Trauma therapy

Recover from Life’s Emotional Wounds, Find Healing and Liberation

Healing from Trauma with Therapy

A surprising number of people experience trauma at least once during their lives. Over time, a traumatic event can become just a memory that gets filed away in long term memory.  However, for some people, it gets stuck in the ‘inbox’ of their brain consistently getting triggered and causing a persistent disruption to their lives.  This can cause a sense of being trapped. These painful reactions can seem impossible to control, but there is a way out.

Trauma therapy was created to help people process and heal from these events. If you’re struggling with the effects of trauma, Trauma Therapy can help confront the root of distress, guide you through healing and empowerment techniques, and restore a sense of self control.

What is Trauma?

Trauma may initially seem reserved for extreme situations like soldiers in combat or victims of violent crimes, yet, most people will encounter at least one trauma in their lifetime. These incidents range from dramatic events like car accidents or assaults to broader circumstances causing physical or emotional harm, such as the enduring impact of the Covid pandemic.

Classifying trauma into distinct categories reveals its diverse nature:

  • Acute Trauma involves a single, overwhelming incident with immediate emotional and physical reactions, like a car accident or natural disaster.
  • Chronic Trauma results from prolonged exposure to distressing events, like ongoing abuse or living in a war zone, accumulating complex effects over time.
  • Complex Trauma emerges from exposure to multiple traumatic events within interpersonal relationships, leading to enduring emotional and psychological challenges.

Recognizing the difference between experiencing trauma and being traumatized can be important. While not everyone faces persistent negative effects, those who do may grapple with depression, anxiety, social isolation, anger, chronic pain, intrusive thoughts, and disruptions in eating and sleeping. Initially, these symptoms are common after a traumatic event, but if they persist and impact daily life, seeking help becomes essential for addressing and coping with the trauma.

Whether it’s a sudden shock or prolonged struggle, understanding your trauma with a therapist is the first step towards healing and reclaiming your life.


Symptoms of Trauma

Navigating the aftermath of a traumatic experience is a complex journey that extends beyond the visible scars. The impact of trauma influences not only your emotional landscape but also the physiological functions of your brain.  Understanding the symptoms that may manifest is crucial, as they serve as signals, pointing towards the lingering effects of traumatic events.

1.Emotional Distress

Anxiety, fear, sadness, or anger in response to a distressing event.

2. Intrusive Thoughts

Unwanted and distressing memories or flashbacks.

3. Difficulty Concentrating

Impaired focus and attention, often due to preoccupation with the traumatic experience.

4. Emotional Numbing

Feeling detached or disconnected from others, reduced ability to experience pleasure or positive emotions.

Understanding the Impact of Trauma on the Brain:

Trauma can extend beyond the event itself, intricately affecting the brain’s structure and function. The stress response system, comprising the amygdala and hippocampus, becomes hyperactive during traumatic experiences, leading to heightened emotional responses and challenges in memory processing. Extended exposure may even reshape the prefrontal cortex, impacting decision-making, emotional regulation, and the ability to assess threats effectively.

The disruption doesn’t stop at the brain’s structure; it can also create an imbalance within the neurotransmitters that influences mood and stress levels. This intricate relationship between traumatic experiences and brain function often gives rise to conditions like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), affecting various cognitive and emotional functions.

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD 1. Intrusion - Bad Dreams, Flashbacks, Scary Thoughts 2. Negative Emotion - Guilt, Anger, Fear 3. Arousal - Irritability, Feeling on edge, Easily Startled 4. Avoidance - Steering clear of any reminders of the event, Emotional numbness, Distancing from others

What is PTSD and Do I have it?

Trauma is a broad term encompassing the emotional response to distressing events, while PTSD is a diagnosed mental health condition characterized by specific symptoms resulting from exposure to trauma. PTSD symptoms are categorized into four main areas:

It’s essential to recognize that not everyone who experiences trauma develops PTSD, and seeking professional help is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

Intrusive Thoughts: Distressing memories, flashbacks, or nightmares related to the trauma invade your consciousness.

Avoidance Behaviors: Efforts to steer clear of reminders or discussions about the traumatic event to escape its emotional grip.

Negative Changes in Mood and Thinking: Persistent negative emotions and distorted beliefs can cast a shadow over your daily life.

Changes in Arousal and Reactivity: Heightened alertness, irritability, and difficulties with concentration and sleep disrupt your overall well-being.

What Does PTSD Feel Like?

How Therapy Can Help With Trauma

When individuals face traumatic experiences, a natural instinct pushes them to avoid dwelling on the distressing events. While this instinct serves as protection from immediate pain, avoiding the emotional fallout of trauma can hinder the healing process. Compensating habits may emerge, inadvertently worsening the situation. For instance, someone might withdraw from social activities to escape anxiety, perpetuating isolation and impacting mental health negatively.

Trauma therapy steps in to break this cycle, guiding individuals to confront their trauma and embark on a healing journey. By fostering healthy coping mechanisms and transforming patterns of thinking, trauma therapy empowers individuals to navigate and work through those distressing situations.

Different Types of Trauma Therapy

There are different approaches to trauma therapy, but they all have the same goal: to help you escape the prison of unresolved trauma. It’s important to note that the statistics provided below do not imply that one therapy is inherently superior to another. Rather, the effectiveness of a therapy modality depends on many factors, including the individual’s unique experiences and needs. Here are some of the ways therapists approach this work.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT was created to help patients identify and change patterns of thoughts and behaviours that are causing distress. CBT has decades of research supporting it, and it’s been shown to be remarkably effective in dealing with trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Clinical studies and evidence based reviews have shown that 61-82% of participants treated with CBT lost their PTSD diagnosis (NIH).

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR therapy works directly with the brain and how it stores and processes memories. In EMDR Therapy, clients undergo bilateral stimulation, which involves techniques like alternating eye movements, tapping, or auditory stimuli. While this is happening, the therapist walks them through the distressing memory. As this is repeated, the brain is able to process the memory and start to heal from the trauma.  According to the EMDR Institute, some studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions.

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

CPT aims to address the cognitive distortions and negative beliefs resulting from trauma. Through structured exercises and discussions, individuals learn to challenge and reframe their thoughts about the traumatic event. Studies have shown that CPT can significantly reduce PTSD symptoms and improve overall functioning.

Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy focuses on exploring and reshaping the narratives individuals construct about their traumatic experiences. By externalizing the problem and examining alternative narratives, individuals can gain a sense of agency and control over their lives. This approach emphasizes storytelling as a means of understanding and reauthoring one’s life story in a way that promotes healing and resilience.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)

To help patients overcome their reticence to think about what happened, patients learn to face their feelings by gradually being exposed to their triggers. The therapist supports them in a safe environment as they become accustomed to the responses that come up.  Some studies have shown that 68% of people who complete PE treatment, no longer meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD. 

As you can see, Trauma Therapy offers diverse approaches to cater to unique needs. The power to choose the right therapeutic avenue lies in recognizing that healing is a personalized journey, and at Trillium Counselling, we’re here to guide you towards the path that resonates with your healing process.

Trauma therapy can facilitate the reintegration of the nervous system and assist in releasing the cognitive burdens associated with your traumatic experiences.

You don’t have to carry the weight of trauma alone. Trillium Counselling’s experienced professionals are here to help you navigate through the challenges and find a path towards healing. To schedule an appointment for trauma therapy, reach out to us today.

Contact us to Book an Appointment or Consultation

Your First Step to a Path Made Clear

Picture of Samantha Kittell - MSW RSW
Samantha Kittell - MSW RSW

Samantha has a Masters Degree in Social Work and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. She has 7 years of experience in social services and is registered with the OCSWSSW.
Samantha has dedicated herself to providing compassionate and evidence-based trauma therapies such as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), supporting individuals on their journey towards healing.

Our Therapists

Book an Appointment or Consultation With One of Our Certified, Trained and Experienced Therapists 

Local Therapist, Kitchener Waterloo Counselor, Kait Stamcos, MSW RSW

Kait Stamcos

Registered Social Worker,

Kait's commitment to tailoring approaches to each client ensures a personalized therapeutic experience, fostering growth and resilience

Therapist, Counselor, Megan Hendry, MSW RSW

Megan Hendry

Registered Social Worker,

Megan is deeply honoured and grateful to have the beautiful opportunity to walk alongside and support her clients as they face some of life’s gravest obstacles, and help to promote healing and lasting change within their lives

Therapist, Counselor, RSW, Trillium Counselling, Psychotherapist, Caroline Brousseau

Caroline Brousseau

Registered Social Worker,

I will help you feel proud to be who you are, and work towards a solution that is adapted to your own specific personality, values and dreams

Local Therapist, Kitchener Waterloo Counselor, Megan Pass MSW RSW

Megan Pass

Registered Social Worker,

It is an honor to be in a position to support and empower people when they are vulnerable by helping them recognize their own strengths and teach healthy coping skills

Therapist, Counselor, Rosemary Victor, MSW RSW

Rosemary Victor

Registered Social Worker,

Rosemary believes that people are resilient, and that people can adapt and find hope in the most difficult of times, when they receive the support that they need.

Therapist, Counselor, Katelyn Regier, MSW RSW

Katelyn Regier

Registered Social Worker,

I strongly believe that everyone has the capacity for change already within themselves – I aim to empower individuals towards their unique goals in ways that are meaningful to the life they want to live

Psychotherapist - Bradley Vasquez

Bradley Vasquez

Registered Psychotherapist

Brad believes that people are capable for change and have the strength to do so within themselves. He is thankful for the opportunity to work with clients in achieving their goals and supporting them throughout their journey

Amy - Clinical social worker MSW RSW

Amy King

Registered Social Worker,

Whatever your goal for therapy, Amy’s down to earth, client-centered, collaborative approach will help you work through the changes that you want to bring to your life, while developing deeper insight and strengthening resilience.

Local Therapist, Kitchener Waterloo Counselor, Melanie Baker, MSW RSW

Melanie Baker

Registered Social Worker,

My goal is to support the person you are today in the process of becoming who you want to be—and maybe, rediscovering who you always were. I believe that when we make space for difficult things, we create room for change, growth, and joy.

Registered Psychotherapist, Counselor, Catherine Lynn Roach, RP

Catherine Lynn Roach

Registered Psychotherapist

My goal as a therapist is to help my client’s reach the goals that are important to them. I am passionate about helping my clients feel safe enough to explore their concerns and how together we can achieve their goals

Therapist, Counselor, Milena Urbanajc, MSW RSW

Milena Urbanajc

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

We all aim to live life to the fullest, but sometimes there is something that may be holding us back, and this is what we aim to work out in therapy

kitchener waterloo Therapist, Counsellor, samantha, CBT Therapist, EMDR therapist

Samantha Kittell

Registered Social Worker,

I believe in the transformative power of therapy to create positive change and restore hope. My goal is to provide a safe and nurturing space where individuals feel seen, heard, and supported on their path toward healing and self-discovery.

Registered Therapist, Kitchener Waterloo Counselor, Brianna Comeau, MSW RSW

Brianna Comeau

Registered Social Worker,

I am passionate about empowering clients to embark on a journey of self-discovery, helping them navigate their innermost aspirations, and working together in a collaborative partnership towards meaningful personal growth

Therapist - Devon Jorge

Devon Jorge

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist & Clinical Director

My passion for truly understanding people’s personal experiences, feelings and their challenges go back as far as I can remember, and allows me to provide the best support possible during times of need