My Approach

Understanding the Impacts of Trauma

Shivani believes that trauma often underlies the majority of mental health presentations, including anxiety, panic, depression, and addiction, as well as relationship issues and some physical health problems including digestive issues and chronic pain. 

Many people think they haven't experienced trauma, without realizing that trauma can result from any stressful experience that is inescapable, that overwhelms our resources at our current stage of development, and that leaves us feeling immobilized, trapped, or helpless. Shivani defines a traumatic experience not by the type of event that occurred, but by the lasting impacts those experiences have on a person's overall functioning.

 

Trauma can present as chronic dysregulation of the nervous system, feeling shut down or numb, an inability for your body to relax and recognize the threat is over, avoidance of reminders, emotional flashbacks, fears of emotional intimacy, fears of loss of connection, self-criticism, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, feelings of unworthiness and shame, and a fragmentation of the self. 

Areas of Expertise 

 

  • Childhood Developmental Trauma (Complex Trauma) including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; neglect; growing up with parents with mental illness or addiction; and insecure or disorganized attachment. 

  • Shock Traumas, such as concussions, MVAs, physical and sexual assault, accidents, sudden loss of a loved one, medical intervention and surgeries, near-death experiences, and childbirth trauma. 

  • Anxiety and Panic 

  • Depression  

  • Grief and Loss 

More than Just Talk Therapy

While it is important for Shivani to understand your complete history and for you to feel seen, heard, and understood in your story, talk-therapy alone is not effective in resolving trauma. Telling and re-telling the details of traumatic experiences is not required for healing and may even be counterproductive. This is why Shivani uses approaches that go beyond talk therapy and work with the body, brain, and nervous system to treat the underlying trauma at its root.

 

What to Expect

You will be invited to be curious about your experience in the present moment by bringing mindful awareness to your sensations, feelings, and breath. You will learn various self-regulation skills to manage stress, anxiety, and big emotions. During the initial stage of therapy, your history of significant life events will be taken, your attachment relationships with your caregivers will be discussed, and you will complete some assessment questionnaires. Together a collaborative treatment plan will be developed to address your symptoms and meet your unique goals.

 

Therapeutic Approaches

Shivani works from a trauma-informed, feminist, LGBTQ+, anti-racist lens. She uses Somatic Experiencing, EMDR therapy, and Inner Child Reparenting to treat underlying trauma. Somatic Experiencing is a body-centered therapy that uses mindful awareness to elicit your nervous system's self-healing capacity. EMDR is an empirically supported approach that uses bilateral stimulation through eye movements or kinesthetic sensations, such as tapping or holding hand buzzers, to stimulate your brain's innate ability to integrate unresolved traumatic memories and transform negative beliefs. Inner Child Reparenting is an integrative approach based on the theory of structural dissociation, ego-state therapy, somatic therapy, and EMDR that works with the client's traumatized inner child parts to address trauma-related triggers and reactions, to strengthen the adult self, and to facilitate inner harmony. For those with complex developmental trauma, Inner Child work is often essential in preparation for receiving standard EMDR therapy.      ​​

© 2020 by Shivani Wells