Trauma can be defined as exposure to a significant life event where one believes their life or the life of another is in danger. This can be a single episode such as an accident, multiple episode events such as abuse or assaults, or chronic exposure to trauma, such as the regular witnessing of death by first responders or law enforcement. About 7-8% of adults will meet the criteria for diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at some point in their life. Around 8 million adults will have PTSD at any one time. These statistics only represent a small portion of the population that meets the criteria for PTSD.
Traumatic stress can also be defined as a highly stressful emotional response to a negative experience, such as a natural disaster, school violence, parental loss or sexual exploitation. More than 2 out of 3 youth have experienced at least 1 traumatic event by the time they are 16 years old. Exposure to trauma is more prevalent than most people are aware. Many people might minimize their exposure, maybe citing abuse as discipline or normalizing their parents’ alcohol use in response to stress. The process of acknowledging trauma in one’s history is a complex one and can be done within the safety of therapy appropriately.
Exploring the impact of trauma can be an important step to better physical and mental wellness. According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, the more exposure to adverse events, such as emotional or physical abuse or substance use by a parent during childhood, the more likely an adult will struggle with mental health issues and medical health concerns. Some of these include diabetes, obesity, heart disease and COPD as well as anxiety, depression or drinking too much. Engaging in therapy as an adult is an effective way to reduce the impact of these experiences in life.
Appropriate trauma treatment does not always include “talk-therapy.” Processing can be done though expressive therapy, distress tolerance building, or other evidenced-based techniques by a trained therapist. Angie has worked in the field of behavioral health across the continuum of treatment including outpatient and inpatient settings and supported the needs of client's with a trauma history. She is comfortable supporting clients in managing their complex trauma and potentially self-destructive behaviors in response to trauma exposure, such as self-injury, addiction and compulsions. Angie is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) and trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), an evidenced based treatment for trauma. She incorporates an integrative treatment approach in her work with clients in the office and via telehealth.
EMDR is a clinical approach focusing on alleviating current concerns that may be the presenting reason for therapy. It uses techniques to resolve past inter-connected issues and integrate treatment into addressing enhanced functioning in the present. Essentially is uses one foot in the present and one foot in the past to enhance current and future functioning. EMDR is based on pathways in the brain to process negative areas of concern and update positive more adaptive ways of functioning. It can be done with specific areas of concerns, such as processing a traumatic accident or more wide-scale functioning issues, such as the impact of chronic exposure to abuse and violence.
EMDR is an evidenced based treatment approach to work through negative core beliefs and develop more positive and productive views of one’s self and the world. In EMDR therapy Angie spends a lot of time with clients to help build up their resources and toolbox to enhance self-soothing.
Angie is a member of EMDR International Association (EMDRIA), a professional organization to promote the highest standards of ethical integrity in EMDR treatment. EMDRIA provides a clear frame of reference for EMDR treatment for consistency and guidance on best practices. EMDRIA defines EMDR as an evidence-based, clinician led, psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Angie to discuss therapy and her specific approach to treating trauma from an integrative therapy perspective, please complete a Contact Us form or give her a call at (571) 401-8474.