How I work and what I work well with
Trauma and Complex PTSD
Most people think of trauma as big events with big impacts. And while this is true, trauma also exists on a spectrum that ranges from stubbing your toe, to watching everyone you love die in front of you. There is so much context to what our body interprets as trauma and how trauma enters into our bodies and minds. Trauma gets held in our bodies and minds until it is processed and released. Many of us find those unaddressed emotions and trauma symptoms it spilling out into our every day lives without warning and often in ways we don't like.
Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) has been building attention and awareness in the past few years, but it is still not well understood considering how common it is. Everyone experiences trauma on some level and sometimes we have just the right conditions to process and work through the trauma we experience. For example, stubbing your toe is a trauma (a small one), being able to yell "ouch!" and tell someone that your toe hurts (be witnessed by someone), often is enough to process that small trauma. When we experience multiple traumas, don't have the right conditions to process trauma, experience trauma when we are young, or the trauma is related to caregivers, the trauma can become complex. When the trauma is complex, the symptoms are complex and don't look like traditional PTSD.
Complex PTSD symptoms can look like a lot of different things. Substance abuse, ADD, ADHD, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Depression, Dissociative Disorders, dysfunctional relationships, codependency and even Personality Disorders can often be symptoms of Complex PTSD. We learn ways of coping with complex trauma that help us survive, but eventually cause us harm. When we seek out help in changing the things that helped us cope, we can be judged, re-traumatized and misunderstood. Treating the symptoms and coping methods does not address the underlying trauma and will leave those with CPTSD feeling lacking. Addressing the ways our brain and bodies have been shaped and reinforced due to the trauma we experienced creates long-lasting change, relief and healing.
There are many modalities for treating trauma that work very well, EMDR and AEDP being among them. Having an understanding of the nervous system and the ways that trauma affects the body is crucial to treating the trauma at its' roots within our bodies. I help my clients build a relationship with their bodies and internal systems to better understand the signals they are getting and what they need to heal.
As a queer, non-binary person, I know there are just not enough places in the world that centralize minority voices and value the comfort and safety in prioritizing marginalized populations above all else. As there are enough spaces pandering to patriarchy, heteronormativity, cisgenderism, and xenophobia, I would like to cater to the other side. Yes, I am happy to work with people who don’t identify within the LGBTQIA+ community, but I aim to serve queers and minority populations, first and foremost. Unlearning beliefs and patterns from our society is a life-long process and I am here to unlearn with you - and because of this, I welcome and invite others to call me on areas I may still be working on.
There are issues specific to LGBTQIA+ populations not because we are "broken" or "disordered,” but because our racist, patriarchal, xenophobic society doles out micro-aggressions that disrupt our nervous systems and make us question our own validity. Having to constantly deal with and be worried about oppression, erasure, and triggers has an impact upon us, and that toll often doesn't make it back to the ignorant folks doling it out. Understanding our societal systems and the ways they interact with our internal systems is vital to working with all people, but especially those impacted by oppression.
As a systems and relationship therapist, my approach to working with relationships focuses on building understanding around all the parts in the system. Yes, communication is important. Also, why we communicate the ways we do and the systems contributing to our communication styles are also important. I use Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) techniques, Somatic and attachment modalities to help people connect in ways that regulate their bodies and build muscle memory around healthy connection and communication. In using these techniques and modalities, my clients find it easier to have hard conversations on their own and feel proud of the ways they can repair and reconnect when conflict arises.
I am sex-positive, trained in working with kink and BDSM relationships, and have experience working with all sorts of creative relationships looking to grow and improve upon themselves.
Anxiety and Depression
Our brains and bodies work together to send signals that allow us to feel and decide what to do with our feelings. When they are functioning properly, these systems are very helpful in guiding us to avoid danger, stay connected, and live fulfilling lives. However, more often than not, these systems can get their wires crossed - meaning we all have the depression and anxiety systems within us. Our bodies can be triggered into an anxious state, even when there is no real danger in front of us, or we can feel sad but aren't sure why.
It's hard to understand the complexities of our internal world when we are exploring alone. When working with depression and anxiety, I help my clients understand the signals their bodies are sending them, why they are signaling, and how they can work with their brains and bodies to shift into different moods and feelings.