Trauma Counseling and Therapy

Trauma Counseling and Therapy

Traumas in the past can form the core of our problems today. Our trauma informed therapy can guide your recovery. We are ready to help with staff and offices in Seattle, Belleview, Bothell/Woodinville and Online.

How Should One Approach Trauma? What is the Trauma Treatment That Gets Us Back to Living Life?

It’s been a long time “after the event” and you find yourself still fixated on it. Reliving and rethinking what happened. That “event” is different for everyone, but usually involves a specific moment, experience or person. It doesn’t have to be traumatic in the sense of the word that we use day-to-day (assault, abuse, etc.) but if a past experience still affects you deeply, even long after the fact, we at Acuity would consider it trauma.

What trauma means to each person differs greatly. One person may be focused on a betrayal in a past relationship, while another person may be focused on their difficult childhood. It can also be as simple as a job loss, and how it jarred your sense of self-worth.

Many people that find themselves fixated on past traumas also have other struggles that keep them from the “normal” that they had before. This includes mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, addiction or body image perceptions. If you think that you are struggling with something from your past that is keeping you from living your full potential, and it is related to a past trauma, then having a therapist who is trauma-informed can make all the difference.

Many of our patients find it frustrating to not be able to participate in activities that once made them happy due to their fear of “triggering” a past memory. It’s a common goal for trauma patients to want to overcome this. We hear, “If only I could go to that family event…” or “If only I could get past this.”

You’re ready for everyday to stop feeling like Groundhog Day, to stop relieving the past, to stop feeling so numb and passive. No more letting your trauma define you and limit your life. It’s time to move from letting trauma control you, to take control of your past, and to start the life you want to live.

Acuity’s 1-on-1 Therapies for:


Anxiety »


Depression »


Relationship Issues »


Grief & Loss »


Trauma & PTSD »


Eating Disorders and Body Image »


OUR THERAPY APPROACHES

(CBT) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy »
(EDMR) Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing »



Our Clinicians also help with:

  • Personal Growth
  • Navigating Life Transitions (relocation, career changes, stage of life growth)
  • Existential Concerns
  • Managing Anger or Panic
  • Gaining control over Substance use & Addiction

Contact us to schedule an appointment or ask a question:

4 + 6 =

Helping you understand your patterns of thought and reactions for a path forward

Give us a call and see if Therapy is right for you. Then, we can pair you up with the perfect Counselor, and guide you through what to expect and our process.

Get Started: Contact UsSchedule a Session Online

Common Symptoms of Trauma

Coping with trauma looks different for every person. Here are some of the common signs of trauma that you may be experiencing. If any of these resonate with you, you may benefit from a trauma focused therapy.

  • Sadness
  • Numbness
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Fogginess
  • Passivity

Long term trauma symptoms:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Unexplained physical pain
  • Depression
  • Nightmares 
  • Avoidance (especially of emotions)
  • Flashbacks
  • Feeling “always on guard”
  • Dissociation with daily life
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Feelings of powerlessness
  • Self-abuse
  • Acting out 
  • Self esteem and body image issues

Common Types of Trauma That We Address

In addition to identifying your specific symptoms, understanding the type of trauma you are struggling with can help inform a plan for treatment. Here are the most common trauma related conditions you may be struggling with:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Acute Stress Disorder (ASD). 
  • Adjustment Disorders (AD).
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). 
  • Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED). 
  • Other and Unspecified Trauma- and Stress-Related Disorders.

Does your situation feel like your living a broken record, or worse, a broken record player? Call us for help.

It’s Not Only PTSD: Trauma is Common and Trauma Counseling and Therapy May Help. 

Recent research suggests that around 67% of adults disclose having experienced something traumatic in their lives.  5-10% of those adults have experienced severe trauma to the point that they are diagnosed with a traumatic injury such as PTSD. You can see that the largest group of people that deal with trauma do so beyond our usual perceptions of trauma. These traumas may simply be events that worsened the person’s life in a significant way. 

Many people can live productive lives without ever examining their traumatic experiences, but these people can feel that something is missing. That they haven’t fully recovered. We firmly believe that only by coping with the past can you build a better future. Counseling can help you understand the root of your traumas, change how you interpret and interact with that memory, and alter how you can put that experience in context of your life today. 

Too many are told by friends or family to “suck it up” or “quit whining about that.” We can’t allow ourselves to think like that. Trauma is like a broken bone, you can’t just ignore it and suck it up, you have to see someone to treat it. Even then, trauma remains an ongoing struggle, it requires us to dig deep and act, to create meaning in the experience, and to take back control. 

By increasing your self-awareness, you can begin to develop skills and coping strategies for addressing the triggers and symptoms of your trauma (with an emphasis on self-care). It may sound impossible, but over time and with guidance, at Acuity you will learn to acknowledge the lingering thoughts of your trauma, and let them pass, giving you back control in your life.

Our Approach to Trauma Counseling: Trauma Informed Therapy

Our main two evidence-based modalities for treating trauma are EMDR and behavioral therapies such as CBT. Both of these use a similar approach with trauma:

  1. Develop safety and coping – Build a safe environment with your therapist in which you can discuss your trauma
  2. Review traumatic memories – Work on processing your traumas
  3. Integration – Integrate your trauma into your current life without letting it dominate you

“Trauma-focused Psychotherapies are the most highly recommended type of treatment for PTSD. “Trauma-focused” means that the treatment focuses on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning. These treatments use different techniques to help you process your traumatic experience. Some involve visualizing, talking, or thinking about the traumatic memory. Others focus on changing unhelpful beliefs about the trauma. They usually last about 8-16 sessions.”

US DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN AFFAIRS

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Trauma

If you have a specific behavior pattern related to your trauma that you want to overcome, a behavioral approach works best.

Typically we start by identifying the memories of your trauma and triggers. What brings up the memory, how do you typically react? Do you try and suppress it for example?

Once we understand this, we can begin to work on how you interpret that trauma, and how that interpretation has changed your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Once you understand your patterns of thought and reactions we can work on a path forward. This can mean developing coping strategies, skills and stressor management that help you reduce the severity of your reaction to triggers.

We also use newer variations of cognitive behavioral therapy, often called “third wave” CBT [LINK], which include acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). The new idea behind these treatments is that you shouldn’t be constantly battling and suppressing your negative emotions, but learning to change your relationship to them, ideally to gain knowledge that they are there, and come to terms with them proactively, rather than reflexively reacting. Creating space for your trauma may be difficult to learn, but trying to defeat it is near impossible.

At Acuity Counseling it is especially important to us that you feel seen and heard in a safe space. Our focus is on your future success, and we are here to help you learn the coping skills you need to navigate any future situation.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for Trauma

In many ways, emotional trauma is similar to physical trauma (e.g. a broken bone). In fact, we can see the change in our brains when looking at a brain scan before and after a traumatic event. Trauma can become neurologically ingrained in your brain. EMDR is based on this fact, and used primarily for severe traumas.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) involves a visual stimulation of a client’s eyes. The client is asked to remember and work through their trauma while experiencing the visual stimulation. This method helps to desensitize traumatic memories.

EMDR allows traumatic memories to be dealt with in a therapeutic environment and accelerates our relearning and coping process. Both EMDR and Behavioral therapies encourage developing a deeper understanding and processing of the trauma, which helps to desensitize clients to their traumatic memory and adjust their behavior accordingly.

Regardless of what technique is best to treat your specific trauma, your past experiences can be reconciled with your daily life. Whether you still have daily flashbacks to your trauma or just feel that a past event still is affecting your life today, our therapists are trained to help. We are here to create a safe therapeutic space, and help you move towards a brighter future.

Frequently Asked Questions for Trauma Counseling and Therapy

My trauma was so long ago. Is it too late to do anything about it?

No, it’s never too late to address your trauma. There are a lot of reasons why someone may come to therapy years after their traumatic event, but the same therapeutic strategies apply when that time comes. For some, after time has passed, the distance between them and the event is large enough for them to begin dealing with it more in a comfortable way.

I’ve blocked out my abuse/can’t remember it. I won’t be able to process the trauma, right?

If you have blocked out your memory, but still suffer from the effects of it, dealing with the root cause is an important step. It’ll be okay when you are ready to bring closure to the experience, we will be there with you. Even if you can’t remember the actual trauma, EMDR can still be effective. In one example, there was a client dealing with a childhood memory in which they didn’t experience any visuals or sounds, but even here there was still a story to be dealt with. As long as you can connect with the emotions of the situation, you can process the event and move on.

Source: https://consults.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/expert-answers-on-e-m-d-r/

Which therapist is right for me?

Let us help you find the right therapist. Many of our therapists specialize in anxiety, so view our profiles online to learn more about specific counselors specializing in anxiety treatment or speak with our Client Care Coordinator, who can help you with a personalized match to the right therapist for your needs. 

Finding the RIGHT therapist is the most important piece of reaching your goals.

How long does Trauma Therapy take?

Counseling works best within the framework of a safe and trusted therapeutic alliance. Since it takes time to build this relationship with your therapist, we recommend committing to weekly sessions for at least 8 weeks. Research shows that consistency adds to the positive outcomes of therapy. Once you reach your 8-week goal, you and your therapist can discuss a frequency of sessions that will support your continued success.

I’ve never done therapy before...What can I expect in my sessions?

The unknown of anything new can make it scary. Especially if you’ve never been to counseling before. Let us show you the “roadmap” so you know what to expect:

1st Session:
This first meeting is an introduction for both you and your counselor. Your therapist will explain the therapy process and go over the specifics of informed consent. From there, your therapist will gather additional information about your history, current circumstances, as well as struggles and personal strengths, which will help them to define a treatment plan that aligns with your goals. 

This is also the chance for you to learn more about your therapist. We encourage you to ask questions and get to know them; the relationship you build with your therapist will be the most important part of your work together. 

2nd Session and Future sessions:
In your weekly sessions, you and your therapist will use evidenced based therapies such as CBT, Mindfulness or ACT, to help you address your symptoms of worry, stress and anxiety. For anxiety rooted in trauma, or related to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), your therapist may recommend treatment with EMDR.

Closing Sessions:
Our goal is for you to find relief from your anxiety and be ready to “graduate” from therapy. In the last few sessions with your therapist, you will review your initial goals, the progress you have made, and solidify your new skills for managing anxiety in your life. At your last meeting together, you’ll have the time for the meaningful goodbye with your therapist.

How much does Counseling cost?

We strive to create access to high quality mental healthcare for everyone. Our therapists’ rates vary by experience and specialized training. We will make every effort to find the right therapist for you. 

Acuity Counseling also accepts health insurance and offers both in-network and out-of-network coverage. 

We are in-network partners with: 

Aetna

Cigna

First Choice

Premera Blue Cross

* We do not participate in EAP plans

Why don’t you only use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

While we use CBT as an aspect of our therapeutic approaches, we know that every individual is different. No one responds to any method perfectly, so by employing many techniques we are able to provide the most personalized support. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is talked about in relation to mental health so often because it has a large body of research behind it and is easy to replicate across all cases. This is why you may hear it called “evidence based,” which it certainly is. However, we use other evidence based therapies in conjunction with CBT in our therapies.

How can I evaluate whether therapy is working?

Acuity is unique because we use research backed questionnaires to assess your mood, goals and progress. From time to time we may share with you your progress on these reports, “you report being angry 30% less days than when you started therapy,” and then ask what your goals for the future may be. We have found that by having clients set their own goals and following up regularly we can achieve better results.

If I go to Acuity for help, does it mean there is something wrong with me?

No. We try to break this stigma constantly.

Many people come to Acuity just to gain a better perspective of themselves and work on some issues that they are having in their daily life. There aren’t many places for people to vent and seek honest help, so we provide that space for people as well as psychologically informed advice to better cope with life’s persistent problems. Even if you have a mental health diagnosis there is nothing wrong with you. We all experience and react to the world in different ways, it’s hard to argue that there is anything wrong with that.

Is medication used in conjunction with your therapy?

Some conditions for some people are best treated with the help of medication. If we find it necessary after our initial assessments, we will discuss types of medication, your comfort with it, and the pros and cons of medication with you. If you so choose, we can refer you to the appropriate psychopharmacologist in the area. If you are already on medication, we will coordinate treatment with your primary provider.

How long does therapy take?

Counseling works best within the framework of a safe and trusted therapeutic alliance. Since it takes time to build this relationship with your therapist, we recommend committing to weekly sessions for at least 8 weeks. Research shows that consistency adds to the positive outcomes of therapy. Once you reach your 8-week goal, you and your therapist can discuss a frequency of sessions that will support your continued success.

Break-free and begin your journey to

Your best
YOU.

There is a future life where trauma does not control your day. Imagine yourself feeling calm, confident and ready to handle new situations with ease. The tools to living the life you have always envisioned are here, at your fingertips.

Acuity Counseling can help.

 

Schedule your therapy session online

Reach out directly to our Client Care Coordinator for questions, matching, and scheduling:

Online Counseling

Our services are also available online through Zoom. Telehealth/Online counseling gives you the opportunity to explore your challenges in life without complicating your daily schedule.

Learn Tips for Managing Anxiety

Mindcology Blog

Read about how anxiety and it’s symptoms can impact every area of life. From recognizing the signs of anxiety, tips and tricks for lowering Social Anxiety and even more information on how to get help for severe anxiety symptoms such as OCD.

The information you need is at your fingertips with these resources written by our expert team of therapists.

GET STARTED

If you have questions and would like to talk about any of our counseling services, please reach out for a complimentary phone consultation or send us an email.

First Session Within 72 Hours of Calling

We book you an appointment within 24 hours of contacting us (usually less) and make sure your first appointment is soon after.

Seattle: 206-922-2376

Bellevue: 425-549-3242

Bothell/Woodinville: 206-910-9476

info@acuitycounseling.net

for Billing questions call:
206-910-9476

 

SCHEDULING

Use our Online Scheduling Tool or call our office to schedule your appointment, or for any changes regarding scheduling.

Schedule by phone: 206-910-9476

INSURANCE

Counseling services are often covered in full or in part by your health insurance company. Acuity Counseling proudly accepts most major health insurance plans.

Aetna

First Choice

HMA

Meritain

Cigna

GEHA

Sound Health & Wellness

We do not participate
in EAP Plans

Acuity Counseling Locations

Seattle

Bellevue

Bothell/Woodinville

BELLEVUE, WA
Cascade Place II
12729 Northup Way, Suite 6
Bellevue WA 98005
(206) 910-9476

SEATTLE, WA
Plaza 600 Building
600 Stewart St, Suite 1228
Seattle WA 98101
(206) 910-9476

BOTHELL/WOODINVILLE
Falcon View
12900 NE 180th St, Suite 160
Bothell, WA 98011
(206) 910-9476

Pin It on Pinterest