“ … a client experiences grief with every therapeutic gain because grief is the bridge between past, present and future: the longing of never having had that experience before - the missed experience, relief at finally being understood, feeling the sadness of the longing, freeing the longing ... the reclaiming of something that was lost." 

      --- Pat Ogden, pioneer and co-founder of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy,             quoting Onno van der Hart


counselling and psychotherapy


07802 183 039 

Central Harpenden and surrounding locale.


• To feel safe, calm and at   ease with/in yourself 

• To build inner resources

• To be engaged and alive in the world

• To be close and stay  connected to others;

 in other words

• To move towards mental and physical well-being



Understanding trauma

At some point in our lives, many of us will experience trauma.  Yet there is a sense of shame and stigma attached to admitting it. Living with the after-effects of trauma, whether it is a one-time event or an ongoing situation, can be devastating, debilitating, and impact both you and the people around and close to you.


So what is psychological trauma?

Simply explained, trauma is often used to mean an experience that is overwhelming for a person: an experience of life threat or danger, producing psychological injury or pain through physical or psychological injury or through illness, violence or accident.

However, trauma is complex. We do not consciously choose how to deal with a life threat.  Conscious thinking takes too much time. Instead, our evolutionarily-wired survival instinctual brain takes us over as it prepares our body to flee, fight, freeze or fold.  Recall how an animal in the wild reacts at the moment of being struck down by a predator?

In survival or 'animal' mode, our brain shuts off our capacity to think, make memories, register time, recruiting all of our energy to face the threat. But survival may come at a cost, harming our emotional well-being. The degree of harm depends on the age when we had the traumatic experience and its duration.

If we have access to warm and sensitive support, it is possible to make sense of what has happened and move forward.  If we are not as fortunate, those 'memories' live on in our bodies. These bodily memories dwell within us and, at some point, return to haunt us as symptoms. 

The good thing is that we humans have a tremendous capacity for healing, hope and change.

If any of these are familiar to you, and you’d like to talk about it, please call me to arrange a meeting.


Common symptoms of trauma

"I used to be so interested in life, now my life has no meaning or purpose. I find it difficult to get up and going … ."

"I feel numb ... I find it difficult to concentrate. I have bad sleep and I feel tired all the time."

"I can’t remember things ... and that scares me… ."

"I wake up in the middle of the night - my racing heart feels like it’s going to burst out of my chest. My thoughts are racing too ... I have nightmares ... ."

"I know many of my struggles today stem back from my boarding school days .... "

"I’d be doing something ordinary and then all of a sudden, the horror of what happened (flashbacks) would be with me as-if it were happening now."

"I can’t trust anybody after what happened … ."

"I feel anxious, over-whelmed. I am constantly on edge, scanning the environment expecting something bad to happen ... I’m exhausted and can’t relax."

"I have panic attacks."

"I self-harm - it gives me relief for a short while … ."

"I don’t feel real ... I don’t know who I am anymore and I am scared … ."

"Sometimes the (emotional) pain hurts so much that I can’t bear it … ."

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