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The circumstances you have lived through combined with your personality and other previous experiences make trauma symptoms complex. Each individual experiences symptoms or signs of trauma in their own unique way due to their unique lived experiences and history.

What are some reasons that trauma sticks with us?

According to leading researchers like Bessel van der Kolk and Peter Levine, trauma is when a person’s natural threat response is activated in their body, but their ability to cope becomes overwhelmed and ultimately stuck in a hyper-hypo-vigilant mode.


This means that the memory gets “stuck” in our mind instead of being stored as a normal memory. This stuckness is what leads to the symptoms that we classify as trauma responses. 

Common Symptoms of Trauma 

  • Flashbacks

  • Trouble with sleep

  • Hypervigilance - heightened senses, startling easy, feeling on guard

  • Difficulty in connection with or trust of others

  • Feelings of guilt or shame surrounding the event

  • A change in core belief about self related to the event 

  • Feelings of being overwhelmed or disturbed by something that reminds you of the event 

  • Nervous system dysregulation (ex. anxiety, depression, anger, fear, etc.) 


    We know that the word “trauma” is a psychology buzzword. Many of us have a hesitancy to classify anything in our lives as traumatic because we may perceive that it is dramatic to use a word “that strong” or we may have a small perception of what trauma actually is.

    Our hope is to explain some of what trauma is, what common symptoms might look like, and discuss how our team of Decatur therapists can work with clients seeking therapy for trauma.

    What is trauma? 

    Trauma impacts all areas of life: how we see ourselves, others, and the world; how we see our bodies; how we think; how we respond; and how we connect or don’t connect to our emotions. The reactions often show up in our body, and these reactions may last long after the event occurred. Our reaction may seem like our bodies still believe we are in the situation. 


    Aundi Kolber notes that trauma happens when we experience a profound rupture (in safety, relationship, health, reality, etc.), and the repair doesn't match the wound.

    Big “T” trauma:

    Witnessing or experiencing a deeply disturbing or life-threatening situation, such as natural disasters, war, sexual violence, neglect, or serious injury. Big “T” trauma can seem obvious.

    Little “t” trauma:

    Any experience that overwhelms our ability to cope and continues to feel disturbing. For example: bullying, having absent parents, going through a bad breakup, experiencing racism, experiencing intense life transitions, experiencing grief and loss, or undergoing medical procedures.  Often little “t” trauma can be overlooked or minimized.

    Get beyond the buzzword.

    What does trauma therapy look like at SteadyHope?

    Our team of therapists at Steady Hope Counseling is trauma-informed. What does that mean? It means our therapists understand how trauma impacts the body and mind, and how the effects of trauma may show up.


    Being trauma-informed also means that our team has taken additional steps to become trained and equipped to work with clients who have experienced trauma. 

    What can you expect from trauma-informed therapists in Atlanta? 

    Our trauma-informed therapists are trained in many modalities to help you move forward after traumatic experiences. We know that processing and deciding to process trauma is hard. It’s hard because it is hard and painful. That’s just the reality. Our team desires to be the Steady Hope alongside you during the process. 

    Our therapists can help you look at your traumatic experiences objectively, compassionately, and at your pace. We can help you explore what you could and couldn’t control during the event. 

    Our first goal, no matter what modality we utilize, is to create a sense of safety in the room, within your environment, and within your own body. Depending on the level of circumstances you experienced, this might take some time; but don’t worry, our therapists will walk alongside you through it. During this stage, our therapists will help you explore and connect to your body in a new way.

    Our second goal will be to help teach you skills to calm heightened emotions and build healthy containment strategies to utilize during our sessions and outside of them. We will help you explore ways that trauma symptoms have shown up for you and help you identify healthy coping strategies. 

    One modality that some of our therapists are trained in is EMDR. EMDR is a structured method that can help you move through re-processing the event and decrease your symptoms. EMDR may not be best fit for everyone; so, our team will discuss with you other modalities for processing trauma. 


    Some of our team may use a more narrative approach and help you build a narrative that helps you move forward instead of feeling stuck. 

    We know that processing trauma is not easy and most of us don’t want to; but we have seen incredible freedom, hope, and breakthrough after reprocessing and identifying tools.


    Here a few ways that you may observe your symptoms change after therapy: 

    • Increased trust and better relationships

    • Better sleep

    • A feeling of more confidence 

    • Reconnection to your body

    • Increased focus

    • Reduction in other physical symptoms 

    If you're interested in learning more about trauma counseling, or in speaking with a therapist, we offer a free 15-minute consultation.

    How can you start counseling for trauma in Decatur, Ga?

    If you are ready to take the next steps, our team of trained therapists offer in-person sessions at the Steady Hope Counseling Decatur location or online for Georgia residents. 

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