Trauma Therapy & EMDR In Chicago

It’s an unfortunate fact of our times, but the incidence of people who’ve experienced a traumatic event - especially in a metropolitan area like Chicago - is growing every year. According to Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI), up to 25% of people in Chicago communities are struggling with symptoms of PTSD. With the 24-hour news cycle blaring at us and with the ability to be constantly connected, our exposure to potential triggers is also alarmingly higher than in decades past. Violence and other traumatic experiences have become normalized in our society. We see it on our favorite television shows, read about it in our favorite books, and talk about it over dinner with our families and friends. Because random and targeted acts of violence are so prevalent in our society (or simply appear to be, for those paying attention to the available media), it’s no surprise that so many people are struggling with the negative impacts of a traumatic experience. When it comes to emotional, mental, and physical trauma, your symptoms can feel debilitating, and can simultaneously remain invisible to others in your life. Often, the aftermath of a traumatic experience leaves a person feeling vulnerable and apprehensive to do the things they once thought of as normal, and there is no time limit on this kind of aftershock, even sometimes with its effects laying dormant for decades.

Talk therapy and EMDR are two highly-beneficial resources for patients who’ve experienced a traumatic event or suffer from PTSD. Let’s discuss how these tools can help you recover from trauma and take back feelings of control and bring a sense of peace into your life.

Understanding The Effects Of Trauma

Trauma’s effects present differently in every individual. Your past and present play heavily into how a traumatic experience will manifest in your life. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that a combat veteran is going to experience very different symptoms than someone who witnessed a robbery, and that someone whose experience may have been validated by people in their lives will fair differently than those who are not believed, for instance.

The most common symptoms patients experience after a traumatic event include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unwanted and intrusive memories
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Withdrawal and isolation
  • Feelings of depression or disconnection
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Propensity for agitation and emotional dysregulation
  • Chronic pain and muscle tension
  • Hypervigilance
  • Dissociation

While it’s very normal to experience these symptoms when you’ve been exposed to a traumatic event, that doesn’t mean these feelings are easily coped with or managed. The symptoms of trauma and PTSD can overflow into every area of your life, affecting personal and professional relationships and so much more.

Each and every individual who presents with symptoms of trauma or PTSD will look different, but that doesn’t make the path toward recovery any less important from one to another.

The Process Of Treating Trauma in Chicago

Because trauma is a unique experience for each and every individual, it’s important to begin with an objective evaluation wherein we identify together the triggers related to the experience or experiences that have brought about the symptoms the patient is enduring. This trauma assessment will help guide your therapist in the development of a treatment program that will support you through the symptoms of trauma’s aftermath.

How We Handle Trauma Counseling At WCG

After completing the assessment and gathering the objective intel necessary to effectively treat both the symptoms of trauma and your response to the triggers, you’ll work closely with one or more of our team members to embark on a treatment regimen that will provide psychoeducation on coping skills, grounding skills, and even the ability to process or reprocess traumatic material.

This can be done through a variety of different modalities, including talk therapy. At Wellington Counseling Group, we also leverage Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to support patients struggling with trauma.

What Is EMDR?

EMDR is a psychotherapy treatment that was originally designed to alleviate the symptoms associated with a traumatic experience. Studies show that EMDR helps patients achieve relief and recovery much faster than was once possible with talk therapy alone. The thought is that the mind can recover from trauma in much the same way the body can; it takes some time and sometimes a renewed connection between the physical body and the memory functions of the mind/brain that trauma has a way of interrupting, much to our detriment.

Like other forms of talk therapy, EMDR focuses on the past, present, and future. More specifically, this treatment looks at the disturbing memories and related events in the past, the present experiences that are causing distress, and the attention needed to achieve positive future experiences. An in-depth history is taken and used to target specific experiences. Prior to processing the target through EMDR therapy, a trained therapist will help the patient master different ways of handling emotional distress that may occur during the early phases of this therapy. They will then move into the treatment phases where they’ll be asked to identify visuals related to the targeted memory, current beliefs about themselves, and related physical and emotional sensations. After each set of these bilateral stimulations (physical cues that engage the left and right hemisphere of the brain, non-invasively), the patient will be asked to report what thoughts, feelings, imagery, memories, and sensations that come to mind and score their level of distress, in kind.

Outside of office visits, many patients will log experiences throughout the week to remind them of the calming and coping skills they’ve mastered through EMDR.

Consider Wellington Counseling Group For Trauma Counseling and EMDR In Chicago

EMDR is a highly-effective treatment option for patients experiencing symptoms of trauma and PTSD, but EMDR trained clinicians can be hard to come by. Wellington Counseling Group is proud to offer high-quality EMDR supported by trauma specialists, as well as family and couples counselors who can support the patient and everyone else in their lives.

If you’ve experienced a traumatic event and are struggling to return to your “normal” life or if you’re experiencing symptoms of PTSD, our trauma counselors and EMDR specialists can help. Contact Wellington Counseling Group today to speak with our EMDR specialists in Chicago and start treating your trauma symptoms today.