One of a therapist’s most important responsibilities is empowering clients to heal their trauma through the use of various therapeutic tools and techniques.
Trauma lives in the body. It takes root in the brain and leaves visible traces that can be seen on MRIs. Often, the wounds left by our traumatic experiences present through a variety of symptoms. Anxiety. Irritability. Lack of focus.
In a very real way, we are haunted by our past traumas. We carry them with us. As a result, those traumas take us out of the present. They have us looking over our shoulders at past memories of how we were hurt, or forward into the future trying to prevent it from ever happening again. As a consequence, it’s difficult for people who have experienced significant trauma to enjoy the present. They may feel cut off from the people and events around them. It’s natural. Their minds are busy elsewhere.
Here’s how mindfulness can help:
A popular term that feels made-up at times, grounding is less complex than it sounds. It is, put simply, the act of focusing on sensory input in order to pull your consciousness into the moment. Some examples of how you might implement this into your daily life include:
- focusing on the taste and texture of a meal
- listening for sounds of wildlife, or the noise of passing cars
- paying close attention to the sensation of fabric on your skin
- try to identify the different scents carried on the air
- looking for patterns, interesting colors, or shapes
Whether you’re out on a walk, attending a business dinner, or shopping at the grocery store, your senses are always firing on all cylinders. Most of the time, that input is processed unconsciously without any effort on your part. Focusing on those senses is a good way of taking your mind off worries about the past or future.
Similar to grounding, the process of conducting a ‘body scan’ is an internal check-in with your own body. Instead of focusing on your external senses, indulge yourself by fully inhabiting your body. A good way to do this is by closing your eyes and tensing various muscles one at a time, considering how different they feel. Start with your toes and work your way up through your legs, stomach, chest, and shoulders.
Delving even deeper into your internal landscape, establishing a journaling routine can be helpful in allowing you to process, organize, and release intrusive thoughts. Approaching this as a stream-of-consciousness exercise is helpful. You can start by narrating the act of opening the journal, putting pen to paper, and narrating yourself as you go looking for your thoughts. Write down the sounds you’re hearing on the tv in the background, or describe the actors on a show.
When it’s time, write down those intrusive thoughts. Often, the reason they keep running through our minds is to get our attention. When you give those thoughts time in the spotlight, they’ll feel smaller and more manageable. Most things aren’t as scary once you take the time to examine them.
Begin Working With A Therapist in Columbus To Heal From Trauma
By employing mindfulness techniques and practices, you can manage stress, anxiety, and other symptoms you may be experiencing as the result of past trauma. If you’re struggling as a result of your traumatic experiences, our therapists at Blue Boat Counseling would love to help you develop a personalized mindfulness practice that works for you. To schedule an appointment, please follow these simple steps:
- Get in touch with Blue Boat Counseling using the button below
- Get connected with a caring therapist you can trust.
- Start improving your mental health!
Other Therapy Services Offered with Blue Boat Counseling
Our team offers a variety of other mental health services in addition to trauma therapy. We know that you may require support with other mental health services in addition to past trauma. This is why we are happy to also include services like anxiety therapy, depression therapy, and counseling specifically for teens, families, and couples. We also offer online therapy across the state, and support for military veterans. Contact us to get scheduled or visit our blog to learn more about mental health.