It’s important to understand the neurobiology of trauma, and that we should present different treatment options for individuals struggling with trauma symptomology, because everyone experiences and metabolizes it differently. At Stella Luna Counseling and Wellness, this is our jam!
Trauma is stored in the body, so we have to understand what’s happening in the body in order to treat it. Trauma throws off the rhythmic balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for initiating the fight or flight response, which can be a very adaptive evolutionary response when there is an actual threat presented. People experiencing PTSD symptoms are often in a chronic state of sympathetic nervous system activation. Contrarily, the parasympathetic nervous system puts the breaks on the sympathetic response, so the body stops releasing stress chemicals and helps it shift back into a relaxed and calm state, encouraging rest/sleep, digestion and healthy immune functioning.
We know that trauma is not logical. So top down, cognitive-based approaches are often ineffective, or only address surface level cognitions but don’t treat the trauma at the root. So you will find your way back into therapy time and again with approaches like these. You can’t reason your way through a fight/flight response, because the reasoning area of the brain (neocortex/frontal lobe) is hijacked during a trauma response. Thus, bottom-up therapies like EMDR and somatic (body) processing can be extremely helpful in reprocessing traumatic experiences, and often lend to longer-term results – especially when you stay consistent with your treatment, and utilize adjunctive therapies along the way.
Individuals who “regularly” participate in experiences that activate the parasympathetic nervous system help to slow down the breath, and even bring the mind to a slower brain-wave state. Our body does its’ most effective healing when it can rest deeply and heal on a cellular level (from the inside out). Experiences like reiki, massage, meditation and vibrational sound therapy can elicit this parasympathetic activation, slow down the brain, and help to soothe the central nervous system and open the channels for your body to begin to heal. Regular practice is the key.
We are now booking wellness services for massage, reiki, float-tank, infrared sauna, and salt-room. We’re also accepting new clients for mental health counseling, including EMDR and group therapy. If you have questions about Stella Luna or how our services work, please contact us and let’s have a conversation!
Jennifer is a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC), psychotherapist and coach, creating a non-judgmental space for her clients to feel comfortable exploring their inner-most fears, challenges, and desires. As the founder and clinical director of Stella Luna, she holds space for you to explore the meaningful connections between past and current experiences, limiting beliefs, and current behaviors that are holding you back from being the most authentic version of yourself you’ve ever experienced. Learn more about Jennifer and her work at Stella Luna.