There is a wide range of traumatic events that thousands of people across the United States, both children and adults, experience every year. These traumatic events include (but are not limited to):
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Living in a bad neighborhood
- Living in an environment where there is a lack of emotional connection
- Battlefield trauma
- First Responders suffering from seeing violent crimes, bad accidents, etc.
70% of adults in the United States have experienced some type of traumatic event in their lives – about 223.4 million people. According to Mental Health Connection, approximately 60% of these traumatic events are developmental traumas, which happen to people during their childhood (emotional, physical, sexual abuse, etc.) Even growing up in the wrong part of town can have its traumatic consequences as 1 in 4 children, a large majority of those from the inner city, will be the victim of a robbery, vandalism, or theft each year.
According to PTSD United, approximately 20% of trauma sufferers, or 44.7 million people, are categorized as suffering from PTSD. While PTSD is generally viewed as being developed from battlefield trauma, the mental state can also be developed after witnessing a violent crime, a bad accident, or any number of horrific scenes or images.
Help is Available
If any of the above circumstances resonate with you or a loved one there is help, and hope available for you. Ron Gravis, founder of Woodlands Counseling, is one of the leading experts on trauma counseling in the Woodlands area. He is a highly certified professional who, for several years, has seen people with extremely traumatic and tumultuous pasts have their minds and lives restored to full health. Gravis is highly qualified in several different counseling methods, and will use both his training and discernment to decide which method of therapy is best suited for each individual patient that he works with.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is one highly effective method of therapy used by Ron Gravis for the treatment of trauma. EMDR consists of eight phases of treatment.
Phase One: History and Treatment Planning
This phase of EMDR generally takes one to two sessions and revolves around the client’s background story, and the identification of factors that have led to trauma. The therapist only needs to target the trauma-triggering event (or events) in this phase of treatment, so clients may be as detailed or vague as they wish when discussing disturbing memories.
Phase Two: Preparation
In this phase, which generally takes one to four sessions, a relationship of trust is built between therapist and client as the client continues to open up about his or her feelings, hurts, needs and disappointments. The therapist will take the client through a series of calming exercises that the client should employ in the case of an emotional disturbance.
Phase Three: Assessment
Phase 3 of EMDR, which is generally accomplished in three sessions, helps the client replace false, negative self-beliefs with true, positive self-beliefs. For example, if a client has been feeling helpless or worthless, the therapist will help the client realize his strength and worth using a series of scales that measure validity of cognition and subjective units of disturbance.
Phase Four: Desensitization
This phase of EMDR focuses on other emotions and events the client has that are associated with the trauma-triggering event identified in phase 1. During this phase the therapist will patiently guide the client to full mental and emotional resolution of these events.
Phase Five: Installation
Phase five of EMDR focuses on increasing the strength of the positive self-beliefs indentified in phase three. The therapist will guide the client through exercises that will help him to mentally solidify the positive self-beliefs so that they can take over the old, negative beliefs.
Phase Six: Body Scan
In this phase, the client is asked to once again recall the trauma-triggering event identified in phase one of EMDR. The therapist then evaluates the client’s physical reaction when the event is brought to mind. If the client experiences reactions such as bodily tension or an increased heart rate, further installation of positive self- beliefs may be required.
Phase Seven: Closure
In phase seven, the client is further instructed in calming techniques and in how to cope outside of therapy. Coping techniques may include journaling, or practicing exercises that give the client a sense of control. The therapist will patiently work with the client through this phase until the client feels he is ready to cope on his own.
Phase Eight: Reevaluation
In this final phase of EMDR, the therapist reevaluates the client to make sure that positive results have been maintained. The therapist then talks with the client in detail about any further treatment or medication that may be necessary to ensure full recovery.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is another method of therapy often used by Ron Gravis to help patients recover from trauma. It is a short-term, goal-oriented type of therapy that is very hands-on and practical in nature. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps the client come to an awareness of negative thought or behavioral patterns related to past traumatic events. The therapist then leads the client through a series of exercises that help the client remove these negative thoughts and behaviors from their mind and life. Changes in negative thoughts and behaviors are known to have a positive effect on clients’ emotions and feelings. After going through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the client will have a better understanding of how to cope with stress-triggering situations in his day-to-day life.
Psychodynamic therapy, also used by Ron Gravis to help clients overcome personal trauma, is a type of therapy that helps clients understand how traumatic events of the past may be inadvertently affecting their current behavior. Psychodynamic therapy is most often used when the client suffers from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder due to battlefield trauma, the witnessing of a violent crime, or other violent events. This type of therapy consists of many exercises in self-awareness and the revealing of sub-conscious thought. In psychodynamic therapy, the client will develop a deep level of trust with the therapist during their one to two sessions per week.
Ron Gravis employs Sensorimotor Therapy with clients who have had numerous traumatic experiences. These clients may even feel like they are losing their center. Sensorimotor Therapy helps clients reconnect with their bodies by providing a calm and gentle atmosphere in which the client can talk with the therapist about past traumatic events. The client will learn how to separate certain physical sensations from traumatic events, and will thus begin the recovery process. Gravis exhibits great patience with all of his clients, and will work with each for as long as is needed to see complete recovery from trauma.