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The Impacts of Stress and Trauma

Research shows that a number of mental health presentations including PTSD, anxiety, panic, depression, dissociative disorders, and addiction stem from stressful, overwhelming, and traumatic experiences in our past. These experiences get dysfunctionally stored in the brain as "reliving experiences" rather than as regular memories. This means that when the memory is triggered, our bodies think the stressful event is happening all over again. Even if we aren't consciously making a connection to the past, our bodies and nervous systems remember and we engage in old ways of reacting and coping.

Our brains have an innate self-healing system, but this system can become overwhelmed resulting in symptoms. Research shows that EMDR therapy, an approach offered by most of our therapists, unblocks this self-healing system, transforms traumatic memories into regular memories, and helps us reach an adaptive resolution of symptoms. 


Stressful and traumatic experiences may include: 

  • Childhood physical, sexual, or emotional abuse  

  • Bullying by siblings or peers

  • Events resulting in feelings of humiliation, shame, worthlessness, or hopelessness  

  • Abandonment or emotional neglect by a parent or loved one

  • Physical or sexual assault in adulthood 

  • Accidents resulting in injury to your brain or body

  • Sudden loss of a loved one or other losses

  • Witnessing violence, accidents, or horrific occurrences 

  • Miscarriage, abortion, or childbirth

  • Working on the front lines 

  • Experiences of racism or discrimination 

These experiences can result in a variety of symptoms such as emotional numbness, social isolation, relationship issues, anxiety, panic, rage, critical inner voice, fears of failure, substance use, people-pleasing, flashbacks, fears of sexual or emotional intimacy, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, feeling disconnected from your body, feelings of unworthiness, and more. Click here to learn more about how therapy can help! 

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