Trauma Counselling in Vancouver
Hello there, our team of Registered Clinical Counsellors, Canadian Certified Counsellors and Registered Social Workers offer trauma counselling from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
You may be hypervigilant about your surroundings, feeling overwhelmed by everyday tasks, triggered by sounds, or even feeling down for no apparent reason. You are not alone - we are here with you.
As trauma-informed counsellors, we have a passion for helping folks courageously deepen their experience to change how they feel through emotional awareness and resilience, mindfulness, and evidence-based practices. Ultimately, we want you to feel better.
If you’re curious about creating change for yourself, schedule a free phone consultation today.
Our approach to trauma counselling in Vancouver
Please note (disclaimer): Some of the writing below is deemed sensitive. Read slowly, and take care of yourself (e.g., go on a walk, sip some soothing tea, watch a TV show, talk with a loved or close one).
Talking about trauma is not an easy task. It comes with many layers, perspectives, views, understandings and paths to healing. It’s okay if you read this and disagree with what has been written. We don’t expect your experiences to fit into neat boxes. Quite the contrary, your experiences are uniquely yours, and you get to choose what resonates with you and what doesn’t. So be mindful and stay curious.
In an attempt for you to get to know us better as trauma therapists in Vancouver, here are some of our appreciated perspectives on trauma-informed care.
No One-Size-Fits-All Model
Trauma happens in many different ways. For this reason and more, we have come to understand trauma as what happens on the inside (physically, mentally, emotionally) as a result of what has happened to you. You have a unique composition of physical, mental and emotional states that respond to traumatic experiences in distinct ways. Depending on all these factors at the time of the traumatic experience, your body and mind find ways to ensure your survival - whether through adaptive or maladaptive mechanisms. Due to the complexity of trauma, there is no one-size-fits-all model of care.
As trauma counsellors in Vancouver BC, we like to integrate mindfulness, somatic experiencing, and emotional awareness while using evidence-based practices, such as cognitive processing therapy (CPT), accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy (AEDP), internal family systems (IFS), and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
Trauma and the Stress Response
Trauma is also the result of being triggered into overwhelm, and getting stuck in the stress response. The stress response is composed of four main states: flight, fight, freeze and fawn. This is an automatic response that your body and mind engages in when there is a perceived or real threat (aka danger). The stress response is not consciously controlled, and your response is based on the factors in a situation.
Depending on the traumatic experiences, you might get “stuck” in or more quickly activate one of these four states. You might walk into a cafe and immediately leave (flight). You might be quick to pick a fight and argue with others (fight). You might zone out during meetings when co-workers bicker (freeze). Or you may even find yourself going out of your way to please folks around you (fawn).
When talking about trauma and the stress response, we get really curious about how you might find moments of calm. Being able to ground yourself again after being triggered, or having moments of peacefulness throughout the day is really important for your overall well-being. Part of the work that we do as a trauma-informed counsellors is being able to expand, or teach and practice different strategies and tools that will help you to regulate your nervous system again. One of our goals in counselling is to get you to come into a safe and social state, where your body and mind are slowing down, and you feel calmer and safer with yourself and others.
Undoing Aloneness of Trauma
Trauma can also be understood as being alone in the hurt. When an incident happens or continues to happen, and you find yourself without the support that you need to feel better a trauma response can ensue. Your body and mind are wired to survive, and so can engage in different (adaptive or maladaptive) coping mechanisms to handle the traumatic incident.
If your emotional response from the incident is in conflict with what pleases others that you need, like parents, peers, and partners, or your emotional response becomes too intense and your brain wants to shut it down to protect you from feeling overwhelmed, then you might begin to disconnect from yourself and others. This may look like: feeling foggy, empty inside, feeling out of touch with others, or feeling constantly uncertain of yourself.
When you get hurt and no one is there to share it with, you rely on adaptive or maladaptive coping mechanisms to get through. Sometimes without intention or choice, you can engage in maladaptive coping mechanisms (like ignoring, denying, repressing, joking) that further perpetuate the hurt that has been felt, which may contribute to long-term or ongoing unhelpful responses to triggers and situations.
When you are safely seen and heard in the hurt, you are more able to stay connected with yourself and others. As a human being, you thrive on a sense of belonging to your community - your loved and close ones. The safe and social qualities of a community help you to co-regulate and self-regulate, maintaining a more secure attachment system. This nervous system regulation leaves you feeling connected, safer, calmer, and resilient. As attachment-based counsellors, one of our goals when working together is for us to undo the aloneness that you may have felt from the trauma.
Trauma Informed Counselling
While there are a lot of self-help resources and tools that you can use to deepen your self-awareness and build emotional resilience around a traumatic experience, engaging in trauma-informed counselling is a powerful way to heal your trauma adaptively and safely. Together in counselling, we will explore your story, make connections between past, present and future experiences, deepen and expand your authentic self, and start healing your trauma.
If you have any questions about our trauma counselling services here in Vancouver, feel free to get in touch.
Trauma Counselling FAQs
What is trauma counselling?
Trauma counselling is the service of psychotherapy (or counselling) that helps folks resolve and heal from their traumatic experiences. Trauma can be caused by many different experiences, “big or small”. When you think about trauma, you might think about someone who has experienced war, combat, natural disasters, physical or sexual abuse, terrorism, and tragic accidents. These traumatic experiences are considered big T traumas. They are often debilitating, emitting powerlessness, or locking us in a private terror. However, you do not have to undergo an overtly distressing incident to experience trauma. The build-up of smaller daily events or less obvious moments can still be traumatic. These are known as small t traumas. They exceed your capacity to cope and cause a disruption in emotional functioning. Some examples of small t traumas are: relationship conflict with a partner or child, infidelity or divorce, criticism or bullying, workplace conflict, and legal or financial trouble.
Is therapy covered in BC?
There are some organizations and programs in Canada that cover the costs of counselling. However, the government of British Columbia (BC) does not normally cover counselling services. It is more common to have organizations, clinics and counsellors in private practice offer sliding scale options so that counselling is made more accessible. For instance, as a private practice counsellor, we offer a sliding scale option and work with clients to find the fee that works for us both. If you would like to learn more about free counselling options, low-cost counselling options or sliding scale options please contact us for more information.
What is the best therapy for trauma?
Historically cognitive behavioral therapies (like CBT, CT, CPT) were popularized for treating most mental health challenges, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and trauma. In the last few decades, many other reputable and evidence-based therapies have become very successful and effective in helping folks who have experienced trauma feel better and live a meaningful life. For instance, some of the interpersonal and trauma-informed therapies that we practice, like accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy (AEDP), sensorimotor psychotherapy, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), have found great results in helping to heal trauma.
Do counsellors help with trauma?
Yes - counsellors help with trauma. Some counsellors have special interest or specialized skills to support those who have lived through traumatic experiences. While others effectively work to resolve trauma using the skills and tools that they use to help others with mental health challenges. What is important for you, as a client, is to inquire or ask the counsellor what their perspective on trauma-informed counselling is. That way you have a better understanding of their approach and can decide whether that is a good fit for you.
Get Trauma Counselling in Vancouver from a Registered Clinical Counsellor
We know taking the first step to getting support is hard. We appreciate you being here. “Shopping around” for a counsellor is normal, especially when wanting to work through trauma. It can take time to find the right counsellor and so we encourage you to continue your search for the right one.
If you are curious about us or our trauma approach to counselling, please reach out for a free 15 minutes phone consultation.