Psychological trauma often occurs due to a traumatic event or a series of traumatic experiences.
Traumatic experiences can cause intense anxiety, disrupt your sense of safety, and shake up how you view yourself and the world around you.
Malissa has specialized training and clinical expertise in assessing and treating psychological trauma. She's helped people who experienced sexual assault, domestic abuse, tragic accidents, military combat, and violence to recover from trauma while helping them develop personal empowerment.
Traumatic events can cause you to feel as though your life will never be the same again. Traumatic events alter our lives in many ways, but you can recover and heal from psychological trauma.
Because the intensity of emotions that trauma and the beliefs we developed around it are difficult to tolerate, people often avoid them and bottle them up. Our demanding lifestyles don't give us any breaks because we suffered a traumatic experience. We still have to ensure our rent is paid, our children are taken care of, and so forth. Most people want to move forward and do their best to cope.
Humans are meaning makers, so after a traumatic experience, we do our best to make sense out of what caused such a horrible act.
Even if we're given a logical explanation that does not take away our pain, nor does it restore our lives to how they were before, our minds keep ruminating. As a result, we start to criticize ourselves over trivial things and can even conclude that we're to blame.
Anyone who has suffered a traumatic event will tell you they'd about do anything if only they could go back in time to prevent such a horrible situation from occurring.
Even though we know that we can't change the past, our mind tends to ruminate on what we "should have" or "could have" done differently.
Trauma can cause us to view the world as totally unsafe, and that other people can't be trusted.
Since we know we can't change the past, we do our best to put up safeguards to prevent another harrowing situation. Over time this can cause a person to withdraw and isolate.
I understand how difficult it is to talk about trauma's effects on you. I know it's uncommon for someone to jump right in at the beginning of therapy and start sharing their thoughts about such a devastating life experience.
As your therapist, I'll emotionally meet you where you're at. Together we'll explore what you're comfortable talking about to start with. I'll give you options and help you develop your goals for therapy.
To decrease avoidance and help you move towards healing and recovery, I'll gently challenge you in sessions but will never push you to talk about anything you're not ready to discuss further.
Some people develop coping mechanisms that are detrimental to their health or well-being. As a trauma-informed professional, Malissa will help you to recognize that there’s nothing to be ashamed of for surviving.
Trauma-Informed therapy not only looks at the surface-level behaviors but aims to heal the underlying issue that causes them, which is often the original trauma. Healing the trauma can lead to reducing or eliminating the coping behaviors that are causing distress.
As your therapist, Malissa helps you decide what your goals for treatment are, and she'll work closely with you to form a plan to achieve them. You'll be an active participant in this type of therapy.
Trauma can lower your self-esteem and diminish your sense of self-worth. Malissa will help you identify your strengths and how you can reconnect to your chosen personal values. You'll learn healthy coping skills and practical strategies to restore your self-confidence and rebuild your self-love.
Trauma makes us feel unsafe. To treat trauma, the therapeutic environment must be a safe one. The client should feel safe with the therapist. The therapeutic environment itself will be calm, relaxing, and free of triggers.
CPT provides a way to understand why recovery from traumatic events is difficult and how symptoms of PTSD affect daily life. The focus is identifying how traumatic experiences change thoughts and beliefs and how thoughts influence current feelings and behaviors. An essential part of the treatment is addressing ways of thinking that might keep individuals “stuck” and get in the way of recovery from symptoms of PTSD and other problems. CPT is a 12-session evidenced based therapy which means that it has been proven to be effective through rigorous scientific research.
Malissa was first trained in CPT at the University of Washington in 2011 and had been providing CPT to clients ever since. In 2014 she received additional training in CPT and obtained CPT provider status for The Department of Veteran Affairs.