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red bike counseling

~ mindfully moving forward and headed down the right path ~

Lisa Lesperance Kautsky, MA, NCC, NLC, LPCC

the grand valley, colorado


Learn more about Lisa

Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress

what is trauma?

At some point, nearly everyone experiences an event that is deeply distressing or disturbing. When these events are too big to be easily resolved or processed, emotionally and/or mentally, we may begin to have related symptoms that affect how we feel and how we live. Many of us may have experienced these events and experiences in childhood (developmental trauma). We may not understand these events as trauma, or even understand that these events have made an impact on us, because we have not know life without that trauma. Others of us have experienced trauma as adults and although we believe we have processed the trauma, the impact of the trauma can still have its hold on us. Trauma comes in different shapes and sizes and may effect each of us differently. However, there are recognizable signs and symptoms that can make life very difficult.

Simplistically, in relationship to trauma, we have a hot nervous system and a cool nervous system. The cool nervous system is associated with the frontal cortex (at the top of our head, near the forehead). When we are in the cool nervous system  (also called the modern brain), we can be proactive, in the moment, mindful, calm, aware of our surroundings, productive, and we can feel connected with others. The hot nervous system, on the other hand, is associated with the limbic system or our primitive brain (located near the brain stem, at the top of the spine). The primitive brain is vital for survival and provides us with the necessary fight or flight response when we sense danger. This system prepares our body to survive an oncoming threat. However, too often, we can get trapped in the limbic system, where we are reactive, defensive, blaming, conflicted, and angry. Though the limbic system is necessary for survival, when we have unprocessed trauma, we can get stuck in the limbic system where we will experience a range of symptoms including, negative thoughts or moods, difficulty concentrating, sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, isolation, guilt, and confusion.

overcoming trauma

The exciting news is that there is help! The first step is recognizing that we have had trauma. In the case of developmental trauma, it may not be so easy to recognize trauma as such. However, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, there is a good chance that you have had trauma and it is likely unprocessed. EMDR is extremely helpful to move beyond trauma. Other skills, tools, and strategies can empower you to move beyond being stuck. There is hope and red bike counseling can provide you with the necessary tools. 

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