Trauma Therapist Philadelphia
Discover Healing and Hope with Trauma Therapy at The Therapy Gal—your trusted partner for personalized healing and growth.
How do I know if I need trauma therapy?
You’re at work. Everything is totally fine but a thought pops into your head from that shadow that’s been following you around.
Your mind brings you back. Your stomach drops. Your chest tightens.
You’ve been here before, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep coming back…
If this sounds like you…
You might be part of the 70% of adults in the U.S. who have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives, and perhaps a part of the 5% of adults that have difficult psychological symptoms from their traumatic event. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are millions of people that have experienced severe reactions to a traumatic event.
Don’t let your trauma make you feel lonely
Statistics indicate that traumatic experiences are much more common than we think, and it has become more normalized to seek treatment for the various levels of trauma. Symptoms vary from person to person so it’s important to understand how trauma is affecting YOU.
One of the more unusual aspects of trauma is it can sometimes hide in plain sight. Meaning, even if you don’t recognize an event as being traumatic, your body’s reaction might reveal something different by reacting in physical ways to certain stimuli (e.g., getting a stomach ache every time you’re expected to go into a car months after getting into an accident).
A trauma therapist can help identify your type of trauma.
Trauma falls into three distinct types: acute, chronic, or complex.
Acute trauma is when we experience a one-time stressful event such as a car accident.
Chronic trauma is caused by ongoing exposure to distress, such as abuse, discrimination, neglect, or domestic violence.
Complex trauma gets its name because it describes a complex accumulation of traumatic events.
What’s going on in our heads when we experience trauma?
The Hippocampus: this part of the brain, which is in charge of our emotion and memory, shrinks in response to a traumatic event.
The Amygdala: The amygdala becomes hyperactive and causes more fear in response to a traumatic event.
The Anterior Cingulate: This part of the brain serves the function for planning and self-development, but decreases in function due to trauma.
By understanding trauma’s effect on the brain, we are more equipped in understanding our symptoms and healing these parts of our brain.
Trauma and the brain: Has trauma been impacting your thoughts?
When we experience trauma, our brain might perceive present or future experiences under the lens of danger. This response can interfere with our ability to think clearly and logically, making it difficult to focus or make decisions.
The cognitive symptoms of trauma can be subtle, but they can have a significant impact on our daily lives. Here are some of the most common cognitive symptoms of trauma:
- Memory difficulties: experiencing challenges in recalling or retaining information.
- Attention problems: having difficulty staying focused or paying attention to tasks or activities.
- Impaired ability to plan for the future: struggling to make long-term goals or plans for the future.
- Challenges with problem-solving: finding it difficult to solve problems or make decisions effectively.
A trauma therapist can help with these physical symptoms!
Trauma not only affects our cognitive abilities but also our physical health. When we experience symptoms associated with our trauma, our body’s natural defense system jumps in and tries to attack these unwanted thoughts. These symptoms can be unpleasant or even painful, and can interfere with our ability to carry out daily activities or enjoy our lives to the fullest.
Here are some of the most common physical symptoms of trauma:
- Vivid re-experiencing of the trauma: experiencing intense and realistic flashbacks that make it feel like the traumatic event is happening in the present moment.
- Nightmares: experiencing disturbing and vivid dreams related to the trauma that can be difficult to forget.
- Pain, sweating, nausea, or trembling: experiencing physical sensations that can be triggered by reminders of the trauma or may occur spontaneously, and can be difficult to control.
Take back control of your emotional wellbeing
Trauma can also take hold of our emotional state. Let’s use Joel from the HBO show The Last of Us as an example. The trauma of losing his daughter causes him to have frequent flashbacks about the times in which she was around. His inability to get close to others, and issues with empathy become coping mechanisms for him to survive.
Here are some common emotional symptoms of trauma:
- Fearful emotions: experiencing strong feelings of fear or apprehension that may be related to the traumatic event or other triggers.
- Excessive worry or anxiety: experiencing persistent and intense worry or anxiety, often related to the trauma or its aftermath.
- Anger: experiencing intense and sometimes uncontrollable feelings of anger or irritability, which may be directed towards oneself or others.
- Depression or hopelessness: feeling sad, empty, or hopeless, and losing interest in activities that used to be enjoyable.
- Feelings of guilt or shame: experiencing feelings of guilt or shame related to the traumatic event or its aftermath, which can lead to self-blame or self-criticism.
- Dissociation: feeling disconnected or detached from oneself, one’s surroundings, or one’s emotions, as if in a daze or fog.
- Confusion or agitation: feeling disoriented, confused, or agitated, which may be related to the trauma or its aftermath, or may be a result of anxiety or stress.
Do you feel unheard when it comes to the topic of your trauma?
Oftentimes, our traumas get downplayed by those around us. It’s not uncommon for those of us with trauma to hear things like, “Don’t be such a baby…that same thing happened to me and I’m fine”.
The fact of the matter is trauma impacts each person in a unique way. An event may be traumatic for you, but at the same time, it might not yield a traumatic response in someone else.
For example, let’s say two siblings get into a car accident. Obviously this can be a terrifying experience but it might impact the two parties in different ways. Sibling #1 might recover from the physical injuries sustained and then never really think about it again while sibling #2 might suffer lasting psychological consequences for years to come, also known as PTSD.
Find a PTSD Therapist in Philadelphia, PA, NJ, and Online
You may be more familiar with the term PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Oftentimes people associate PTSD with soldiers returning home from war. While that is certainly an example of PTSD, it is now a widely discovered diagnosis for many individuals experiencing a traumatic event.
PTSD is a mental health diagnosis that can develop after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. The emotional, physical and mental distress that PTSD can cause you is extraordinarily painful.
There are several evidence-based PTSD treatments that are regularly applied to those struggling. Regular talk therapy, or psychotherapy, can be a useful tool in treating PTSD.
Through psychotherapy, your therapist may use a modality such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) in order to change negative thought patterns surrounding your symptoms. Just a heads up, it is possible to do trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy online!
A trained therapist may also use EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing in order to help reprocess traumatic memories through guided eye movements or other types of bilateral stimulation on the body.
Is EMDR online therapy the answer?
EMDR is not only used for PTSD, but also any other category of trauma. If you choose to see a therapist for EMDR, the course of your therapy will likely look a bit different than regular talk therapy because it involves the use of eye movement and other types of bilateral stimulation (stimulation of both sides of the brain). The idea here is to awaken the entire brain (both left and right) through things like butterfly tapping, sounds, or tappers in order to help you process unresolved memories that may be difficult to access.
Your therapist will guide through the eight phases of EMDR: History taking, client preparation, assessment, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure and reevaluation of treatment.
Through bilateral stimulation, whether self-induced or prompted by your therapist, you will be able to experience an expedited version of trauma recovery. The goal of EMDR is to help you process the traumatic memory in a controlled setting so that it becomes less distressing, and has less of an impact on your daily life. Once finished, it will be up to you whether you would like to continue reprocessing a new memory, or if you would prefer to continue with regular talk-therapy.
Find a Trauma Therapist in Philadelphia, PA, NJ, and Online
Therapy can be an incredibly useful tool for healing trauma. During your first session, your therapist will go through your clinical information, extensive history taking, and explore your presenting issues. Because trauma can be extremely hard to talk about and process, we make sure to not jump into any triggering or painful details right off the bat. It is very important for us to know that you are feeling safe and comfortable.
Rewriting your past might be impossible, but focusing on the narrative of your present and future is something we want to work through with you. Using psychoeducation, your therapist will teach you how to better regulate your emotions, find useful coping skills, and help you create boundaries that will fit your needs.
The trauma specialists at The Therapy Gal are here to help!
Unpacking your pain promotes true healing that involves unraveling and understanding what hurts. In therapy for trauma, you will have the opportunity to explore your experience, triggers, and symptoms in a comfortable and safe environment. The therapists at The Therapy Gal will help with listening and guiding the conversation with respect and compassion, highlighting the missing links and broadening your perspective.
Your therapist is trauma-informed and ready to begin this journey with you. While some of our clinicians are EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) trained, all of our therapists are trauma-informed and equipped in helping you through this journey.
Trauma is so complex, and if it goes unresolved, it’s likely to accumulate more problems over time. By committing to trauma therapy at The Therapy Gal, you can feel empowered to take back your life, and allow yourself to experience your life as it once was prior to the traumatic event.
Frequently Asked Questions about Therapy for Trauma
What is EMDR online therapy?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a type of psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR individuals can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.
Can a trauma therapist actually help me heal from trauma?
Short answer is yes, longer answer is yes, there is a good chance that therapy as well as the effort we put into rebuilding your mindset, can improve your relationship to your trauma. Though you cannot rewrite the past, you can focus on moving forward and healing those wounded parts.
What if trauma therapy actually makes me feel worse?
It’s possible that the initial stages of trauma therapy will make you feel worse. Like we mentioned before, everyone experiences trauma differently, and it’s hard to know for sure. But even if it does make you feel worse, or intensify emotions around your trauma, we will always make sure to take it step by step and make sure you are feeling as comfortable as possible along the way. It’s like putting salt to a wound, it might initially sting, but then it continues to heal.
What kind of therapy is best for trauma treatment?
As mentioned above, we make sure to tailor each treatment to the individual. This means that some types of therapies would be more effective than others depending on you as the individual receiving treatment. At The Therapy Gal, we believe both trauma focused CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) are best for treating trauma. While CBT focuses on changing negative thought patterns that might be contributing to the symptom, EMDR uses rapid eye movements to help process traumatic memories quicker.
Can a trauma therapist help me fully recover from my trauma?
Yes, it is possible! However, the process is complex and may vary depending on your specific experience and circumstance. It is also important to note that recovery does not necessarily mean that you will completely forget about or overcome your trauma. Rather, it means you are able to live your life without the same level of distress and impairment as you’ve experienced before.
How can I prevent future traumatic experiences from impacting me?
Trauma Therapy! And also building resilience, seeking support, practicing self-care, and setting healthy boundaries. Your trauma therapist will help you prepare for an occasion like this through the variety of our therapeutic tools.
Will we be focusing exclusively on my trauma during therapy, or will we also address other areas of my life?
We will definitely be covering more than just your trauma. We recognize how challenging therapy can be and we do not want you to feel like you are diving head first. We first take our time to get to know you, understand your upbringing, family system, support systems, etc. and then we slowly address your trauma. We will always go at a pace that feels comfortable for you.
Do you have trauma therapists in Philadelphia?
Yes! Our office is located in center city at 255 S 17th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
Do you have trauma therapists in NJ?
Yes! We have trauma therapists who can work with you if you live in New Jersey- that can see you online.
Do you offer online trauma therapy?
Yes! We offer online trauma therapy as long as you live in PA, CO or NJ.