Why do Past Traumas Affect Me Now?
Trauma can be anything that disturbs or causes distress in one’s life. Just as breaking one’s arm is physical trauma, humans experience emotional trauma from many different experiences. These experiences could include loss, relationship hurts, and death of a loved one, emotional abuse, loneliness, violence, or addiction, to name a few.
Our belief is no trauma is too small. What may seem insignificant to one, could cause traumatic emotional pain to another, for every person is different. Many people ignore emotional wounds, hoping they will disappear. Sadly this does not happen, and those wounds arise influencing many parts of one’s life, often unaware. Addictions may begin as an attempt to avoid the pain or memories of trauma. If and how one chooses to deal with emotional hurts will influence one’s holistic health, not just emotional health.
Signs of unresolved trauma may include anxiety, depression, panic attacks, hyperactivity, feeling numb or disconnected, negative relationship patterns, emotional withdrawal, and addiction. Finding a safe place to face and process one’s trauma can lead to freedom in life, unhindered by the emotional pains of the past. Our counselors focus on sexual addictive wounds, providing recovery to addiction behaviors, all while guiding clients through the process of healing unresolved trauma wounds. We recognize this holistic approach as the ultimate key to long-term and true sexual health restoration.
Many addictive and mental health disorders can be traced back to early attachment trauma, evoked by experiences like emotional neglect and enmeshment, as well as physical and emotional abuse. This is particularly true of intimacy disorders and related sex, love and relationship addictions. To recover from these experiences and move beyond the shame and isolation accompanying sex addiction and intimacy disorders, an approach to treatment that tackles the root causes is needed.
Past Trauma, Present Pain
Ironically, the behaviors that are causing you so much pain right now likely stem from necessary but ultimately self-defeating survival skills learned at an early age to cope with dysfunctional, traumatic experiences. Whether the source of trauma was a one-time impactful event or an ongoing cycle of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect, you learned that intimacy was a fearful, shameful, disappointing or inconsistent experience and naturally did what made the most sense at the time – learned to avoid it.
How Trauma-Focused Care Can Help
As an adult, the trauma you’ve carried with you over the years is deeply ingrained in your psyche and behavior. Issues such as substance abuse, compulsive sexual behavior, and problematic relationship patterns are the coping skills that help keep that which is most feared – vulnerability and honest intimacy – at bay.
Trauma-focused treatment delves under the surface of your addiction or behavioral issues to address the underlying causal factors so you can work toward long-term recovery without symptoms creeping back up over time, or just taking the form of different, destructive patterns.
Trauma-focused approaches may include:
• Cognitive behavioral therapy with a specially trained clinician
• Trauma-specific therapies.
• Psychodrama, equine therapy, and other experiential therapies that allow you to explore past trauma in a safe, accepting space
• Shame-reduction methods that support vulnerability and embracing your authentic self
• Group therapy and healthy social skills building
• Creative approaches such as art and music therapy that allow you to explore emotions you may have difficulty verbalizing
• Evidence-based medication as appropriate
Break the cycle. Get help for a long-term change.
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Bevill and Associates LLC is located in Birmingham, AL (on Valleydale Rd between I65 and Hwy. 280). Please click here for our full address and a map to our location.