Are you struggling with anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, anger, or relationship problems?

Anxiety, depression, and relationship problems can significantly impact all aspects of your life, disrupting your relationships, career, social life, and family intimacy. It can fuel constant worry, fear, panic, and interrupt healthy sleep. 

You may be feeling sad and lonely or worthless and empty. Possibly you’re struggling with low self-esteem or a lack of confidence. Men often struggle with their sense of masculinity. Fear of rejection or disappointment from ongoing relationship challenges may leave you feeling hopeless and stuck. Ultimately, anxiety, depression, and relationship struggles can erode your capacity to feel happy and fulfilled with your life.

Perhaps you've tried to avoid your pain through overworking, alcohol or drug abuse, relationship addiction, or other compulsive behaviors. Maybe you've done talk therapy or used prescription drugs, but only experienced partial or no relief, leaving you even more discouraged.

What is trauma? 

Trauma can be any painful memory or experience that has been unresolved in your brain, and causes a disruption in your normal functioning. The types of major traumas that often underlie anxiety, depression, and relationship problems may include:

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  • Death of a loved one

  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse

  • Peer, social, or school trauma (e.g. bullying, teasing, learning disabilities)

  • Significant separations (e.g. adoption, foster care, hospitalization of self or caregiver)

  • Returning veterans experiencing war, threat of war, death and violence

  • Experiencing or witnessing domestic violence, physical assault, serious injury, or the threat of death

  • First responders and law enforcement experiencing fatalities, accident and crime scenes, chronic verbal abuse and stress by the public, an officer-involved shooting, death or injury of fellow officers

  • Serious accidents, medical conditions, or surgeries

  • Any life experience that left you feeling helpless, powerless, or threatened

If you've experienced a pattern of subtle, but painful experiences, they can have a long-term, negative impact on your sense of well-being. For example:

  • Infidelity, betrayal, or a painful relationship breakup

  • Public embarrassment or humiliation

  • Constant criticism or ridicule by an authority figure or partner

  • Painful, invalidating or hostile family relationships

  • Experiencing a significant letdown, disappointment, or personal failure

Traumatic  memories are often the underlying source of chronic symptoms and presenting issues

One of the main reasons that anxiety, depression, and relationship problems can be so difficult to overcome is because the memory of a traumatic experience gets “stuck” in the amygdala, which is not a keeper of time or able to reason. The prefrontal cortex is where executive functioning happens; decision making, rational thinking, sound decisions.

Trauma freezes in short term memory and overwhelms the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. This is why you can feel out of control when you are so emotionally reactive; the emotional brain (right) and rational brain (left) cannot work at the same time; one has to go offline.

Even well after a traumatic event has ended, the trauma can remain alive and active, creating painful symptoms that are highly sensitive to getting re-activated or "triggered" by current situations. For example, if you were frequently criticized by a parent in the past, you may notice those same painful feelings from childhood getting re-activated when you're feeling criticized by your spouse or your boss. 

Attachment Wounds

 

A specific type of trauma, known as an “attachment wound”, can significantly contribute to anxiety, depression, and painful relationship patterns. As a child, it was essential that your attachment needs were met by your parents (or caregivers) to help you mature into an emotionally healthy adult. Examples of attachment needs include the need to feel safe, secure, protected, and nurtured. There is a need to feel affection, loving connection, positive attention, acceptance and support. When these essential qualities are missing from childhood it creates deficits, or gaps, in your emotional development. 

 
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Unfortunately, these unmet needs tend to carry over into adulthood, and can result in present day anxiety, depression, and relationship struggles. Examples of attachment wounds include:

  • Feeling shunned, rejected, abandoned, or neglected by a parent (or important caregiver)

  • Being invalidated by a parent, where emotional needs and personal experiences were minimized, overlooked belittled

  • Having a parent who was unavailable, (e.g., distracted, ill, depressed, self absorbed)

  • Having a parent who puts their wants (e.g., alcohol, relationships, need for perfection, etc.) ahead of your needs

  • Experiencing a general lack of support in childhood

  • Having a parent who was enmeshed (thus blocking the development/expression of your sense of self)

Just like trauma, unresolved attachment wounds can be easily and intensely triggered in the present, resulting in painful emotional reactions (e.g., anger, jealousy, shame, humiliation, sadness, hopelessness, fear, and panic).
 

Emotional pain that surfaces from feeling invalidated or rejected by a close friend or partner, can likely be connected to not having key attachments needs (loving connection, unconditional acceptance) met in childhood. 

Trauma has two other far-reaching effects:

  1. Trauma is often at the root of negative thinking (e.g., pessimism, catastrophizing) and self-defeating beliefs (e.g., I'm not good enough, I'm powerless) - both of which are significant sources of anxiety, depression, and relationship problems.

  2. Trauma can interfere with the development of key self-care and relationship skills, which are essential for preventing and counteracting anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. 

EMDR counseling for anxiety, depression & unresolved trauma

 

Research indicates that counseling is most effective when it incorporates both the left and right sides of the brain. Trauma and attachment wounds are stored in the right side of the brain. Traditional talk therapy typically accesses only the left side of the brain and is not necessarily the most effective for processing trauma. My counseling approach is designed to engage both sides of the brain to help you address trauma and attachment wounds and the painful symptoms that they create. EMDR is a psychotherapeutic approach that helps to reprocess traumatic memories and move them to long term memory where the amygdala no longer holds these memories hostage. When the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus come back online to regulate emotions, you will be less reactive.

Imagine how it would feel to finally get unstuck and move your life forward. The goal of therapy for anxiety, depression, relationship problems, and unresolved trauma is to help you to:

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  • Feel more calm, relaxed, and present-centered

  • Feel happier and have a more positive outlook on life

  • Experience more fulfilling and satisfying relationships

  • Feel empowered to create positive change in your life

  • Experience greater self-esteem and confidence

  • Feel more relaxed and comfortable in social situations

If you’re curious about EMDR or how we can work together to specifically treat your anxiety, depression, or anger... or if you’re interested in learning more about how trauma and/or attachment wounds may be triggering the symptoms that you’re struggling with, feel free to contact me to set up a free 20 minute phone/video consultation so we can discuss your concerns.