacks where you remember a scene of abuse so intensely it seems it is happening now
- having a memory that plays like a movie with no feelings attached, or feeling numb
- feelings of anxiety and depression, sometimes feeling incessant and overwhelming
- sex and relationships feel strange and hard to navigate, in which you either feel too much or not enough
- feelings of extreme agitation
It may be time to get help to heal a part of your trauma history and learn new ways of coping, if you feel your life has become unmanageable. It may feel like your history of abuse has taken over your thoughts, personal experiences and relationships. It can feel like your history of abuse defines you. You might feel angry about this. Have you gotten to the point where you call in sick to work often, finding it taxing on you? Do your romantic relationships seem to begin beautifully and then, as you get closer, having sex becomes triggering and being close to your partner uncomfortable? Do they blame you and not fully understand? If any of this seems familiar, I would love to help.
If your experience of abuse/traumatic experiences occurred over a period of years and you have been living with the impacts for a long time, you will likely need a longer-term trauma-informed therapeutic process. If the abuse happened within your family you have likely developed some ways of coping both within yourself and your relationships that are no longer working for you. Self-harm, addiction and failed relationships may be all to familiar to you. It is not possible to learn to self-soothe and regulate feelings in an abusive home. You may have Fibromyalgia or Irritable Bowel Syndrome due to feeling stressed and agitated most of the time. So learning to self-soothe and cope in healthy ways is an important part of healing.
What trauma therapy with me looks like:
- Build our bond so you can trust me and know I will be there. Create safe spaces both together in session and within your life and spirit that you can use to self-soothe.
- Grounding techniques taught and individualized to work in your life and help you when you are dissociating, feeling agitated etc.
- Create a care plan to support you in a healthy life and know who to turn to in times of stress
- Healing through emotion-coaching, unpacking traumatic memories, Art and Sandtray Therapy, Visualizations, Meditation etc.
- Learn boundaries and other aspects of healthy relationships through Skill Building as well as dynamic/interpersonal techniques within our therapeutic relationship
- Integration to ensure all of this new healing, information and ways of being becomes a regular part of your life
While this tends to be a longer term therapeutic healing journey, I will do my best to support you. I believe there are many ways of healing and we can discuss them and make sure these are a part of your journey as well.
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