Trauma Therapy

Trauma Therapy in chicago

trauma therapy Chicago client depicted by upset man grabbing his hair

Trauma occurs when an individual is exposed to or experiences an event where they perceive a threat to their life, bodily integrity or sanity.

While the list of possible traumas is highly extensive, some common traumatic events include sexual assault, physical abuse, natural disasters, accidents and injuries, witnessing disturbing events, loss of a loved one or being a victim of discrimination, bullying, emotional abuse, childhood neglect or crime.

Trauma can have a profound effect on one’s mental health and is often a precursor for depression, anxiety, addiction, Eating Disorders and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Some common symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, dissociation, hypervigilance and avoidance behaviors as well as blaming yourself for the trauma, depressed mood, panic episodes, feeling isolated or isolating behaviors, memory issues, difficulty concentrating and sleep difficulties. 

If you are experiecing any of the above, our trauma therapists here at Cityscape Counseling in Chicago can provide you with a safe place to process your trauma in order to get your life back to the level of functioning you had pre-trauma.  

Trauma Therapy Methods

For those suffering with symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), our trauma therapists offer either Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Prolonged Exposure (PE) or Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) to help you heal from your trauma. These treatments can be tailored to your specific trauma symptoms and avoidance behaviors to help you regain your previous level of life-engagement prior to the trauma.

trauma therapy Chicago client depicted by woman thinking and staring out the window

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) was developed by Francine Shapiro in 1987.  EMDR is an evidence based treatment that is used to heal from traumatic memories. Unlike traditional talk based therapies, EMDR uses eye movements to bilaterally stimulate the brain to process and resolve the traumatic event by unblocking the emotions and reprogramming the mental processes of the brain.  EMDR uses a three pronged approach: the traumatic memory and associated beliefs are accessed and processed using new, adaptive information; current triggers are desensitized; and future events are re-imagined in a peaceful, capable, and functional manner.  EMDR is effective with singular traumas, or complex, repeated traumas. It may be used for recent traumatic events, or events from childhood. EMDR can help heal the emotional distress, cognitive beliefs, and physiological responses associated with trauma. 

If you are specifically interested in EMDR therapy, please email our excellent EMDR therapists Danielle Larsen, LCSW – or Melissa Koontz, LCPC – to set up an EMDR appointment. 

Check out this blog post for a simpler version of what you can expect during EMDR therapy sessions.

Cognitive Processing Therapy

trauma therapy Chicago client depicted by smiling man with black jacket

CPT is a manualized cognitive therapy. During a CPT session, your trauma therapist will help you challenge your unhelpful thought patterns and beliefs that have arisen as a result of your trauma. Reconstructing these unhelpful thinking patterns will reduce the emotional impact of your trauma and allow you to regain control of your life. Like EMDR and PE, CPT is also an evidence based treatment for PTSD. 

Prolonged Exposure (PE)

During PE sessions, your trauma therapist will help you create a hierarchy of avoidance behaviors and teach you therapeutic skills to help you practice exposure to your behavioral and cognitive avoidance behaviors. Over time you will increase your tolerance of distress and be able to have a corrective experience as well as the ability to process, organize and integrate your traumatic memories. Exposure activities can be imagined, written and/or in vivo. 

if you’re looking for therapy for trauma in Chicago, cityscape counseling would love to work with you.

We know that seeking out therapy can be a daunting endeavor so we’re dedicated to helping you each step of the way. Start by calling or emailing us to set up your first appointment