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Tree of Life Counselling

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Amy-Louise Underwood
Trauma Counselling Specialist
“Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing is about creating change you choose”
- Michele Rosenthal.

We are fortunate if we get through life without experiencing some form of trauma. Trauma is our emotional response to a deeply disturbing, distressing, harrowing event. An event which threatens our safety and our very being.

Trauma can arise from a recent event, or an historical event we think we have 'forgotten about' or 'got over'. Have you buried you feelings? Do you use unhealthy coping strategies to make your feelings disappear? Do you avoid things that might remind you of the trauma you are trying to forget? The sad truth is, our response to the trauma hasn’t magically vanished and we haven’t forgotten. I liken suppressing things inside to a bottle of fizzy pop - the bubbles are there but you cannot see them all. If you shake the bottle, the bubbles rise to the surface, the fizz puts pressure on the lid ready to explode if the bottle is opened.

Often I hear people compare their response to others: “They went through the same thing and they are fine, what’s wrong with me”. The answer is; there is nothing wrong with you. Even if you experience the same event as someone else who appears to be fine, our response to trauma is personal and individual, which is why people respond and react differently. We may be confused by our response, our thoughts or our feelings, especially if there appears to be no direct link to the traumatic event. Many areas of our lives can be affected by trauma including relationships and work. Shock, denial, anger, guilt, fear, nightmares, panic attacks, feeling overwhelmed, helplessness and heightened anxiety are some of the things you may experience or feel as a result of trauma.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may develop after experiencing traumatic events, events that shake your core and make the world seem unsafe. Trauma and PTSD have overlapping symptoms but some of the main symptoms of PTSD are reliving the trauma through vivid flashbacks, dreams and nightmares, disconnection, dissociation, intrusive thoughts, and avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma. PTSD often has a significant impact on your daily life.

Are you a professional who has been continually working with and supporting people who have experienced trauma? Are you regularly hearing 1st hand accounts of other people's trauma? Do you find the time to look after and care for yourself? I feel passionate about working with people who are experiencing secondary, or vicarious trauma. We don’t think it's something that will happen to us. We tell ourselves we can cope, we won’t burn out. These types of trauma are very real, too frequently neglected and underestimated.

I would like to help you by listening and providing you with a safe space to heal from your trauma. To support you to slowly and gently take the lid off the bottle of fizzy pop and feel, explore and reflect on what emerges. I offer a safe, non-judgemental space to take things step by step at your own pace, in order to recover and develop healthy coping strategies. I hope you will trust me and the counselling process, so you can truly heal. 

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