Photo by Antonis Liokouras/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Antonis Liokouras/iStock / Getty Images

Are You Haunted by the Past?

Do you struggle with flashbacks from the past, reliving memories that never change, or intrusive thoughts that won’t go away no matter how hard you try?  Do you also suffer from nightmares?  You may be suffering from trauma.

The biggest problem you suffer from is not being able to get over your past: that it keeps haunting you in one way or another.  You may think, if I could just be done with the past and move forward free of the memories, and all that’s related to them.  You get up each day and may be haunted by the flashbacks or other PTSD symptoms, often having trouble paying attention to the ‘here and now’ due to these and the intrusive thoughts you may suffer from.  You may also have a sense of dread and hypervigilance as you go through your day.  You may also be bothered by wondering if you will live a full life like other people.

Trauma is a Common Experience

This is a common issue, especially in certain parts of the world, especially in war-torn countries.  It is also very common for those who’ve seen or witnessed combat in one form or another to have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  It is also a very common issue for those who have suffered from childhood PTSD, or witnessed violence in one form or another. 

The reasons you struggle with this issue is due to no fault of your own, it’s just that memories have become stuck in your brain in a dysfunctional or unhealthy way.  Unless you’ve been given a way to work these memories through, your mind behaves like an old record player that gets stuck in a particular groove or the record and keeps going round and round in it.  It’s no wonder you may feel haunted by the past.  Whatever the case, you can overcome these difficult memories with the help of a trusted professional or professionals.

How to Get Past Your Past

Trauma therapy is very effective in helping people re-work the traumatic memories, as well as to clear out the emotional pain or terror that often goes with these.  It allows people to go forward with the traumatic memories integrated in healthy ways in the brain and free of the extreme emotional charges that often accompanies the memories and serves to help keep them stuck.

You can expect to work through the memories and have a new experience of what happened in the past, letting the memories become just memories instead of something that haunts you forever.  You will gain valuable skills to help you confront possible future trauma with a sense of courage and fortitude.  The main thing I try to establish in PTSD treatment is to create a safe environment for you, as well as to become a collaborative team in addressing the traumatic memories and issues.  After that I will help teach you coping skills and give you tools to be more relaxed before working on the traumatic memories and unpleasant feelings and emotions that go with them.

I can assure you that your issues are very treatable, and that you can be much freer of your past than you might have imagined.  You can also become more functional and able to live in the present moment than you were before.  I have been doing trauma therapy with clients for over 4 years in addressing and resolving their traumatic issues.  I have trained in and am certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which is generally considered to be the most appropriate treatment modality for trauma.  I also use Image Transformation Therapy (ImTT), which is a new treatment modality which can also be effective in treating trauma.  The key here is making memories just that—memories, and getting rid of the emotional pain, fear, and shame that can go with them.  Nightmares can also be treated by an EMDR therapist like myself.   All of these methods I described above can become part of sexual trauma counseling by a trauma therapist such as myself as well.

Common Objections to Trauma Therapy

Won’t talking about it make it worse?  Not in the context of trauma therapy with me.  There is no focus on reliving the memories that are related to your trauma.  This is the case with some types of therapy, but none of the ones I use rely on reliving the memories.  This would only serve to re-traumatize you, and that is not something I would strive for in working with you at all. 

I just want to let the past be the past.  Why focus on what happened then?  The best way to let the past be the past is to work on getting rid of the pain, trauma, and/or fear that are tied to your memories.  This way the memories can become just that:  memories and nothing more.  Trauma therapy can definitely help with this.

I’ll never get over this.  I’m destined to be haunted by trauma the rest of my life.  You choose whether to remain haunted by the memories only by choosing to not get the help you need.  Once you get help from a qualified EMDR therapist or trauma therapist, you can change your destiny.  No one is doomed to remain chained to the past if they choose not to be.

How Do I Know Trauma Therapy Works?

I have worked with one particular client here in that grew up with a very vindictive and hateful mother, suffering many abuses as a result of her verbal and emotional behavior towards my client.  By using EMDR my client was able to release the unpleasant emotions that were linked to the memories of abuse, both that he experienced directly and that he witnessed happening to another family member.  Now he is a much more emotionally balanced woman without the trauma of past abuse haunting him anymore.

I have also worked with clients in grief counseling where there was some form of trauma related to the losses they suffered.  We were able resolve the trauma related to the losses and they all were able to successfully deal with their grief.  

What Makes My Approach Different

It would be great if this story was unique, and yet it’s not.  It happens over and over again in our world, but I am someone who has the relevant experience as a trauma therapist to identify with what you’re going through.  I also have experience with the methods inside and out and can testify firsthand to their effectiveness.  I am happy to offer a free 15-minute phone consult to answer any questions about your specific needs and my practice.  Just call me at 512-374-0100 or e-mail me at scott@scottkampschaeferlcsw.com to arrange a time when we could talk in person.

Take this free quiz to help determine if you may suffer from trauma.

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