Through therapy, individuals who have experienced trauma can gain or regain a healthy sense of self and a sense of control over their lives.

Any event outside the usual realm of human experience that evokes intense fear, helplessness, terror, or pain can cause trauma. Trauma can also be induced by witnessing others being physically, emotionally, or psychologically abused. When trauma occurs in childhood the effects can be devastating to a developing mind and body. Children affected by trauma adopt many ways to cope with these overwhelming events, including dissociation, negative core beliefs, numbing behaviors, and addictions. Untreated in childhood, these coping strategies can cause a myriad of difficulties in adult life such as the inability to maintain healthy and safe relationships, sleep disorders, eating disorders, difficulty maintaining consistent work, chronic pain, medically undiagnosed symptoms, the inability to manage stress, the inability to be an effective parent, addiction, and other self-harming behaviors. When trauma is no longer present, but becomes part of the past, the body will find its wholeness, peace and health. Through therapy, individuals who have experienced trauma can gain or regain a healthy sense of self and a sense of control over their lives.

“Traumatic experiences shake the foundations of our beliefs about safety, and shatter our assumptions of trust.”

David Baldwin, Ph.D.

“Whenever we’re working with trauma, we have to remember that we’re never working with the actual event – we’re working with patterns of response.”

Pat Ogden, Ph.D

Maintaining a healthy relationship has its rewards and challenges. Life is full of change, and people in relationships must adapt to new circumstances: jobs change; priorities shift; finances fluctuate; loved ones die; moves occur; children are born. Coping skills we have counted on in the past may not be effective in the present. Couples also bring the attachment patterns and core beliefs they learned in childhood into adult relationships. These patterns can both be painful or yield growth in adult relationships. When these patterns become destructive in the couple’s dynamic, relationship counseling can assist in getting couples ‘unstuck’ from these ineffective patterns of relating. A strained relationship may be marked by repetitive power struggles, unrelenting resentments, loss of desire, communication breakdowns, and isolation. Left unattended this strain can turn into a chasm. Couples begin to feel helpless or worse, hopeless. The relationship no longer provides energy, support, creativity or growth. Recognizing these patterns and learning how to change them can heal the wounds from the past as well as bring a couple back into connection.

“The point is that couples should feel secure in knowing they can reach out to their partner at any time, anywhere, and their partner will be receptive.”

Stan Tatkin

“Recovery can take place only within the context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation.”

Judith Lewis Herman, M.D.

Losses can profoundly change one’s life in an instant. New losses can trigger old losses and stir up deep emotional pain from the past. Unresolved grief can create burdens that individuals carry in the form of depression, numbness, isolation, physical ailments (e.g. migraines, abdominal or gastro-intestinal distress), guilt, anger, or despair. Grieving is a process of learning to live with loss, and learning that individuals cannot necessarily fix it or force its resolution.

IFS informed EMDR and other therapeutic approaches can assist in the resolution of complex grief and loss, releasing frozen emotions, and create a sense of acceptance in living with loss. 

“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.”


Chronic or acute illnesses, surgeries, medical emergencies, and acute or chronic pain can cause many residual traumas both physically and emotionally. Living with untreated traumatic experiences can also affect the immune system and result in other medical symptoms. The medical field sometimes is challenged by medically unexplained symptoms, leaving patients feeling blamed and hopeless. These types of experiences can also cause psychological distress, including depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress symptoms. Patients may come to believe they are defective, that their medical issues are their fault. They may feel powerless or having no control over their body or their care, all of which can limit one’s quality of life.

Unexplained medical symptoms in adulthood have high correlation with childhood abuse and neglect. The ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study found childhood stressors, abuse and neglect are strongly related to the development and prevalence of disease throughout the lifespan (Felitti & Anda). IFS informed EMDR in combination with body-oriented psychotherapies is effective in reducing and at times, eliminating symptoms. When the emotional and psychological distress is resolved, the body experiences a decrease in distress often resulting in a lessening of symptoms. When symptoms correlate with traumatic events, if the trauma is resolved, the physical symptoms can be eliminated. If pain or illness is chronic, an integrative approach using IFS informed EMDR can assist in adapting to the condition, dealing more realistically and constructively to these health issues, and assist in developing positive and hopeful approaches to life stressors.

“Chronic or acute illnesses, surgeries, medical emergencies, and acute or chronic pain can cause many residual traumas both physically and emotionally.”

Josie Juhasz, M.A., LPC

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