Wind of Change specializes in treating trauma, PTSD, and survivors of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse.
What is trauma?
According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is defined as the emotional response from exposure, either short-term or prolonged, to a horrific event like a natural disaster, accident, or crime.
No matter what the source of the trauma, the experience prompts overwhelming feelings of helplessness and fear in an individual, creating lasting adverse effects on the person’s mental, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Traumatic experiences impact relationships, whether they are relationships between people, communities, or the systems that support an individual’s health and social needs.
Sometimes, trauma is a repeated event that becomes a pattern in someone’s life. Trauma triggers reactions of traumatic stress, or even PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). While trauma can have far-reaching effects on someone’s life, it’s important to know that it’s very possible to fully recover from the effects of trauma. Often, survivors of trauma are able to gain peace and understanding which enables them to be a force for good, and a blessing to everyone they interact with.
What effects can trauma have?
Adults who have experienced trauma often struggle with symptoms that include vivid flashbacks wherein the individual is mentally trapped back in the situation that prompted the distress. Sometimes these flashbacks occur while the individual is awake, and they’re triggered by smells, sounds, or sights that remind them of the traumatic memory.
Other times, flashbacks are dreams, and this interruption of sleep can lead to insomnia, stress, and depression. Other side effects of trauma include avoidance of things that could possibly prompt flashbacks. This often leads to major changes in behavior and a tendency to numb emotional reactions. Trauma can also cause an individual to be in a constant state of hyperarousal. Individuals who have experienced trauma may seem anxious, distracted, over-sensitive, and easily startled.
Studies have shown that about half of young adults who experienced trauma develop various disorders at some point in their lives. Often, this is because they turn to self-medicate and treat symptoms of trauma. Productive counseling helps young adults properly process trauma and arms them with the tools they need in order to overcome trauma and break harmful patterns that reinforce the harmful side effects of trauma.
How is it treated?
While trauma can have far-reaching effects on someone’s life, it’s important to know that it’s very possible to fully recover from the effects of trauma. Often, survivors of trauma can gain peace and understanding which enables them to be a force for good and live a healthy and fulfilling life. Trauma-informed approaches to care, including relational support and trauma-specific treatments, can help clients begin to process their experiences in a healthy way.
One of the most common and effective methods of treatment for trauma is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR. EMDR is an approach that includes many aspects of counseling, with a three-pronged goal to give patients immediate solutions for dealing with the past, managing current behaviors and reactions to triggers, and planning for the future. EMDR’s key strategy is to understand and counter harmful patterns of behavior and thought that trauma can induce, like feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or a lack of control. EMDR also monitors physical reactions like eye movements in order to resolve memories, revisit them, and change the internal narrative of those events in order to find strength and meaning instead of terror and helplessness. For example, a survivor’s perspective towards an event of sexual abuse may transform from guilt and self-disgust into “I am strong enough to survive this.”
Brainspotting is another evidence-based therapy utilized at Wind of Change. With the belief that “Where you look affects how you feel.” Brainspotting locates points in the client’s visual field that help to access unprocessed trauma in the subcortical brain, the part of the brain responsible for complex activities such as memory, emotion, and pleasure. Brainspotting is effective for a wide variety of emotional conditions and is particularly effective with trauma-based situations. With brainspotting, we can help to identify and heal underlying trauma that contributes to anxiety, depression, and other behavioral conditions. The goal of Brainspotting is to bypass the conscious, neocortical thinking to access the deeper, emotional, and body-based parts of the brain.
We find that incorporating our unique Christian perspective during EMDR and Brainspotting can greatly assist in enabling young women to gain peace and healing after experiencing trauma. Of course, proper treatment of trauma includes a personalized and multi-faceted approach, working with the client to resolve the memories without betraying comfort or trust. Here at Wind of Change, we have experience with trauma counseling. We understand that it can be a hard process, but we pride ourselves on creating a safe space where young women can come to terms with their past and turn it into a strength that can build their compassion, self-worth, and relationship with God.
Our small, all-young adult women, Christian, residential treatment facility gives young women the space and time they need in order to reach true healing, and our experienced counselors can help women build the internal resources that will continue to strengthen and bless them when they return home.