Psychotherapy and Counselling In Brighton and Hove Steffi Bednarek   MA   BA   MBACP

Trauma Psychotherapy and Counselling

Psychological trauma is an emotional and physical response to a severely distressing and overwhelming event. People who have experienced trauma can experience unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, anxiety, strained relationships and physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, insomnia etc. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives. How severe these symptoms are depends on the person, the type of trauma involved, and the emotional support they receive from others.

For many clients the traumatic events are constantly being re-experienced as if they were happening in the present. We speak of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) when the body and mind have not yet recognised that a traumatic incident is over. As a result, the body’s nervous system responds by continuously activating the body for a fight/flight or freeze response. Clients may suffer from dissociation, flashbacks, panic attacks or re-traumatisation.  This prevents the person from getting closure and experiencing safety and relief.

Gestalt Psychotherapy Approach

As a Gestalt Counsellor and Psychotherapist my aim is to help clients who have experienced trauma find constructive ways of managing their emotions and their lives. I trained for a period of 1.5 years with Babette Rothschild, a leading expert in trauma psychotherapy and counselling. Babtte Rothchild has developed Somatic Trauma Therapy as an approach for making psychotherapy and counselling with traumatised clients safer and more assured of success.

This approach focusses on developing ‘trauma brakes’ as a first priority. Trauma brakes are techniques based on research in neurology and body therapy that help clients to stop re-experiencing their trauma responses. This enables clients, often for the first time, to have control over their traumatic memories, rather than feeling controlled by them. 

In my work as a trauma counsellor I don’t address traumatic material before the client has learned how to manage their physical and emotional responses. Once clients know that they can stop the flow of distressing sensations and memories they can dare to go deeper and come to a point of integration. The aim is for the client to be able to live with what has happened to them without re-experiencing it and without being overwhelmed by the consequences of it.