Takeaway: Difficult life experiences can leave us feeling stuck in old patterns, negative thoughts, uncomfortable physical sensations, and overwhelming emotions. However, it is possible to find a path forward. Our trauma therapists in Santa Clara take a holistic, integrative approach to help you heal.
We believe that we have all experienced trauma. Sometimes, we are left with painful memories, difficulty sleeping, a stressful relationship with food, or a body that struggles to feel calm. Sometimes relationships can feel difficult, both with others and with ourselves. Other times, we shut down and disengage from relationships and many of life’s challenges. If you relate to any of this, however big or small, you are not alone.
After reading this article, we hope that you feel more informed about how trauma affects us and how trauma-informed mental health services could benefit you. We’ll walk you through a few important things to consider so that you can find your path forward to resolving relationship issues with others, yourself, and relief from unwanted symptoms.
Does this sound like you?
If you struggle with some of the following issues/symptoms, you might benefit from trauma-informed therapy:
- Difficulty sleeping (both quality and quantity of sleep) and/or nightmares
- History of eating disorders or a difficult relationship with food
- Depression or anxiety
- Ever been diagnosed with PTSD
- Chronic self-esteem issues or pervasive negative self-talk
- Unexplainable physical health symptoms
- Relationship issues
- Reliance on substances
Our bodies become the keepers of our past experiences and make it hard to find healing if we don’t address our physiological experience. The ongoing stress and trauma we experience gets stuck inside and we get caught in patterns that no longer serve us. Whether we experienced traumatic events or simply are familiar with chaos, our past has a way of finding us again and influencing our choices, feelings, and outlooks. Sometimes, we’ve become so accustomed to this stuckness that we feel it’s normal or we’re inherently broken.
If so, you may be affected by trauma.
Our world today leaves very few of us unaffected by trauma or stress. It can often feel like we are destined to live in the stuckness of it all. Sometimes it can even feel like you’re the only one who could feel this stuck or ‘not have it all together.’
We believe that it doesn’t have to be this way. Stuckness can be powerful, but in a safe environment with licensed therapists who are trauma-informed, we’ve seen hope, resiliency, education, and trust be even more powerful.
Keep reading to understand more about trauma and PTSD and how they impact us.
We all know what it’s like to experience something difficult. However, trauma isn’t what happens to us – it’s the imprint it leaves on us.
Sometimes trauma happens to us in the form of an event, such as a car accident, having your house broken into, an assault, or another singular event that leaves us feeling unsafe or threatened. Other times, trauma happens when it’s the cumulative, negative or stressful impacts of the environment we’ve lived in (sometimes referred to as complex trauma, or relational/developmental trauma) that can usually be attributed to abuse, enmeshment, abandonment, or emotional/physical neglect. Though it’s not an official diagnosis (yet), the effects of complex, developmental or relational trauma are pervasive and can significantly impair our ability to have healthy relationships, put us at risk for other mental health issues, and affect our self-esteem.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD for short, is a set of symptoms that people can experience after they’ve gone through something scary, threatening, dangerous, or even witnessed something shocking or scary. For most of us, when we go through or witness something shocking or dangerous, our body does exactly what it should do and activates our fight-flight-freeze response in order to try and keep us safe. This is normal and a part of a healthy, functioning nervous system and body. People can be diagnosed with PTSD when these activating responses don’t recover after a certain period of time and their body stays stuck in the fight-flight-freeze response even long after the danger or shocking situation has passed.
Some symptoms of PTSD include:
- Flashbacks of the traumatic event and associated physical sensations such as racing heart, sweating, agitation
- Recurring nightmares
- Distressing or upsetting thoughts related to the event
- Physiological signs of stress
- Avoiding places, objects, situations that remind you of the event
- Avoiding feelings and thoughts associated with the event
- Difficulty concentrating, feeling on edge, restless
- Engaging in risky behavior
- Intense feelings of blame towards self or the world
- Desire to isolate
- Difficulty feeling joy, happiness, satisfaction
It takes courage to address these symptoms and the difficulties you’ve experienced. We believe there is hope and a path forward for treatment.
Our trauma therapists in Santa Clara can help you find peace.
We know it can sometimes feel like no one gets it and you’re destined to feel stuck and keep repeating the same patterns that aren’t working for you. We want you to know that we believe there’s a way through this. Our Santa Clara therapists are here to walk alongside you and guide you through the therapeutic process to find hope for the future and relief from the unwanted symptoms and pain.
Here at Cura Integrative Health, we believe in a holistic and integrative approach to treating your mental health concerns and helping people live healthier lives. We take a mind, body, and soul approach to treating trauma. Stress and trauma affect our whole being, and it’s time to treatment that takes this into account. We utilize psychotherapy and neuroscience-backed approaches to get to the roots of your behavioral health concerns.
We believe that we have all experienced trauma in one way or another and that it is an overlooked factor in issues our world faces. We see the impacts of stress and trauma every day in our offices and are passionate about helping people heal.
Cura Integrative Health provides individual therapy in Santa Clara County. We know how frustrating it can be to feel you’ve tried everything and haven’t found the help you’re looking for. We have extensive experience in understanding and treating trauma from a client centered treatment approach.
Our approach to trauma therapy in Santa Clara
Cura Integrative Health incorporates both psychodynamic psychotherapy and neuroscience-backed interventions for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder, any mood disorder, relationship issues, self esteem issues, life transitions, anger management, and other behavioral health concerns. Here’s a brief description of the modalities we use:
A trauma-informed, depth-oriented approach that helps to integrate your unconscious experiences into your consciousness.
A non-invasive form of biofeedback that encourages more efficient brain wave functioning.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Educational and experiential approach to help you reduce stress levels.
Heart Rate Variability Training
A biofeedback approach that helps to synchronize breathing and heart rate patterns for more effective physiological functioning.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Dialectical behavioral therapy is an approach used to help create new emotional patterns and habits to help you navigate stress and relationships more easily.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
A psychotherapeutic approach that focuses on modifying thinking and behavioral patterns to help live healthier lives.
Who our mental health services are for
The services we offer at Cura Integrative Health are for those with mental health concerns seeking out individual therapy in Santa Clara County. Here are some of the populations we work with:
We specialize in working with adults and young adults, though we do have clinicians on staff who work with minor patients.
Those looking for relief
If you’ve tried everything and feel as if you still don’t have the right coping skills, treatment plan, or healing that you’re looking for, we think this might be the place for you.
We believe that new parents are an underserved population who deserve better care and understanding. Depression and anxiety are common in those of us who are newly caring for a little one (or more than one) and we aim to be a resource for both the laughs and the tears you might be experiencing.
If you’ve experienced trauma/PTSD
Trauma and PTSD are often misunderstood experiences in life. At Cura Integrative Health, we specialize in working with those of us who’ve experienced trauma and/or been diagnosed with PTSD.
Benefits of trauma therapy
There are many benefits to participating in trauma-informed therapy. Here are some of the most well-known benefits:
- Emotional Regulation: Trauma can lead to us feeling dysregulated and disconnected from our body and its experiences. This makes it difficult for us to manage our emotions, thoughts, and bodies. Therapy to address trauma helps us develop healthy coping mechanisms to regulate emotions effectively and help us feel more calm and focused.
- More Effective Coping Skills: Trauma therapy helps us implement practical coping skills so we can navigate and handle stress, anxiety, and other difficult feelings more effectively.
- Increased Self-Awareness: One aspect of trauma therapy is that is that it creates space for us to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, our experiences, emotions, and patterns.
- Improved Relationships: The impacts of trauma and chronic stress tend to strain our personal relationships in life. Through therapy, we can learn healthier ways to communicate and build stronger, more meaningful connections with others.
- Increased Sense of Trust: Trauma therapy aims to provide a secure and supportive environment. When we feel safe and secure, it helps to re-establish a sense of trust in ourselves and others. This can help us feel more empowered in our lives.
- Reduced Unwanted Physical Symptoms: The impacts of trauma and chronic stress often manifest physically. These symptoms can include headaches, digestive issues, and chronic pain. By addressing the psychological aspects of trauma, therapy can, in parallel, help to alleviate some of these physical symptoms.
- Empowerment and Resilience: As individuals work through their trauma in therapy, they often develop a sense of empowerment and resilience. This newfound strength can help them navigate future challenges with greater confidence.
It is important to state that trauma therapy is an individualized process, and the benefits experienced may vary. The effectiveness of trauma therapy depends on various factors, including the nature of the trauma, the individual’s willingness to engage in therapy, and the therapeutic approach used by the marriage and family therapist or clinical social worker.
FAQs about working with a trauma therapist in Santa Clara, CA
You probably still have some questions about working with a trauma therapist in Santa Clara, CA. Below, we address some other common questions.
We also encourage you to reach out to us at Cura Integrative Health so we can answer your questions in a more individualized and specific way. Click here to go to our website and schedule an introductory call with us.
How do I know if I need trauma therapy?
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms on an ongoing basis, you might benefit from trauma therapy.
- Persistent Distress: If you find yourself regularly feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or sad due to past experiences
- Intrusive Memories, Flashbacks, or Nightmares: Persistent and intrusive memories, flashbacks or nightmares that are distressing and disruptive to daily life
- Avoidance of Triggers: If you go to great lengths to avoid situations, places, or people that remind you of certain things
- Emotional Numbing: Feeling emotionally detached, numb, or disconnected from others or yourself
- Hyperarousal: Experiencing heightened levels of anxiety, irritability, or being easily startled
- Substance Abuse: Engaging in excessive alcohol or drug use as a way to cope
- Chronic Physical Symptoms: Unexplained physical symptoms, such as headaches or gastrointestinal issues that your doctors can’t explain or find a diagnosis for
- Difficulty in Relationships: Struggling with trust, intimacy, communication, or maintaining healthy relationships
- Feeling Isolated: If you feel isolated or have difficulty talking to others about your experiences
- Impact on Daily Functioning: Your ability to function in daily life, work, or school is routinely disrupted or difficult
- Recurrent Negative Thoughts: Constantly experiencing negative thoughts about yourself, others, or the world
If none of these resonate with you or sound quite right but you think you still might benefit from trauma therapy, we still encourage you to reach out. Everyone’s experience of trauma/chronic stress is unique.
What therapy is best for severe trauma?
The best kind of therapy for severe trauma is contingent upon a number of different factors. While a thorough assessment is needed to know what the best approach might be for an individual experiencing the impacts of severe trauma and any other related mental health condition, here are some commonly used approaches.
- Neurofeedback: Neurofeedback helps to re-regulate the nervous system and target specific brain regions impacted by trauma to help reduce hyperarousal, increase attention and focus, and help manage difficult emotions.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is often used for individuals who have experienced severe trauma and struggle with emotional regulation and interpersonal difficulties. It focuses on skills training, mindfulness, and validation.
- Somatic Experiencing (SE): SE is a body-centered therapy that emphasizes the physical sensations associated with trauma. It aims to release and regulate stored trauma energy in the body.
- Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: This therapy combines talk therapy with body-based techniques to address trauma-related somatic symptoms and help individuals process and release trauma held in the body.
- Group Therapy: Group therapy can be beneficial for individuals with severe trauma, as it provides a safe and supportive environment to share experiences, gain perspective, and connect with others who have faced similar challenges.
It’s important to remember that therapy is not a one-size-fits-all approach. One of the most significant factors in the effectiveness of any kind of therapy is the quality of the relationship between patient and therapist.
At Cura Integrative Health, we believe in an integrative approach to incorporate your mind, body, and soul to address healing from the inside-out. That’s why we incorporate a variety of approaches to help you achieve your goals. We value our assessment process and your feedback to help create a treatment plan that will work best for you.
What is the difference between a therapist and a trauma therapist?
You might be wondering what the difference is between a general therapist and a trauma therapist. The primary difference lies in each of their areas of specialization and expertise. Let’s explore the distinctions.
A general therapist is a mental health professional that has training is a wide range of psychological and emotional issues. They work with clients who present with various concerns and either use a wide variety of therapeutic modalities, or specialize in one or two specific therapeutic modalities.
A trauma therapist is a mental health professional who has received additional training and expertise in working with individuals who are being negatively impacted by the impacts of trauma. They are ideally well-versed in trauma-focused techniques and modalities continue to receive ongoing training on issues realted to trauma therapy and treatment.
All of our clinicians at Cura Integrative have received training in trauma-related psychotherapy treatment. We also have clinicians on staff who are certified to provide Neurofeedback in addition to specializing in trauma-focused therapy. Reach out to us to learn more about our credentials and approach.
Our Santa Clara trauma therapists can help you live a fuller, more meaningful life.
Ultimately, therapy is a collaborative and supportive process that can empower you to lead a more meaningful, balanced, and fulfilling life and help you recover from traumatic or unwanted experiences/chronic stress. It provides a space for personal growth, healing, and self-discovery, helping you make positive changes to live life to its fullest potential.
Our goal at Cura Integrative Health is to provide you with a path forward. Our trained, trauma-informed clinicians work with you to help you get unstuck, relive unwanted symptoms and change harmful patterns, and move forward. We work to address your whole being in order to help promote long-lasting healing and relief.
If any part of this resonates with you or if you are simply curious, we encourage you to reach out to us to schedule an initial, free 15 minute consultation call or video to begin the process.